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Architecture giants spreading their wings

A/AE Giants 300 rankings reveal firms branching out globally, merging, adding services.

July 18, 2012 |
Sitting on the outskirts of Seoul, the Guri World Design Centre will be the foca

Maybe it was too good to be true. For five consecutive months starting last December, the AIA’s Architectural Billings Index, a leading indicator of construction activity, was showing hopeful numbers about future architectural billings.

Then—wham!—the May ABI score came in at a measly 45.8, reflecting “a sharp decrease in demand for design services,” as the AIA put it. (Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.) And while the “new projects inquiry index” registered a promising 54.0, that was not enough to dispel the notion that architecture firms are going to have to keep scratching for every dollar.

“We see another global slowdown, with great downward pressure on fees,” said Ralph Hawkins, FAIA, LEED AP, Chair/CEO of HKS Architecture. “We are continuing to adapt to the economy with both our geographic and market sectors.” To that end, the firm recently opened offices in New Delhi and Singapore, having already expanded into Europe, China, the Middle East, North Africa, and India.


“Adapting” is what many Giants 300 architecture firms are being forced to do. With domestic billings down, Giants are setting up shop overseas, merging and forming joint ventures to make one plus one equal three, and creating new services.


For Goettsch Partners, work outside the U.S. and Canada “accounts for 80% of our business,” says James Goettsch, FAIA, President. The firm just opened a new office in Abu Dhabi’s Sowwah Square and is active in more than 20 cities in China.

“We’ve been winning work internationally for the last 10 years,” says Guy Geier, FAIA, FIIDA, LEED AP, Managing Partner, FXFOWLE. “Currently, we have projects in design or construction all over the world, including Montreal, Istanbul, Riyadh, Mumbai, and Baku, Azerbaijan.”

Perkins Eastman recently converted its small Mumbai shop into a full-service operation. Coming soon: a permanent office in Hanoi. “We do work in 25 countries at any given time, and overseas revenues constitute up to 30% of our net billings,” says Chair/CEO Bradford Perkins, FAIA, MRAIC, AICP. International clients provide professional opportunities that are rare in the U.S. and Canada. “The skills we have gained on large, fast-paced, and complex international assignments have been invaluable in strengthening our North American practice,” he says.

Nadel Architects, with many years of experience in China and the Middle East, recently expanded work in Southeast Asia and parts of Africa, says Greg Lyon, Vice President/Director of Business Development.

“Global work is growing in importance for our firm,” said Phil Harrison, FAIA, LEED AP, CEO of Perkins+Will. “We significantly expanded our U.K. and Dubai operations with the addition of Pringle Brandon. We are likewise pursuing growth opportunities in South America and Asia.”

This year, LEO A DALY opened an office in Riyadh; another is in the works in Doha, Qatar. The firm has offices in Beijing, Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, and Hong Kong.

Populous, a creator of stadia and event venues, has operated globally for nearly 30 years. “As events like the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games begin to infiltrate into atypical areas of the world like the Middle East, we are seeing the potential for work,” says Earl Santee, AIA, Senior Principal.


In the past 18 months Perkins+Will acquired three practices, expanding its operations in the province of Ontario (Toronto, Ottawa, and Dundas), Seattle, London, and Dubai. The Boston office hired Robert Brown, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, as Managing Director and Brian Healy, AIA, as Design Director.

Early this year, FXFOWLE formed a joint venture with CO Architects, combining FXFOWLE’s strength in urban planning, infrastructure, commercial, cultural, and education projects with CO Architects’ experience in healthcare and science and technology. The JV’s name: CO|FXFOWLE.

In late June, NELSON agreed to merge its Chicago/Midwest region operations with Torchia Associates, an architecture/interior design firm.

This year, Shepley Bulfinch opened an office, its third, in San Francisco, with Peter Schlosser, AIA, leading as Principal. Mario Vieira, AIA, was also hired as Principal in the Boston office.

