January 22, 2024Gensler Appoints Alumnus to Principal
Brooks Morelock (‘11) remembers walking into his first finished project with Gensler—a renovated, 40,000 square foot headquarters for a global marketing group in New York City. He began with the global firm’s New York office just three days after earning his degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Architecture and Design. Late last year, Morelock was appointed Principal at the firm.
“Brooks’ achievement is an acknowledgement of his design talent and contributions to our firm and the design profession,” said Robin Klehr Avia (‘76), Regional Managing Principal of Gensler’s New York office. Avia has an interior design degree from the college and an honorary doctorate from the university. “What sets Brooks apart is how he marries strategy and beauty, research and intuition, the analytical and the sublime. He communicates his designs to his clients and teams with compelling clarity and a deep sense of purpose.”
Morelock was introduced to Gensler during a third-year cohort field trip to New York City. He quickly took note of the firm’s atmosphere and leadership and was attracted to working for the employee-owned firm coming out of school.
Revit, a 3D information modeling application, played a unique role in the security of Morelock’s early start. UT’s early adoption of the platform in the School of Architecture prepared students in an invaluable way. Morelock became an asset to the projects he worked on and was able to earn opportunities to further his skills.
“Growing up in the firm is a unique experience. In my time at Gensler, I have had superstars of the industry rooting for me and mentoring me. As a new principal I have the opportunity and the platform to pay it forward for the next generation of talent.”
Early into his career, Morelock found a mentor in colleague and fellow Vol Susan Moyer (‘03) who helped him align his skillset with projects at Gensler. In 2015, he became a licensed interior designer and focused on working synergistically in both architecture and interior design. “Susan began pulling me into some interiors work that she had been doing and I had a little bit more traction in that work. You’d build a project in nine months or a year instead of the typical five years. It allowed me to see what I really wanted to do and just fly. I wanted to start creating spaces and experiences.”
“Brooks is an exceptional designer and a natural mentor,” said Avia. “Through his guidance and support, he has played a crucial role in shaping the professional journeys of numerous colleagues across our global offices. This sort of above-and-beyond involvement exemplifies Brooks’ dedication to fostering growth and knowledge sharing within our firm and the industry.”
After nine years as a designer for the firm, he transitioned into a leadership role during the pandemic and found success accomplishing projects in part for Gensler’s global offices. Morelock collaborated with teams across six offices which allowed him to nimbly adapt to the virtual environment. During the worldwide shutdown, the team delivered on one of their largest complex projects, a 1.3 million square foot headquarters for Google, which ignited a passion for Morelock.
This career transition also inspired him to give back to the next generation of talent through affinity organizations. Morelock has been heavily involved in IIDA New York’s NCAA IQ exam prep, aiding more than 300 individuals in achieving licensures. In 2018, Morelock pivoted his attention to mentoring Gensler employees by becoming the program facilitator for gConnect, an internal talent pipeline initiative, focusing on the NYC office (Gensler’s largest office globally).
Most recently, Brooks and his team recently completed a headquarters for a global media company, soon to be revealed in the press. The 400,000 square foot location combined four buildings into a single space.
“What’s unique about working at Gensler is that despite our size, we are still a family company. This human-centric environment has felt like a natural extension of the ‘Volunteer Spirit’. As the world’s leading architecture and design firm, we have a responsibility to help shape the built environment – and the world – in a more inclusive, equitable, and truly sustainable way. I’m honored to continue to champion this mission in my new Principal role.”