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Another US firm in trouble

The economy continues to take its toll on architects. In addition to the many staff positions that have been made redundant this year, many US firms are facing being gobbled by larger ones to stay viable while others face full closure. The latest such casualty in the US is Looney Ricks Kiss (LRK), a firm known for its work in new urbanism.

Headquartered in Memphis Tennessee with multiple offices throughout the US, LRK officially filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. It was a voluntary procedure that will allow the firm to reorganize in the hope of becoming fiscally healthier. The firm will continue with normal business operations but will restructure its offices in Memphis, Tennessee; Princeton, N.J.; Celebration, Florida; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The firm has already closed its offices in Dallas and Houston and earlier this month its Nashville office reorganized as Smith Gee Studio.

Frank Ricks, the firm’s managing principal, said that LRK enjoyed steady growth and built a national clientele. At its highpoint, the firm had nine offices and employed 240 people. In addition to being hard hit by the economy, LRK was perhaps doomed by its lack of diversity. The firm’s singular focus on new urbanism meant it relied heavily on the private development market for work, a market that was one of the first to tank as financing for projects became increasingly difficult to get.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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