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UNLV Libraries Main Page -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections -> Las Vegas Architects and Buildings Database -> Firms

Gillies Stransky Brems Smith

  • Western Mountain Region NV AZ UT CO NM WY
    • (Unknown Address)
Founded: 1978
Project(s) Involved With:
Address Info:Salt Lake City or Fort Worth
375 West 200 South
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
TEL 801.521.8600
FAX 801.521.7913
Notes & References: At GSBS, we strive to:

create humane buildings that contribute to
business, culture, and community,
be environmentally responsible,
provide excellent service to clients, and
nurture our primary asset, our people.
Gillies Stransky Brems Smith PC began in 1978 as Brotherton/Gillies Architects with a staff of two. In 25 years, we have grown to seventy-four people with offices in Salt Lake City, Utah and Ft. Worth, Texas.

1978 to 1980

Abe Gillies says Brotherton/Gillies Architects' initial guiding philosophy was "staying alive" (thankfully he doesn't dance). Abe credits the firm's staying power to its great partners, the contractors who build the projects, and he has dedicated himself to providing them with the best possible documents to do their job. Projects included design/build industrial and retail work in the public sector primarily for the State of Utah.

Mike Stransky joined the firm in 1979, to manage the Wheeler Machinery Maintenance Facility, the first of several large maintenance facilities projects. In 1980, Mike was made a partner in Brotherton/Gillies/Stransky. Mike, a thorough, meticulous, and outgoing architect was tasked with marketing, and he helped land the first federal job: ECM Pod Shop. Since then, Mike has led all of the federal work, including design services for the US Army Corps of Engineers, the US Postal Service, and the BLM.

In 1982, B/G/S opened a branch office in Denver, Colorado.

1981 to 1986

In 1983, just as Mike and Abe were building their practice, designer David Brems struck out on his own. David was the project manager and project designer on several major condominium and hotel projects for another firm. This experience, and his work on the Brianhead Day Lodge at Southern Utah resort, led to resort and condominium work throughout the West.

In 1984, the practice split: Abe and Mike kept the Salt Lake office and Bob took the Denver practice.

In 1986, Gillies/Stransky Architects, sensing a need for an expanded practice, merged with David Brems + Associates.

1986 to 1989

In June 1986, the partners hired Stephen Smith to manage the Utah Judicial Master Plan project. Subsequently, Stephen became a certified planner, led the firm's planning efforts, and was offered a partnership in 1989.

In 1986, Tom Batenhorst formed GSB/Batenhorst, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Bruce Jorgensen joined GSBS in 1988 as our first landscape architect, bringing that discipline in-house.

1990 to the Present

By the early 1990s GSBS had become a significant force in the Utah architectural community. We had a deepening portfolio of corrections work, particularly in the field of public safety facilities for Utah counties. David's research during the design of the Steiner Aquatic Center encouraged the concept of the community water park for public clients, and we produced a series of swimming pools for Utah communities. As the decade unfolded, landscape architecture and interior design gained increasing importance in our service package. Bruce and his team of landscape architects provide an important dimension in the planning and site design of projects. Hand-in-hand with architects and landscape architects, interior designers provide space planning and design work for many GSBS full-service clients, as well as interior-only clients such as Today, we use our multi-disciplinary capabilities from the beginning of each design project, employing an integrated design approach that considers the impact of each decision on the facility and encourages the creative solution of each aspect of the design.

In 1998, we helped create Mountain Health Design, a joint venture between GSBS and WHR, a Houston firm that specializes in health care, to market health care design services in the Intermountain Region.

Also in 1998, GSBS began to expand its ownership base adding 7 associates. In 2002, Kevin Miller and Scott Henriksen became partners and joined the Board of Directors.

Always committed to contributing to its profession and its community, GSBS principals and staff have played many roles in the local, regional, and national American Institute of Architects. Additionally, we participate in scores of non-profit organizations, charities, and government committees. Within the past three years, we have purchased, renovated, and moved into two buildings in transitional neighborhoods.

Stephen, the GSBS history buff, points out that Thomas Jefferson was a good architect because he was a good citizen. We need to understand our community's characteristics: its strengths and weaknesses, its history, and its goals, before we can design buildings and landscapes that work within their contexts. At GSBS, we believe that we need to be good citizens to become good architects.

So much of what we need to know about being good architects cannot be taught in school, but must be learned through living the profession. This "accidental learning" often takes place slowly we listen to senior architects, walk the site with contractors, communicate with owners, coordinate design intent with engineering demands, struggle with project contracts and costs, deal with new technologies, and suffer through proposals and presentations. How can we speed up this learning process and increase the depth of talent within our firm? What if we all became teachers?

At GSBS, we created Wabi University, our in-house mentoring and education program. Wabi, very loosely, means "perfection through acts of spontaneous imperfection," and embodies the concepts that our individual contribution is based on our unique talents, that our talents are ever in process, and that our combined talents will offer the best design solutions. At Wabi U., all are encouraged to contribute to our collective talent by teaching and learning from each other.