Flad Architects unfurled its flag in New York City, as did EwingCole. Mark Hebden, AIA, LEED AP, EwingCole’s President, says the firm is “reevaluating and refining its service offerings, process, and deliverables to align with client business and leadership challenges.” The firm hired Steve McDaniel as Director of Science and Technology.

HKS established beachheads in Chicago, Indianapolis, San Diego, and New York. The firm continues to expand into S&T and urban design.

Cannon Design recently acquired Peter Ellis New Cities, an urban planning and design group based in Chicago and New Delhi. Peter Ellis now leads Cannon Design’s urban planning and city design practice.

Other major hires in the last year:

• Kenneth Drake, AIA, NCARB, to EYP Architecture and Engineering as Senior S&T Project Executive.

• John Whitaker, AIA, DBIA, to HKS as Principal of its federal market sector and design-build practices, and Rick Bond, AIA, FHFI, as Federal Healthcare Strategy Leader.

• Dan Viscardi, to LEO A DALY as Corporate Director of the firm’s aviation program, and Archie Aamoth as Corporate Director of the healthcare program.

• Mark Chen, to Heery International as Director of Design.


Perkins+Will has formed a joint venture with Construction Specialties for a building products labeling system. The firm is expanding its sustainability advisory services and combining many services into a single offering. “Speed of delivery, innovative technology, advanced sustainable design practices, integrated design services, and extreme collaboration are all defining our work,” says P+W’s Harrison.

Populous introduced a new design service, Populous Activate, to enhance the in-stadium experience. The goal: optimize sponsor partnerships while meeting visitor needs and desires, says Populous’s Santee.

Cannon Design’s products group has invented the eVap series of heat exchange/cooling units, which separates water used in laboratories from the poorer quality water of the main building’s cooling system.

SmithGroupJJR developed WorkSIM—programming software that connects to Revit and produces 3D programmatic space models and room databases.

In short, a frantic year for architecture firms, with relief in sight. +


Rank Company 2011 Total Revenue ($)
1 Gensler 731,360,500
2 Perkins+Will 365,781,000
3 NBBJ 181,636,000
4 Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates 143,880,000
5 Perkins Eastman 130,000,000
6 Callison 128,480,000
7 ZGF Architects 120,248,889
8 HMC Architects 87,973,699
9 Populous 86,000,000
10 Corgan Associates 79,500,000
11 Fentress Architects 61,920,000
12 WATG 60,839,000
13 Ennead Architects 52,200,000
14 RSP Architects 52,190,000
15 SHW Group 50,588,390
16 MulvannyG2 Architecture 50,172,283
17 FKP Architects 42,434,000
18 LS3P Associates 42,168,717
19 Perkowitz+Ruth Architects 39,000,000
20 Cooper Carry 38,005,433
21 tvsdesign 35,720,659
22 KMD Architects 35,143,453
23 Payette 33,582,508
24 MBH Architects 32,279,000
25 VOA Associates 31,337,853
26 Swanke Hayden Connell Architects 30,500,000
27 Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott 29,800,000
28 Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners 29,700,000
29 Solomon Cordwell Buenz 29,610,000
30 RBB Architects 29,100,000
31 FXFOWLE Architects 26,666,523
32 Ware Malcomb 26,400,000
33 NTD Architecture 24,369,266
34 NAC|Architecture 24,199,811
35 FRCH Design Worldwide 24,100,000
36 WHR Architects 23,581,538
37 Francis Cauffman 23,205,403
38 WDG Architecture 23,080,297
39 OZ Architecture 23,053,928
40 Goettsch Partners 22,748,000
41 Jerde Partnership, The 22,500,000
42 Cuningham Group Architecture 22,134,253
43 H+L Architecture 22,034,014
44 Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates 21,642,757
45 Gould Evans 20,135,000
46 Niles Bolton Associates 19,830,000
47 Good Fulton & Farrell 19,581,000
48 Morris Architects 19,454,000
49 GBBN Architects 18,000,000
50 Mithun 17,686,000
51 LMN Architects 17,281,900
52 Lee, Burkhart, Liu 17,200,000
53 Ziegler Cooper Architects 17,054,105
54 FGM Architects 16,226,488
55 Kirksey Architecture 16,216,783
56 BBG-BBGM 15,978,000
57 Hnedak Bobo Group 15,889,341
58 SRG Partnership 15,757,000
59 BLT Architects 14,900,000
60 Nadel Architects 14,200,000
61 Wight & Company 13,370,900
62 Lord, Aeck & Sargent 12,150,916
63 Carrier Johnson + CULTURE 11,699,266
64 Anderson Mikos Architects 11,393,000
65 Harvard Jolly 11,175,348
66 Legat Architects 10,420,000
67 ARCHITEKTON 9,827,002
68 Ashley McGraw Architects 9,500,000
69 SLATERPAULL Architects 9,321,914
70 SEI Design Group 7,986,000
71 DesignGroup 7,397,440
72 H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture 6,700,000
73 Massa Montalto Architects 6,224,932
74 Omniplan Architects 5,776,000
75 JRS Architect 5,575,000
76 Adache Group Architects 4,500,000
77 api(+) 3,330,000
78 PHX Architecture 1,750,000
79 RDH Interests 1,423,620
80 AXIS Architecture + Design 1,370,000
81 Horn Design 1,145,000



