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June 20, 2024
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Architectural Services Firm AO Acquires Sunnyvale-Based WHL Architects


Architectural services firm AO has launched a new design studio, AO Science + Technology, following its acquisition of WHL Architects, a Sunnyvale-based science and technology design firm founded in 1987 by Douglas White, AIA, NCARB. White joins AO as a principal and will spearhead the new science and technology studio alongside AO Partner Rob Budetti.

With offices in three of the nation’s leading life science and tech hubs – Silicon Valley, San Diego and Orange County – the AO Science + Technology design studio will provide design services for a range of specialty buildings and spaces, including data centers, standard and specialty research labs, process development and GMP manufacturing, and research and manufacturing support spaces. Utilizing its expertise spanning the entire spectrum of commercial real estate, AO will be able to design tech and science facilities in their entirety.

“AO’s foray into science and technology is part of our diversification strategy and was motivated by the strength of the sector,” said Budetti. “Our merger with WHL enables us to leverage Douglas White’s extensive expertise and the legacy of his firm, which spans more than three decades delivering state-of-the-art labs and R&D facilities to industry-leading companies nationwide and internationally.”

White has more than 40 years of experience designing and managing teams on a wide range of specialty buildings for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, microelectronics, photovoltaic and aerospace industries, as well as social media companies and higher education institutions. His clients include Alphabet, Western Digital, Form Factor, Intarcia and Alta Devices as well as some of the world’s largest electric car and aerospace companies.

White will continue to operate from AO’s Sunnyvale office, which serves as the new base for AO’s 12 other design studios, enabling the firm to bolster its long-established presence in Northern California and better support its more than 25 projects currently in the works across the region.

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