Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners, a Toronto-based, 80-employee practice established in 1945, has joined Perkins + Will. No layoffs were reported.

Headquartered in Chicago, Perkins + Will now has 19 offices in North America, including two in Canada. In 2004, it acquired Vancouver-based Busby + Associates Architects. “Toronto is a place that has not only a great and big economy, but also a wellspring of architectural talent,” says Phil Harrison, AIA, CEO of Perkins + Will. “So it was a place where we wanted to have a permanent representative office.”

The firm, which ranked No. 6 in RECORD’s most recent list of the top 250 U.S. firms, not only gains a strategic position in eastern Canada, Harrison says, but also strengthens its expertise in the sports and recreation sector, which accounts for roughly half of Shore Tilbe’s portfolio. “There was a very obvious gap in our geographic and knowledge network,” he explains, “and we think Shore Tilbe will fill that gap beautifully.”

For Shore Tilbe’s partners, the merger presents an opportunity to expand into new types of projects in new locations. “In the long run, we’d like to develop this office into a national brand,” says D’Arcy Arthurs, the firm’s managing director.

For the first few years, the office will practice under the name Shore Tilbe Perkins + Will (similar to the name of the Vancouver office, Busby Perkins + Will). The partners indicate, however, that they may eventually drop Shore Tilbe altogether.