More than 4,800 employees in 25 countries, 907 projects built and $144.1 billion of real estate under management. Those are some of the numbers associated with Gerald Hines and his namesake company when he succumbed to cancer at age 95 on Aug. 23. But the numbers, as titanic as they are, tell only part of the story for a man who the New York Times dubbed architects’ “Medici” for the way he transformed skylines around the world by recruiting blue-chip architects (I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry and Robert A.M. Stern among them) and embracing the credo that good design is good business.
Since founding Hines in 1957, he oversaw the design and construction of more than 100 skyscrapers, many of them landmarks such as Lipstick Building in Manhattan, and Pennzoil Place, Williams Tower, Bank of America Plaza and Galleria at City Post Oak, a high-end shopping center and office and hotel complex at the intersection of two Houston freeways. He was also a force behind the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.
Rusty Bienvenue, executive director of the American Institute of Architects, called Hines the world’s most important developer. “Most architects study his Pennzoil Place and the Galleria in architecture school,” Bienvenue said. “He understands a commercial building is not just a container. If you make it beautiful, it will draw in a higher rent value.”