Shoptalk: Change at the Top of Goettsch Partners

James Goettsch and James Zheng of Goettsch Partners

James Goettsch and James Zheng of Goettsch Partners

There’s been a change at the top of Chicago architecture firm (and friends of the blog), Goettsch Partners.

James Goettsch, formerly president of Goettsch Partners is now the Chairman and C.E.O.  Taking his place in the presidential chair is James Zheng, originally from China who joined the company 18 years ago.

You may remember we did a two-part profile of the heritage architecture firm located on the top floor of the former Santa Fe building on Michigan Avenue here and here.

Check out the press release below for more information.


James Goettsch elected chairman and CEO with James Zheng taking on new role as president

CHICAGO – (January 11, 2013) – Architecture firm Goettsch Partners (GP) has appointed James Goettsch, FAIA, to the role of chairman and CEO, and named James Zheng, AIA, LEED AP, the new president, effective January 1, 2013.

In their new roles, Goettsch and Zheng will work closely to manage the firm and to develop, expand and deliver business globally. GP’s board of directors made Zheng president in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the firm and his commitment to clients. The board further believes that having Goettsch and Zheng combine their efforts will enhance GP’s ability to provide leading design and technical expertise at the highest service level.

“James has been a remarkable leader and a major driver of the firm’s global expansion,” said Goettsch of the appointment. “As we move forward, we are proud to have him identify and lead strategic opportunities and manage respective architectural projects around the world.”

Apart from his new role, Zheng serves as a partner in the firm and director of Asian operations. His responsibilities include the planning and design of large-scale office, hospitality and mixed-use developments. Through his efforts, the firm established a representative office in Shanghai in 2004, and it maintains a growing, full-service office there today staffed with local and U.S.-trained professionals.

In addition to serving as chairman and CEO, Goettsch will continue as the design director for GP. As such, he develops the firm’s talent and leads the direction and quality of design for the global practice.

About James Goettsch, FAIA Goettsch received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Iowa State University and started his career in New York City. He later moved to Chicago to work for CF Murphy Associates, which became Murphy/Jahn. He remained with that firm for 19 years, including five years serving as principal in charge of the New York office. Goettsch joined Lohan Associates as a design principal in 1992 and helped guide the firm’s transition to Goettsch Partners in 2005. In 1988, the American Institute of Architects named Goettsch a Fellow in recognition of his contributions to the profession. Throughout his career, he has been recognized by the AIA and other professional organizations and academic institutions with local, regional and national design awards, as well as invitations to speak publicly on design issues. Goettsch is a member of the AIA, the Urban Land Institute, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, and the Mies van der Rohe Society. He previously served on the boards of directors for both the AIA Chicago chapter and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

About James Zheng, AIA, LEED AP Zheng is a native of Shanghai who studied architecture at Tongji University for two years before moving to Chicago. He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Since joining the firm in 1995, he has quickly risen to his leadership position with balanced strengths in design, marketing and management. In recognition of his wide-ranging talents and accomplishments, Mr. Zheng received the 2004 AIA Chicago Young Architect Award and was named among the Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 in 2005. He is a member of the AIA, a registered LEED Accredited Professional, and a member of The Executives’ Club of Chicago.

About Goettsch Partners Goettsch Partners (GP) is an innovative architecture firm with a global perspective, emphasizing a singular design approach across offices in Chicago, Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. Focused on combining exceptional design, technical expertise and unmatched service, the firm creates measurable value and environmentally responsible solutions. Services include architecture, interiors, planning and building enclosure design. Diverse projects around the world share a consistent emphasis on bringing bold design clarity to complex challenges. Visit for more information.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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