Top 100 Architecture Firms


Credit: Joe Pugliese

Our third-annual ranking of American architecture firms judges them on three factors: profitability, sustainable ethos, and design quality. By looking at the whole picture, we’re able to honor not the biggest, but the best.

By:Amanda Kolson Hurley, Research by Karlin Associates

So, is it getting any better? In the third year of the ARCHITECT 50 ranking, signs of a rebound glimmer on the horizon. March was the fifth consecutive month in which the Architecture Billings Index showed positive (albeit very modest) growth, and inquiries to firms regarding new projects are strong. If most U.S. architecture firms are not thriving, at least some of them—25 percent, the AIA estimates—have gotten a boost through projects stemming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The 2011 ARCHITECT 50—based on a composite assessment of a firm’s profitability, sustainable ethos, and design ability—shows that A and A/E firms, large and small, can do well in this economy. By our calculations, the most profitable firms in 2010 include heavyweights such as Fentress Architects, NBBJ, and Gensler, but also Princeton, N.J.’s smaller Ikon.5 Architects. If you still need proof that smart business strategy and careful financial management can make or break any design enterprise, look no further.

Perhaps the most striking thing about this year’s ranking is how many of the top firms are focused on the higher-education market. Aren’t we always hearing about colleges and universities feeling the pinch? Yes, says management consultant Ray Kogan, AIA, but there are other factors at work. Higher-education institutions “are in their own competitive market as they try hard to attract more students to make up for their other revenue shortfalls.”

Ever-tighter public budgets, healthcare reform, and continued sluggishness in commercial construction leave much unclear about the future, so it’s difficult to say which markets might be on the rise. Then again, that means the field is wide open for our 2012 ranking. Wherever you are based, and whatever kind of work you do, why not enter next year?

2 Smithgroup
3 William Rawn Associates
4 Skidmore Owings & Merrill
5 Ann Beha Architects
6 Sasaki Associates
7 Ikon.5 Architects
8 DLR Group
9 ZGF Architects
11 Machado and Silvetti Associates
12 HOK
13 Payette
15 Fentress Architects
17 H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture
18 Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
19 Westlake Reed Leskosky
20 RNL Design
22 The Miller Hull Partnership
23 RBB Architects
23 Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee
25 LMN Architects
26 HGA Architects and Engineers
27 NAC|Architecture
28 Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
29 Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects
32 Ross Barney Architects
33 Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
34 EYP Architecture & Engineering
35 Gould Evans
35 EHDD Architecture
37 Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
40 Architectural Resources Cambridge
41 Jeffrey M. Kalban & Associates Architecture
42 Ayers Saint Gross Architects and Planners
43 Cunningham | Quill Architects
47 KMD Architects
48 Julie Snow Architects
49 Lake Flato Architects
50 SRG Partnership
51 EwingCole
52  Architects
53 Perkins Eastman
54 Ennead
55 Steven Ehrlich Architects
56 Ballinger
57 Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners
58 Sorg Architects
59t SfL+a architects
59t Mackey Mitchell
61 HKS
62t PageSoutherlandPage
62t KlingStubbins
64 Tsoi/Kobus & Associates
65 Studios Architecture
66 Cook + Fox
67 CO Architects
68 Davis Brody Bond Aedas
69 Ratcliff Architecture
70 VOA
71 Goody Clancy
72 Shepley Bulfinch
73 Fanning Howey
74 Robert A.M. Stern Architects
75 Goettsch Partners
77 Hord Coplan Macht
78 RDG Planning & Design
79 Hickok Cole Architects
80 Leo A Daly
81 Design Collective, Inc.
82 Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company
83 cbt architects
84 DesignLAB
85t Lord Aeck & Sargent
85t Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
87 AC Martin Partners
88 Gresham Smith and Partners
89 The S/L/A/M Collaborative
90t Flad Architects
90t BRPH Co.
92 Moseley Architects
93 BLT Architects
94t SHW Group LLP
97 Populous
98 Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects
99 Solomon Cordwell Buenz
100 HMC Architects

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