Building on its commitment to design innovation, the architecture and urban design firm Cooper Robertson has announced that after more than 30 years with the firm, partner Donald Clinton, AIA, MRAIC, is stepping down at the end of the year from his daily role of helping direct the organization. This transition comes at a noteworthy time for Cooper Robertson, as it embarks on major new projects led by four continuing partners and its next generation of senior leaders.

Known globally for work that supports strong and resilient communities, Cooper Robertson is a leading architect and planner of museums and cultural facilities, an expert in urban mixed-use districts and campus planning, and a sought-after designer of educational buildings, waterfront spaces and public realm projects of all types. Among the latest milestones for the firm are the opening of the acclaimed Buffalo AKG Art Museum in New York, designed in collaboration with OMA, and its commissioning for major master planning and campus projects in California, Virginia and Maryland. In addition to the growth during his decades-long tenure, Clinton oversaw the addition and development of long-standing and new staff members across a range of specialties and practice areas.

As Clinton retires, Cooper Robertson’s reputation for skilled and dedicated leadership advances with partners Mike Aziz, AIA, LEED AP; Bruce Davis, AIA, LEED AP; Erin Flynn, RA, LEED AP; and John Kirk, AIA, serving as stewards of the firm’s growth and trajectory into the next generation. The four partners are supported in this process by newly appointed senior leaders, including Director of Architecture Elizabeth Stoel, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, and Director of Urban Design Brad Barnett.

This talented management team will oversee an impressive portfolio of ongoing work into 2024 and beyond. Highlights include a number of high-profile cultural projects, such as the new Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and the Princeton University Art Museum, as well as major expansions at the New Museum in New York, designed in collaboration with OMA, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, on a team with the firm PAU. At the same time, Cooper Robertson is ramping up large-scale urban design and master planning initiatives, including for the cities of Sacramento, California; Chesapeake, Virginia; Middletown, Connecticut; and other municipalities nationwide.

Cooper Robertson is also engaged in planning and building projects on college and university campuses ranging from the University of Maryland in College Park to Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, as well as on a diverse array of architecture and strategic planning efforts for private clubs in Virginia and the Bahamas.

“Cooper Robertson’s current status and growth trajectory are in many ways a reflection of Donald Clinton’s influence and professional contributions, including the talent he has brought in and nurtured over decades,” said Kirk, a partner at the firm since 2000. “Don has played an outsize role in our success, and he will be missed. Yet, a testament to his leadership remains: our growth with a group of highly talented, dedicated and accomplished professionals, including those who are now helping guide Cooper Robertson’s many achievements and growth trajectory.”

About Donald Clinton

Known across North America as a leader in urban reinvention and master-planned architectural initiatives, Clinton was educated at the University of Toronto and gained experience as a practicing architect and urban designer in Canada and the United Kingdom.

After joining Cooper Robertson in 1985, Clinton led the firm’s involvement in seminal initiatives, shaping urban spaces worldwide. In New York City alone, Clinton and Cooper Robertson served as key advisors on the redevelopment of Manhattan’s far West Side — what eventually became known as Hudson Yards — and carried out an analysis that laid the groundwork for a 20-year transformation of North Brooklyn’s post-industrial waterfront. Clinton also led influential design studies for improving climate resiliency in flood-prone districts following Superstorm Sandy.

Clinton has also championed transformative public realm projects in Las Vegas and Coral Gables, Florida, and he spearheaded Cooper Robertson’s expansion into collaborating with medical and research institutions, including Duke University, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and NYU Polytechnic. Notably, his current master-planning works have also won broad acclaim for facilitating smart growth while prioritizing public space and urban livability. Highlights include Ontario’s fast-growing M City — a 4-million-square-foot, mixed-use community currently nearing completion on formerly vacant land — and West Wharf, a large-scale development in Brooklyn, New York, whose first phase was celebrated by the New York Post as “a stirring reclamation of previously underutilized waterfront land.” With Clinton stepping back from the firm, Aziz, Davis, Flynn and Kirk will now oversee these significant projects through to completion alongside Cooper Robertson’s growing staff of experts.

“Passing the mantle of leadership forward can be difficult, but in this case, I feel honored,” Clinton said. “Looking at how creatively Mike, Bruce, Erin, John and our whole team are working on college campuses, in urban mixed-use districts and on some of the world’s most important cultural facilities — and more — has been truly inspiring. Their community-minded focus and dedication to problem-solving and innovation makes me confident in saying: Cooper Robertson is in good hands and will continue to play a decisive role in the trajectory of many places and institutions.”