53: Architecting Success: The Journey of Rob Zirkle and Brick’s Acquisition by HGA

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About The Guest(s):
Rob Zirkle is the founder and CEO of Brick, an architecture and design firm based in Oakland, California and he is Practice Group Leader and Vice President at HGA after the recent acquisition of Brick by HGA. With over 13 years of experience, Rob has grown Brick into a successful company with a team of 33 employees. He is passionate about creating quality careers for architects and designers and is dedicated to delivering value to his clients.

Rob Zirkle, founder and CEO of Brick, shares his journey of building a successful architecture and design firm. He discusses the impact of the current economic climate on the real estate market in the Bay Area and the challenges and opportunities it presents. Rob also announces the recent acquisition of Brick by HGA, a national architecture firm, and highlights the benefits and synergies of the merger. He emphasizes the importance of being open to new opportunities and the value of partnerships in driving innovation and growth in the industry.

Key Takeaways:

  • The current economic climate has created challenges for real estate development projects, but there are still opportunities for market-ready deliveries and projects with long-term horizons.
  • Multitenant buildings and flexible design are becoming increasingly important in the commercial real estate market.
  • Being open to new opportunities and partnerships can lead to unexpected and beneficial outcomes.
  • The value of a career in architecture lies in creating value for clients and delivering high-quality work.
  • AI and technology can enhance the design process and improve efficiency, but human creativity and decision-making are still essential.


  • “We take the work very seriously, but maybe not ourselves super seriously, which I think is a good balance.” – Rob Zirkle
  • “Being open to opportunities that present themselves is a classic trait that entrepreneurial people have.” – Rob Zirkle
  • “Change is risk, but if you're looking for new ways to learn and grow, you have to be open to new conversations and opportunities.” – Rob Zirkle
  • “The future of the industry lies in creating value for clients and focusing on sustainability and equity.” – Rob Zirkle
  • “Partnerships work when there is synergy and a balance of strengths and perspectives.” – Rob Zirkle

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