better together

boardroom
classroom
boardroom
networking

About GDA

The Global Design Alliance is an international network
 of design, planning and construction firms who are committed to fostering dynamic growth and change. We are a living 30-year experiment in transparency, resource- sharing, authenticity and creativity that builds trust and develops not only people, but whole companies, who truly are “Better Together.” The GDA intentionally brings together a diverse group of companies to facilitate trusted partnerships and knowledge sharing amongst the most forward-thinking leaders in the AEC industry. Our vision is to:

  • skate to where the puck is going;
  • nurture familiarity by prioritizing trust and respect;
  • engage in provocative and inspiring dialogue;
  • seek out diversity of thought;
  • and create a safe place to explore new ideas and initiatives

    What our members say

    What I love most about the GDA are the personal relationships. I’ve had the opportunity to develop with inspiring practice leaders from across North America. I learn something new whenever we come together. And whenever I need advice, I know that I can pick up the phone or send out a quick note, and within the hour I’ll have the benefit of their friendly, practical wisdom. Extremely rewarding, both personally and professionally!

    — Jeff DiBattista, DIALOG

    Alliiance has been a long-term member of the GDA. Throughout the years, our firm has formed strategic partnerships and we have benefitted from many collaborations with other GDA member firms – and I personally have gained many deep friendships. We constantly have been able to access a deep bench of experience in all practice areas because of the diversity of members within the GDA. Even more so, I have had shoulders to lean on and people to look to for advice during these uncertain times.

    — Tom Hysell, Alliiance

    I am fascinated and enriched by all of the different ways that the companies within the GDA have chosen to organize themselves. While addressing the same big-picture industry issues, we are each working in a different organizational model. That combination of similarity and diversity enables us to have both well-informed and changeful conversations, tackling topics such as leadership, diversity and inclusion, structure, succession planning and culture in unique ways.

    — Melissa Marsh, Plastarc

    GDA by the numbers

    GDA by the numbers

    San Diego, BC

    GDA member firms will explore critical issues surrounding the designed & built environment during our Spring Symposium. The semi-annual symposium of the Global Design Alliance, hosted by DPR, is an intimate gathering where firm leaders from across North America collaborate on topics relating to the AEC industry and the strategic practice of our firms.

    Efforts have been taken to reduce the carbon associated with the event.

    View Agenda

    Past Events

    See all Events
    San Antonio Symposium 2023

    San Antonio Symposium 2023

    Start Date: March 21, 2023

    End Date: March 24, 2023

    Place: San Antonio, TX

    GDA member firms will explore critical issues surrounding the built environment during our Spring Symposium. The semi-annual...
    Vancouver, BC 2023

    Vancouver, BC 2023

    Start Date: September 19, 2023

    End Date: September 22, 2023

    Place: Vancouver Convention Center

    GDA member firms will explore critical issues surrounding the built environment during our Fall Symposium. The semi-annual...
    New York Symposium 2022

    New York Symposium 2022

    Start Date: October 4, 2022

    End Date: October 7, 2022

    Place: New York, NY

    GDA member firms gather in New York this fall for four days of service, inspiration, learning, sharing...
    Seattle Symposium

    Seattle Symposium

    Start Date: March 29, 2022

    End Date: April 1, 2022

    Place: Seattle, WA

    GDA member firms will explore critical issues surrounding the built environment during our Fall Symposium. The semi-annual...
    Spring Symposium 2021

    Spring Symposium 2021

    Start Date: March 31, 2021

    End Date: April 1, 2021

    Place: The Home Office

    We come together to think boldly and build back better.
    Virtual Symposium

    Virtual Symposium

    Start Date: October 7, 2020

    End Date: October 8, 2020

    Place: The Home Office

    We come together to seek understanding; prepare to pivot; and to connect for the future.

    Knowledge Communities

    Leadership & Human Capital

    Members meet monthly to discuss critical leadership and human capital issues that our firms are facing. Topics range from transition and succession planning to professional development to talent recruitment and retention.

    Diversity & Inclusion

    This knowledge community shares in the deep commitment and fervent desire to bring diversity, equity and inclusion into each of our member firms. The group meets monthly to openly discuss best practices, challenges and also set collective goals that can be brought back in-house of our individual member firms.

