Marshall Strabala

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Marshall Strabala
Marshall Strabala April 2010 in Shanghai.jpg
Marshall Strabala views Shanghai Tower model with Shanghai skyline in background (2010)
Born Seattle, Washington, U.S.[1]
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard University
University of California at Los Angeles[1]
Organization 2DEFINE Architecture
Notable work Shanghai Tower, Houston Ballet Center for Dance, Hess Tower

Chicago Architecture Club’s Burnham Prize, 1996;[2]
AIA Chicago Chapter Grand Projects Award;[2]

Affiliated Fellow (1997), American Academy in Rome[3]

Jay Marshall Strabala is an American architect who has participated in the design of skyscrapers and other buildings. Since 2010, Strabala has been the principal of his own architectural firm, 2DEFINE, having previously been employed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and Gensler.


Strabala received his bachelor of arts in design from the University of California, Los Angeles.[1][2] In 1988, Strabala graduated with a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design.[1][2]


Skidmore, Owings and Merrill[edit]

After graduating with his master's degree, Strabala worked at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) in Chicago, Illinois, for 19 years.[4] He ultimately was made an associate partner in charge of design.[4]

While at SOM, Strabala served as the studio head under lead architect Adrian Smith in working on the design of Burj Khalifa (Dubai, 2009), which is the tallest building in the world.[4][5][6][7] Strabala also worked under Smith as one of the two studio heads over the course of the project in designing the 450 m. tall Nanjing Greenland Financial Center (Nanjing, China, 2010).[4][5][8] Also while at SOM, Strabala participated in the design of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Hong Kong, 1997).[4]

Strabala left SOM in 2006.[4] In a 2007 interview, Adrian Smith said that Strabala was one of several architects up for partner at SOM who did not make it, in what Smith described as "a power move by the New York office."[9]


After leaving SOM, Strabala joined the Houston, Texas, office of the architectural firm Gensler in 2006.[2][4] Strabala has been reported to have led the design of the 128-story Shanghai Tower while at Gensler and to have completed the "bulk of the design work".[4] Gensler, however, claims that the tower is not Strabala's design. According to Gensler in a lawsuit it later dropped, "Gensler, not (Strabala), is the source of the architectural and design services rendered in designing the Shanghai Tower."[10] Art Gensler, founder of Gensler, credited Jun Xia as "designer of the building (Shanghai Tower)".[11] Xia was also credited as having "helped the firm score the Shanghai Tower contract and led the team’s work on it."[12]

Strabala also has been credited for leading Gensler's efforts in designing Hess Tower (Houston, 2010) and the Houston Ballet Center for Dance (2011).[13][14][15] However, Gensler has claimed that "'Gensler, not (Strabala), is the source of the architectural and design services rendered in designing Hess Tower'", and that Strabala was but "'one of many members of that Gensler team'" that designed the Houston Ballet Center for Dance.[10]

Strabala left Gensler in 2010.[4]

Formation of new firm[edit]

After leaving Gensler, Strabala started his own architectural firm, 2DEFINE Architecture, with offices in Shanghai, Seoul, and Chicago.[4] According to Strabala, he "continues to be involved in the Shanghai Tower project at the behest of the client".[4]

In 2012, Strabala and 2DEFINE were assigned to work on the design of the Yingkou Convention and Exposition Center in Yingkou, China, projected to cost $68 million.[16][17] The project's architect of record and national partner will be the Dalian Urban Planning and Design Institute.[16]



In June 2011, Gensler, sued Strabala alleging in a complaint that after founding his own firm Strabala publicly misrepresented his role in several projects while "'intentionally minimizing or entirely omitting the nature of Gensler's contribution.'"[10] Gensler claimed that Strabala's actions violated the Lanham Act and various state laws.[18] In February 2012, Judge Ronald A. Guzman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed Gensler's complaint on procedural grounds before trial, ruling that the allegations Gensler made against Strabala do not constitute a violation of the Lanham Act or related state law.[5][18][19] Gensler appealed the dismissal.[5][20]

In August 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated the District Court's dismissal of the lawsuit and remanded the case back to the District Court therefore reviving the lawsuit.[21][22] In April 2015, Gensler dropped the suit.[23]


The day after Gensler sued Strabala, SOM sued Strabala in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that he was "falsely claiming credit for work that originated with the company, including the designs for three of the 10 tallest buildings in the world."[24][25] Among SOM's allegations was "that most of Strabala's work on Burj Khalifa, for example, 'occurred in the construction-document phase' following design completion."[5] The case was transferred to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in June 2012.[26]

In December 2012, SOM and Strabala reached a binding settlement agreement and the case was dismissed under its terms.[5][27] Neither party may discuss the lawsuit per the agreement.[5]