Rank Company 2011 Total Revenue ($)
1 HOK 447,435,170
2 HDR Architecture 364,100,000
3 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 255,000,000
4 Cannon Design 231,000,000
5 HKS 213,212,437
6 RTKL Associates 201,932,903
7 IBI Group 196,186,927
8 SmithGroupJJR 177,100,000
9 LEO A DALY 132,483,964
10 Hammel, Green and Abrahamson 127,900,000
11 DLR Group 110,000,000
12 PageSoutherlandPage 91,950,000
13 EYP Architecture & Engineering 72,681,105
14 HNTB Architecture 70,510,849
15 Flad Architects 65,100,000
16 EwingCole 63,500,000
17 Gresham, Smith and Partners 54,245,261
18 Heery International 48,487,000
19 Ballinger 48,311,631
20 LPA 48,194,126
21 BSA LifeStructures 45,316,495
22 CTA Architects Engineers 44,316,300
23 PGAL 42,513,800
24 Reynolds, Smith and Hills 42,000,000
25 NELSON 41,046,070
26 Little 40,700,000
27 S/L/A/M Collaborative, The 39,475,964
28 Moseley Architects 38,069,206
29 PBK 37,700,000
30 HLW International 36,000,000
31 WD Partners 36,000,000
32 Harley Ellis Devereaux 33,660,000
33 Fanning Howey Associates 29,880,000
34 FreemanWhite 28,500,000
35 Albert Kahn Family of Companies 27,200,000
36 SMMA|Symmes Maini & McKee Associates 25,335,391
37 Westlake Reed Leskosky 25,000,000
38 Tetra Tech Architects & Engineers 21,536,000
39 Sasaki Associates 21,237,056
40 RNL 21,129,700
41 Epstein 19,923,242
42 LawKingdon Architecture 19,100,000
43 Fletcher Thompson 18,450,000
44 Sherlock, Smith & Adams 15,400,000
45 CASCO Diversified Corp. 15,000,000
46 Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber 14,900,000
47 Goodwyn|Mills|Cawood 14,136,833
48 Baskervill 13,868,700
49 Taylor 12,210,121
50 Pearce Brinkley Cease + Lee 11,498,000
51 Integrated Design Group 11,436,000
52 Rosser International 10,700,000
53 KZF Design 9,295,703
54 TEG – The Estopinal Group 9,081,012
55 BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers 8,100,000
56 DLA Architects 7,000,000
57 Rule Joy Trammell + Rubio 4,200,000
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