Detroit Architectural Firm SmithGroupJJR Launches Office in China


SmithGroupJJR, an architecture and engineering firm, has opened an office in Shanghai. The new location builds upon the Detroit-based company’s recent work in China, including the design of a 468,000-square-foot R&D facility for the country’s leading manufacturer of passenger cars and commercial trucks and busses.

“Many of our China-based clients, like First Automotive Works, traveled to the U.S. and sought us out for our specialized design expertise,” says Russ Sykes, who is leading the company’s China operations. “Now, with the new office, our clients in Shanghai have direct access to our services. Simultaneously, they benefit from the alliances we’ve established and our understanding of how to work in China.”

The new office will focus on several of China’s biggest growth markets: R&D, health care, continuing care and retirement communities, and higher education. In addition to the R&D facility recently designed, SmithGroupJJR is also developing a 21-story continuing care retirement community in Shanghai.

President and CEO Carl Roehling believes the growing healthcare market in China will help the firm succeed. “Clients are requesting the level of design expertise we possess. For the growing healthcare market in China, there is a need for firms that excel in healthcare design and the advanced technology used in hospitals. We have that expertise,” he says.

In Shanghai, the company designed Shuguang Hospital for Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medical University. The firm’s U.S. clients include the National Institutes of Health, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Stanford University Medical Center, and Kaiser Permanente.

SmithGroupJJR has offices in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Dallas,Madison, Wis.; Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. It was ranked as the world’s 10th largest health care design firm in the 2013 edition of World Architecture 100.