Story at a glance:
- Sustainability is an increasing part of the mission of the largest architecture firms in the United States.
- Many of the country’s biggest firms offer additional services, too, from energy reporting to branding.
Exciting work is happening at the top architecture firms in the country, from testing the hybrid office concept in real time at Perkins & Will to bringing the outside into the office at Gensler. The most popular architecture firms in the US are pushing the envelope of great design—and so much of it is sustainable.
This guide to some of the most popular architecture firms in the US highlights firms based across the country—including those with headquarters in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, and Houston—with work across residential, commercial, landscape architecture, and more.
Gensler, San Francisco
Gensler is the largest architecture firm in the world with offices in more than 50 locations worldwide. The company was founded in 1965 by Arthur Gensler, who started by designing interiors for offices in the San Francisco Bay Area before growing rapidly with projects like Pennzoil Place in Downtown Houston and the original Apple Stores. Today Gensler’s portfolio includes a wide range of project types, including retail spaces, hotels, and apartments. Much of their work, however, still centers around the design of commercial office buildings, which they are working to redesign in the post-Covid era. And many of their designs emphasize public green space and access to the community.
“With the pandemic we realized maybe that’s really not the measure we should be going after; it should be the quality of space,” Gensler principal and design director Darrel Fullbright says in a previous gb&d interview.
Gensler also has experience in the design of airports and transportation hubs like the redesigned LaGuardia Airport in New York City and San Francisco International Airport. The firm has strong strategies for delivering positive, measurable impact—including to reuse what you already have, understand the impact of the new materials you typically specify, and design with lower carbon alternatives. In 2015 the firm completed work on Shanghai Tower, which at 121 stories is the second tallest building in the world.
Gensler Awards and Updates
- Architectural Record 2022 Top 300, #1 Architecture Firm
- Interior Design 2022 Top 100 Giants, #1 Overall Firm
HNTB Corporation, Kansas City, MO
The second largest firm in the United States by revenue, HNTB has its roots in infrastructure, originally designing bridges for highways and railroads before growing in the 1970s with a sports architecture practice. A go-to architect for many states’ Departments of Transportation, the firm has worked on bridges, tunnels, and highways across the country.
The firm also has worked on rail projects in cities like Dallas and Chicago as well as airports in Orlando, Wichita, and Los Angeles. Recent stadiums completed by HNTB include the Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco and the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
HNTB Awards and Updates
- Recently 16 HNTB received projects earned state ACEC Engineering Excellence awards.
Perkins & Will, Chicago
Perkins & Will is a global architecture firm with a long history of innovative design and sustainable building practices. Founded in 1935 by Lawrence Perkins and Philip Will, the firm has grown to become one of the most respected and influential architecture practices in the world with offices in more than 20 locations worldwide.
The firm got its start when Perkins, son of the former chief architect of the Chicago Board of Education, collaborated with famous Finnish architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen to design a school in the north Chicago suburb of Winnetka. The progressive Crow Island Elementary School, completed in 1940, established Perkins&Will as a major designer of civic spaces across the country. Educational projects remain as one of the firm’s specialties, ranging from primary and secondary schools to universities and research facilities across the world. Perkins&Will was recently selected to design Smithsonian Institution’s Bezos Learning Center.
Perkins & Will also claims to have the most LEED certified professionals of any firm in the world and recently joined forces with sustainability firm McLennan Design, founded by Jason McLennan. McLennan now serves as chief sustainability officer for Perkins&Will and oversees new projects like Western Washington University’s Kaiser Borsari Hall, which will be the only carbon-neutral academic facility in the Pacific Northwest when it opens in 2024.
Recently Perkins & Will began testing the hybrid office in real time using their new NYC headquarters. “Design is constantly informed by research,” Mariana Giraldo, part of the planning and strategies team at Perkins & Will, previously told gb&d. “Understanding our behaviors and the way we work and what’s at the core of what we do has allowed us to be more resilient.”
Perkins&Will Awards and Updates
Founded in 1939 by Harwood K. Smith, HKS specializes in the design of massive stadium and hotel projects across the globe. One of their most notable projects is the AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, known for its iconic design and advanced engineering. The company has also designed many other sports venues, including the Globe Life Field, the home of the Texas Rangers, and the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers.
HKS also has significant experience in designing health care facilities like the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. In recent years the firm has also expanded its hospitality architectural design practice with projects like Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas and the Venetian Macau.
HKS Awards and Updates
- 2023 AIA COTE Top Ten Award
- New HKS-designed Hokkaido Nippon Fighters Baseball Stadium opened in spring 2023.
For more than 70 years Jacobs has provided architectural solutions all over the world. Their integrated design approach and extensive multidisciplinary collaboration covers all phases of sustainable building delivery—including planning, design, construction, and operations maintenance.
101 Seaport Boulevard in Boston is just one of the LEED Platinum projects the firm worked on. Jacobs led the architectural design for the 17-story building, home to world-class retail and opportunities. They also designed the beautiful, sustainable Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater.
Jacobs Awards and Updates
- Top 500 Design Firms (Engineering News-Record)
AECOM’s architecture and design department covers architecture, building engineering, interiors, workplace master planning, urban design, economics, and portfolio advisory experts. They’re known for everything from major sporting venues like the London 2012 Olympic Park and Legacy Framework to headquarters and workplace facilities for NASA, Unilever, Sony Music, DirecTV, Box, and more.
