The firm was established by Lawrence Perkins (1907-1998) and Philip Will (1906-1985).
Perkins and Will met while studying architecture at Cornell University. The company was founded in Chicago.
The company attracted national attention in 1940 with the Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois, designed in association with Eliel Saarinen and Eero Saarinen. In 1986, Perkins+Will was bought by Dar Al-Handasah, a Lebanese consulting firm.