    Professional Training

    Employees of member firms have access to key training opportunities organized by the Global Design Alliance. Recent workshops have included: Total Leadership by Stew Friedman of the Wharton School of Business.

    Featured Project

    Tec de Monterrey CCM Campus

    Member Firms(s): Beck Group

    Tec de Monterrey is reimagining its entire Mexico City campus to align with its innovative, new Tec 21 academic model, which stresses collaboration and transparency.

    Featured Project

    Chase Center

    Member Firms(s): Stok

    Championing impactful sustainability at scale through water recycling systems and transportation innovation, the Golden State Warriors’ Chase Center features an arena, offices, retail, and abundant open spaces.

    Featured Project

    The Horn on Medtronic Plaza at U.S. Bank Stadium

    Member Firms(s): Alliiance, KPFF

    The Horn is an installation commissioned by Medtronic as a gift to the community representing progress and partnership. It is sited at the front door of the new U.S. Bank football stadium.

    Featured Project

    Palomar Medical Center

    Member Firms(s): CO Architects, DPR Construction, KPFF

    740,000-sf 11-story hospital equipped with 288 patient rooms, 12 operating rooms, a trauma center, interventional radiology suites, and laboratory. Includes a large undulating green roof, and a two-story stand-alone central plant.

    Featured Project

    Calgary Central Library

    Member Firms(s): Dialog Design, Entro

    The stunning new Calgary Central Library is an inspiring vision of what a public space can be. The building welcomes, reflects and engages with its community. A landmark that transforms the streetscape, the library creates connections in a transitional area of the city by joining Calgary’s downtown with its East Village.

    Featured Project

    Salesforce Tower

    Member Firms(s): Stok

    Description: Rising to 1,070 feet and certified LEED Platinum, Salesforce Tower is the highest scoring LEED Core & Shell high-rise construction project in the nation.

    Featured Project

    Mechanized River Valley Access

    Member Firms(s): Dialog Design

    The Mechanized River Valley Access connects Edmonton’s downtown to the North Saskatchewan River Valley with a combination of a funicular, stairs, boardwalk, pedestrian bridge, lookout, and elevator, enabling access for people with all levels of mobility.

    Contact Us

    portrait Saskia Dennis van Dijl

    Executive Director

    Saskia Dennis-van Dijl joined the Global Design Alliance as Executive Director in 2016. Saskia has served as a practice management consultant to the AEC industry for the past two decades advising firms around the US in the areas of marketing, practice management and strategic planning.  In recent years, Saskia has focused extensively on leadership development in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry including a deep commitment to concerns related to diversity equity and inclusion. She was a founding member of the 2014 Equity by Design research project sponsored by AIA San Francisco and now works with companies around the nation on culture and policy development to achieve goals of diversity and inclusion in all aspects.

    510.295.5853
    portrait Brook Wyntergreen

    Associate Director

    Brook Wyntergreen Olsen first joined the Global Design Alliance in 2014, having served as former Chair for the GDA Marketing & Business Development Community. In 2016, she began the role of Associate Director for the GDA, supporting the Board and Executive Director to manage the day-to-day operations of the consortium. With 18 years in the design industry, Brook serves as a liaison for public projects, assisting both owner and design teams in master planning, community engagement and funding opportunities. She has led marketing & business development departments and also worked in project management & project scheduling for healthcare and public projects. Brook holds a Masters in Business Administration and Bachelors of Architecture. “The people that make up the GDA are genuine friends as well as inspirational leaders. I continue to learn new ways of thinking about and interacting with the designed and built environment through the many different lenses of our consortium.”

    503.764.5842
    Jenna Knudsen BW

    Chair of the Board

    Jenna Knudsen is the managing principal of Los Angeles-based CO Architects, a nationally recognized design firm focused on large and complex institutional, civic, academic, health sciences education, science & technology and healthcare projects. She has focused on transforming the architectural design and construction environment traditionally dominated by gender-inequity, division and risk-aversion to one that is collaborative, inclusive and trusting. Jenna has driven design and process innovation on high-profile projects throughout the country for institutions such as Palomar Health, UC San Diego, University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Kaiser Permanente. For more than a decade Jenna has been engaged in the GDA, serving on its executive committee since 2022. She is a licensed Architect in the state of California and a LEED Accredited Professional. Jenna earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California, and a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University.

    323-525-0500