Local involvement[edit]

In 1999, Strabala, speaking as a private citizen as part of a community group, testified before the Chicago City Council Zoning Committee against a high-rise development at 840 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois.[28] Strabala lived nearby and was concerned that the high-rise would be "out of scale with the neighborhood".[28] Despite opponents' efforts, and that the project would "flout existing law", the Zoning Committee amended the ordinance allowing the project to proceed.[28]


  1. ^ a b c d "Industry Folks: Marshall Strabala, Gensler" (PDF). Houston Construction News. January 2009. p. 22. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
  2. ^ a b c d e Gensler (April 7, 2006). "J. Marshall Strabala Joins Gensler Houston As Director of Design". officenewswire. Retrieved 2011-05-21.
  3. ^ "SOF News, 1990s" (PDF). Society of Fellows News. American Academy in Rome. Spring 2009. p. 15. Retrieved 2011-05-20.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Miller, JFK (December 9, 2010). "The Master Builder". that's Shanghai. Shanghai, China: Urbanatomy Media. ISSN 1672-8033. Archived from the original on 2011-02-10.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Davis, Cheryl L. and Suzanne Stephens (June 2014). "Where Credit is Due". Architectural Record. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  6. ^ Keegan, Edward (October 2006). "Adrian Smith Leaves SOM". Architect. American Institute of Architects & Hanley Wood. Retrieved 2011-05-31.
  7. ^ Bernstein, Fred A. (August 12, 2008). "Rising in Dubai: Adrian Smith's vision of green: Tall and getting taller". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-31.
  8. ^ "The architect's architect". that's Shanghai. Urbanatomy Media. March 18, 2011. ISSN 1672-8033. Archived from the original on 2012-07-13.
  9. ^ Makovsky, Paul (January 2007). "Parting Company". Metropolis. 26 (6). ISSN 0279-4977. Retrieved 2011-06-04.
  10. ^ a b c "Architect making false claims, former employer says". Chicago: WLS-AM. Sun-Times Media Wire. June 10, 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-03-18. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
  11. ^ Russell Flannery (August 7, 2013). "'There Is Never Going To Be A Building Like This In The U.S.'". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  12. ^ Ben Ikenson (June 6, 2013). "What's Inside Gensler's Secret Sauce?". Metropolis. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  13. ^ Hall, Christine (September 26, 2010). "Marshall Strabala Gives New Meaning to Supertall". Houston Business Journal. Retrieved 2011-06-09.
  14. ^ Glentzer, Molly (July 31, 2009). "Houston Ballet breaks ground on new downtown home". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-05-31.
  15. ^ Shields, Mitchell J. (2009). "Houston's New Home for Dance". Houston Ballet. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
  16. ^ a b Furuto, Alison (June 6, 2012). "Yingkou Convention and Exposition Center / 2DEFINE Architecture". ArchDaily. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  17. ^ Sim, Randall (June 19, 2012). "Bulletin: Inspired venue". Mix website. Panacea Publishing Asia Limited. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  18. ^ a b Judge Ronald A. Guzman (February 21, 2012). "Memorandum Opinion and Order" (PDF). Gensler v. Strabala. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  19. ^ Bouboushian, Jack (February 28, 2012). "Skyscraper Bragging Rights May Be in Reach". Courthouse News Service. Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  20. ^ "Court Documents". Gensler vs. Strabala. RFC Express. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  21. ^ Bason, Tamlin (August 28, 2014). "False Designation Claim Revived Against 'Designer' of World's Second Tallest Building". Bloomberg BNA. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  22. ^ Orzeck, Kurt (August 21, 2014). "7th Circ. Revives Architect's Suit Over Worker's Design Claims". Law360. Retrieved 2014-08-31.
  23. ^ "Notice of Dismissal Without Prejudice". Gensler v. Strabala (1:11-cv-03945). April 24, 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-11.
  24. ^ Ugolik, Kaitlin (June 10, 2011). "Ex-Skidmore Architect Sued Over Building Design Claims". Law360. Retrieved 2011-06-11.
  25. ^ "Court Documents". Skidmore, Owings and Merrill v. Strabala. RFC Express. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
  26. ^ "Docket". Skidmore, Owings and Merrill v. Strabala (1:12-cv-05252). United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  27. ^ "Document #64: Notification of Docket Entry" (PDF). Skidmore, Owings and Merrill v. Strabala (1:12-cv-05252). United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. December 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  28. ^ a b c Garza, Melita Marie (August 25, 1999). "Streeterville High-rise Passes Zoning Panel". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-05-31.

External links[edit]