“Two strong firms in the Carolinas have managed to join forces while preserving the autonomy of each. Neal Prince Architects was a small, 44-year-old practice in Greenville, S.C., specializing in high-end residential and worship facilities. LS3P, in Charleston, S.C., had more than 200 employees spread among four regional offices, and a portfolio ranging from higher education to healthcare.
The firms’ respective owners, former Clemson University classmates James A. Neal, FAIA, and Frank E. Lucas, FAIA, had long toyed with the idea of combining the two practices.
In 2011, “the bad economy pushed the idea into reality,” says Matt Tindall, AIA, LEED GA, an associate at what is now Neal Prince Studio. “They offered us a greater regional and national presence. We offered them two markets they didn’t have.”
Neal Prince Studio, which employs about 28 people, functions as a private label of LS3P. “We want the brands to be complementary, so there are some similarities in our graphics,” but the boutique studio’s marketing materials reflect its more personal touch, says Katherine N. Peele, FAIA, LEED AP, LS3P’s executive vice president for practice.
The relationship’s benefits are mutual. Neal Prince Studio has more work, and Tindall attributes that to exposure it now has in the other North and South Carolina regions where LS3P works, as well as access to more sophisticated technology and marketing. “LS3P does a lot of high-profile work for CEOs and business owners, and its commercial clients are coming to us for residential work,” he says.
LS3P makes use of the other’s residential sensibilities—not just in design but in construction. “Because Neal Prince Studio is so used to working in wood construction and detailing at a residential scale, sometimes we’re able to bring that expertise to mixed-use projects such as clubhouses and condos,” Peele says.”
Excerpt from Residential Architect