Case Studies

Davis Brody Bond LLP

Award-winning, Thoughtful Design

For Davis Brody Bond LLP (DBB) making a facility look good is the easy part; fully understanding the objectives of the client and intentions of the space is where the firm’s true expertise comes in.

“We try hard to understand the reasons and need for a building and then develop a custom-made solution,” reveals Steven M. Davis, second-generation partner at DBB and Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA). “When we get that right I feel really good about it.”

The New-York based firm continues to get it right, time and time again. DBB’s unique approach to comprehensive design has earned the company over 175 national design awards, including the American Institute of Architects Firm Award and the Presidential Award for Design Excellence, as well as a leading role in some of the most high-profile projects in the country.

Within the company’s diverse project portfolio is the new infill building and restoration of the New York Public Library, research facilities for Ivy League universities and the world renowned National September11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center, just to name a few.

Building a Lasting Legacy

The company has been working with major clients since its founding by Lewis Davis and Samuel Brody in 1952. “We’re a 60-year-old practice in our third generation of partners,” reveals Davis. “My father, Lewis Davis, and his partner pioneered developments in public and subsidized housing by breaking the cookie-cutter image. Together, they spearheaded projects such as Waterside and Riverbend in the 1960s and 1970s, both of which remain New York icons today.”

In 1990 the firm merged with Bond Ryder & Associates, designers of significant cultural monuments such as the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change. At that time, J. Max Bond Jr. also joined the partnership.

“Early on, DBB made a name for itself by designing high-end corporate research facilities for clients like Hallmark, Estee Lauder and AT&T, as well as a 25-yearlong renovation for the New York Public Library, which won many design awards,” notes Davis. “We began to add to a long list of significant clients in the public and private sectors.”

And according to Davis, DBB has only become more prominent over the years. “Today, we are designing two of the most important museum developments in the U.S.,” says Davis. “These are the National Museum for African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and the National September 11 Memorial Museum.”

DBB remains based in New York City, but the firm has added an additional office in Washington, D.C., and a recent outpost in Brazil. “We work around the world,” Davis explains. “One of our clients is the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Building Operations; we work with them on the design of embassies worldwide. We recently completed the design of the new embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, and are collaborating on the design of a new embassy in Mexico City,” adds Davis.

The company has traveled the world-over for Valeo, a $12 billion European auto parts company and loyal customer of DBB. “We designed 14 industrial projects for Valeo, from South American to Europe, each location supporting Valeo’s mission of quality and innovation,” Davis continues.

Comprehensive, Meaningful Design

DBB delivers comprehensive design services, including architecture, urban design, master planning, interior design, programming and planning and historic preservation. “Our expertise lies in three main sectors; the cultural, academic and corporate research and high density urban residential,” reveals Davis. “Our niche is that we have no niche; we are particularly strong in those three areas and we’re weighted more toward institutional projects, but we can do just about anything, on a large or small scale.”

On the institutional side, DBB has performed major new design, renovations and expansions for leading academic institutions such as Columbia University and Princeton University. “We’re currently working on the Manhattanville Development for Columbia University, which is a major expansion of the north campus,” details Davis.

In April 2004, after being selected to direct the design of the 9/11 Memorial, DBB was commissioned to design the Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center. “The design and construction of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center is one of the most significant undertakings in the history of New York City, and a focal point for the revitalization of Lower Manhattan,” the company’s website reads. “As Associate Architects, Davis Brody Bond oversaw the design of the 8.5 acre Memorial plaza which includes the two memorial fountains and pools marking the footprints of the absent towers,” concludes the excerpt.

The 120,000-square-foot museum is set for completion in spring 2014. Situated directly below the memorial, the museum will tell the story of 9/11 through the exhibition of historic aspects of the event. The museum includes a portion of the original Slurry Wall and reclaimed remnants of the Twin Towers.

“The project was impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” reveals Davis. “There were at least 8 feet of water in the building and it delayed the project for many months, but fortunately, we’re back on track.”

From leading academic institutions to a project that strikes a chord with all Americans at Ground Zero, DBB strives to contribute thoughtful design that promotes the intention of the facility. “Our talented staff is capable of many great things,” adds Davis. Over the course of 60 years, Davis Brody Bond LLP has been recognized as an industry leader, putting clients’ intentions and objectives first.

Published on: February 12, 2014

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