On November 1, BNIM Architects—a design office with over 1,000 employees founded in 1970 in Kansas City—announced that it is now an employee-owned design company. BNIM Architects follows SHoP Architects and Zaha Hadid Architects (both became employee-owned firms in 2021), IA Interior Architects, and Gensler to make the pivot.
“An employee-owned design company has been a longtime vision for BNIM, and the firm looks forward to moving into this new future for the practice,” said Steve McDowell, a BNIM principal.
“I couldn’t be more excited about and committed to our new structure and the evolving leadership transition that is part of this important change. BNIM is driven by the adage that ‘no one knows as much as everyone.’ We believe this is integral to our practice as BNIM employees deliver on our core purpose and values every day,” McDowell shared in a press statement. “The impact of this work is now further represented through co-ownership, providing employees with immediate and long-term benefits as they guide our practice forward,” he offered.
BNIM’s new employee-owned structure is described by the office as an equity-based, long-term benefit plan for all current and future employees. The new structure will impact employees’ shared responsibilities with clients and their roles in shaping the future of the firm more broadly, BNIM continued.
Carleigh Pope, a designer at BNIM and member of NOMA, commended her employer for taking the step. “Employee ownership is only a further reason to see longevity and reward in the work we do each day.”
BNIM has a robust project portfolio, the firm has completed projects, ranging in typology from residential developments to healthcare institutions to numerous education facilities across the Midwest and elsewhere in the United States. Among their recent projects is a new museum building with a gray, brick facade for the University of Iowa’s Stanley Museum of Art and a glass-clad Fine Arts + Design Studios at Johnson County Community College.