Fletcher Thompson Inc.
Over the past 105 years, Fletcher Thompson Inc. has evolved into a leading full-service architectural and engineering firm. Located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Fletcher Thompson specializes in architecture, engineering, planning and interior design with a focus on the education and health care sectors.
In 1907 E. Leslie Fletcher established a practice specializing in industrial engineering in Bridgeport. Charles L. Thompson joined Fletcher in 1909 and in 1910, the firm incorporated as the Fletcher Thompson Engineering Company, subsequently becoming Fletcher Thompson Inc. in 1914.
What sets the company apart today from many of its competitors is Fletcher Thompson’s combined practice of architecture and engineering, which the company has been involved with since its inception. “We do it as a combined practice which we know creates better collaboration and coordination of construction documents on projects,” says Mike Marcinek, managing partner and president of Fletcher Thompson. “Overall, the collaboration of architecture and engineering leads to a better work environment for our professional teams.”
Marcinek has been with Fletcher Thompson for 28 years. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from the University of New Haven. As an accountant by trade, Marcinek made the conscious decision to work in the construction industry. “I was always drawn to this business,” he says. “I’ve always enjoyed the processes of the building industry.”
The quality of the completed projects is what Fletcher Thompson prides itself on the most, according to Marcinek. “We strive to continually create the best documents in the region,” says Marcinek. “We really pride ourselves on the project once it’s completed. We listen to what our clients want, solve their programmatic concerns and design a facility that is fully functional and without problems.”
A recent project that exemplifies the talent of Fletcher Thompson is now the company’s corporate headquarters. The building known as Landmark, formerly known as the Mechanics and Farmers Savings Bank, underwent three years of design and restoration to bring the building up to code and useable standards.
A challenge presented in this project was maintaining the building’s historical fabric as it was designed in the early 1900s. “We had to jump through a lot of hoops with various historic agencies to make sure that we were in compliance with their requirements,” Marcinek explains. The project is a great example of blending modern and historical architecture while optimizing the usefulness of the space.
The renovation of this historic building involved new structural, mechanical and electrical systems which were sensitively located to preserve the historical architectural character. With hard surfaces throughout the building, acoustics became an additional challenge. Limestone and marble walls presented an environment that was not conducive to the latest acoustic technologies. Fletcher Thompson was able to facilitate the corrections without masking the original bank’s historic walls.
The restoration of the Landmark building is an example of adaptive reuse with modern architecture in an urban setting. The building not only houses the Fletcher Thompson corporate offices, but also includes retail and residential spaces and occupies an entire city block. “It’s always a question with renovation of historic structures as to whether you can restructure and retrofit them to move forward,” says Marcinek. “The answer lies in the commitment of the project’s stakeholders and their desire to always move in a positive direction.”
Fletcher Thompson has recently become involved in international work. The company is currently collaborating with architectural and consulting firms in the health care and educational markets in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). With a need in the MENA region for not only infrastructure, but also financing, Fletcher Thompson has found itself in an interesting position where the company has the opportunity to generate significant business and contribute to the built environment in some developing countries.
“There is such a need over there,” says Marcinek. “They want to build the best facilities that they can but they don’t necessarily have the wherewithal to finance the projects. When we do this type of work a lot of it encompasses a design-build philosophy where we’re not only bringing the construction and design team, but we’re bringing the financing team as well.”
Fletcher Thompson reached the African market through letter agreements with a health care firm that operates international hospitals. “The dynamic is different with international health care providers as compared to the United States,” Marcinek explains. “Everything is ‘pay as you go,’ so instead of dealing with insurance companies, patients pay in cash to have procedures done which really affects the way hospitals are built and to what magnitude they are constructed.”
International business will play a major role in the future of Fletcher Thompson. “While the company will continue to grow, the international health care market will be a factor in the expansion of the company’s geographical footprint,” says Marcinek. While the company expands its reach, Fletcher Thompson Inc. will continue to build upon its reputation as a leading architecture and design firm in the Northeast.
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