Omaha, Neb.-based DLR Group has acquired KKE Architects, a firm with offices in Minnesota, California, Nevada, and Arizona, in an effort to grow its U.S. business and to enhance its capabilities in China. DLR, an integrated design firm, will gain four U.S. offices, for a total of 22 in the U.S. and one in Shanghai.

In Minneapolis, where both firms are represented, the offices will combine and operate as DLR Group KKE. KKE’s offices in Pasadena and Irvine, Calif., and Las Vegas will also take the new name. In Phoenix, however, the combined offices will operate as DLR Group.

In all, 66 KKE employees will join DLR’s staff of 500. Greg Hollenkamp, CEO of KKE, said, “We already cross over in a lot of markets—justice, education, corporate. What [the merger] does is give us the combined resources to really be a premier firm in those markets.”

The KKE deal follows DLR’s February takeover of WWCOT, a California-based firm that offered the prize of an established office in Shanghai. Griff Davenport, a managing principal at DLR, said, “WWCOT certainly gave us a launching pad in China. KKE brings an additional level of experience and exposure there.” Among KKE’s recent projects in China is the plan for Shanghai Shimao New Experience, a themed, mixed-use environment of 2 million square feet. The firm also brings to DLR its long relationship with Triple Five, the retail developer responsible for the Mall of America.

Hollenkamp and KKE president Tom Gerster will become DLR senior principals. Hollenkamp will lead the combined firm’s growth strategy for the government, healthcare, Native American, and senior housing markets; Gerster will lead upper Midwest operations and manage the integration of the two firms.

Correction: The original post of this story incorrectly reported that the combined Phoenix offices would operate under the name DLR Group KKE. We regret the error.

Posted in Architect Magazine.