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Boston-based architecture firm names new leadership

A new trio at the top of SGA

Boston-based architecture firm SGA is naming a new leadership team. The firm has grown rapidly in recent years on the strength of new life science development, like this complex for Marcus Partners on the site of a seafood processing plant in the Seaport.SGA

Architecture and design firm SGA has new leadership at the helm.

The Boston-based firm, founded in 1991 by Al Spagnolo, Jeff Tompkins, and Bill Gisness, will now be led by equal owners: CEO Adam Spagnolo; Gable Clarke, president of interior design; and John Sullivan, president of architecture. Al Spagnolo, meanwhile, will transition to a role of chairman.

Since its founding, SGA has grown to about 130 people in Boston and New York, and is currently working on more than 15 million square feet of active projects. Some of the firm’s projects around the region include a future expanded headquarters for Ginkgo Bioworks and the interior headquarters design for hair-care company Living Proof in Boston’s Seaport; Passive House projects at Wheaton College and Williams College; and LINX, a science and technology campus in Watertown.

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The leadership transition comes at a time when life-science real estate projects — a practice area SGA has worked in for more than a decade — have boomed throughout the region, and when employers are considering how to design workplaces in ways that attract employees back to the office.

“It’s an exciting time to be a designer,” Clarke said. “The spirit of SGA has always been very entrepreneurial. Al, Bill and Jeff really instilled that in the three of us, and we’re really excited to instill that in others.”

SGA’s headcount more than doubled in the past two years to its current 130. Most employees are based in the firm’s Downtown Boston headquarters, with about 30 in New York. Adam Spagnolo, a Lynnfield native and Al Spagnolo’s son, will stay based in New York.

The bulk of SGA’s work has been focused in its two home markets, Greater Boston and New York, but the firm is increasingly being asked to tackle projects in other parts of the country, Adam Spagnolo said.

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“It’s really important for us to continue to be a diversified firm, which has always been the DNA of the firm,” Adam Spagnolo said. “As an architecture firm, or an engineering or a construction firm, I think you’ve got to be ready to go with the ebbs and flows of the market.”

Beyond Sullivan, Spagnolo, and Clarke becoming owners, SGA has also named five new principals and seven directors. Clarke will be the first woman to be president in the firm’s three-decade history.

“Architecture hasn’t always been the most diversified profession in the world, but for us to have [a] women [owner], and more women coming up the ranks … is really important to us,” Adam Spagnolo said.

“It’s really just about benefitting from other points of view,” Clarke added.

SGA will remain headquartered in Boston.


Catherine Carlock can be reached at catherine.carlock@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @bycathcarlock.