AECOM has also designed many health care facilities, including spaces for Spectrum Health. In Grand Haven, Michigan the architectural team was challenged with designing a facility that would stand up to the extreme cold. They incorporated a thermally-broken framing system from YKK AP, natural sunlight, and more in their efforts to improve health outcomes in patients.
AECOM Awards and Updates
- AECOM recently celebrated the launch of a new reef resilience strategy for Belize in partnership with Resilient Reefs Initiative.
- AECOM received the Terra Carta Seal in recognition of its leading position in sustainability.
First established in 1938, Corgan specializes in high-tech, modern workplace design and human-centric spaces as well as aviation design.
Their work with HKS to expand Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Terminal D established them as one of the world’s leading authorities on airport terminal design. Since then they’ve also worked on Sky Harbor in Phoenix and the new O’Hare Global Terminal in Chicago. The firm has also worked on a number of educational facilities, including the University of Texas and Texas A&M University, and they’ve designed for Wells Fargo, Bustle, and more.
Corgan Awards and Updates
- To understand how designers leverage AI tools today, Hugo gathered a group of Corgan designers to experiment with AI image-generation tools like DALL·E 2.
HDR, Omaha, NE
The 100% employee-owned HDR specializes in engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services. They’re known for designing high-performance buildings with smart infrastructure, like the new Cedars Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital. The new design was inspired by the colors and landscape of the coast, according to Zeke Triana, vice president of facilities and design at Cedars-Sinai, who shared the project for a previous story in gb&d.
The exterior’s windows appear in different colors, so when the sun hits the glass, the building exterior almost appears as waves or a beautiful sunset. “It’s that local context that we felt was important. It makes it of the neighborhood,” Triana says. “That level of what I’ll call design sophistication is what we are after—where people then begin to feel proud of their health center in their community. It’s not cookie-cutter.”
Using local colors, inspiration, and even materials also helps to ground the project in the neighborhood while reflecting the hospital’s values. “It’s timeless, it’s diverse, it’s advanced and sophisticated. That’s the total environment we’re trying to portray. We hope that makes people at ease, makes them a little bit more comfortable, and reduces anxiety,” Triana says.
For the new Marina del Rey hospital, architects had the rare opportunity to build a hospital from scratch and get feedback with mock patient rooms. That feedback ranged from layout to where electrical outlets were placed. Triana says, “By incorporating that into the design process we have a better outcome.”
HDR Awards and Updates
- HDR earns top ranking in 2023 modern health care survey.
- Three HDR projects earn recognition in Architizer’s A+ Awards.
CallisonRTKL (now known as Arcadis), Washington, DC
The merger of Callison and RTKL in 2014 created one of the largest architecture firms in the world with a diverse portfolio of projects. One of the key differentiators of CallisonRTKL is its focus on retail design—one of the firm’s main areas of expertise. They have designed some of the largest and most innovative retail environments in the world. They have also developed a strong presence in the health care sector, with notable projects like the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
“Walkable communities encourage fewer car trips, which minimizes air and noise pollution since residents can feasibly walk to everything they need on a day-to-day basis. This increase in walkability suggests a human-centric environment that is also favorable to sustainable practices,” Renee Schoonbeek, senior associate vice president at CallisonRTKL, wrote for gb&d.
“As the demand for walkable cities continues to increase, urban planning experts at CRTKL are prepared to equip suburban and urban areas with the tools needed to foster this type of community. In rapid response to the Covid pandemic, the firm looked at the efforts of more than 50 cities nationwide, as there are a groundswell of community-based initiatives to open up streets to pedestrians and close them down to motor vehicles—a testament to the vitality of the walkability strategy.”
CallisonRTKL Awards and Updates
- The firm released its “Designing For A Better World” 2023 annual sustainability report.
- Gemdale Viseen Tower awarded the Platinum level WELL Certification
Perkins Eastman, New York City
Modern offices, hospitals, educational design—Perkins Eastman has tackled most types of commercial projects. Their own new Pittsburgh studio earned LEED Gold. The firm achieved a 33% reduction in embodied carbon in the project as they emphasized innovative design strategies and a more hybrid approach to the workplace post-Covid. Their design pivoted to treat the office as more of a resource hub and collaboration center.
“With the understanding that just as the world continues to evolve through and beyond the pandemic, so does the practice of architecture—and on a micro-scale, our firm’s practice over the term of our multi-year lease—we tested a range of potential future layouts, limiting wall and ceiling construction to allow for smart modifications over time,” writes Jennifer Askey, for gb&d.
“Exposed ceilings with flexible pull-down power and perimeter wire molds are provided for more than 50% of the floor area to allow reconfiguration of the space and easier changes in technology. A corner of the office known as the annex was left unmodified, minimally furnished with movable tables. Throughout the next year, we will determine what type of work postures and arrangements make the most sense for this space based on real-time employee feedback.”
Perkins Eastman Awards and Updates
- Perkins Eastman Named Outstanding Organization 2021
- Collection 14 wins Congress For The New Urbanism Charter Award.
LPA, Irvine, CA
LPA was founded in 1965 and today works from six studios in California and Texas. LPA Design Studios specializes in designing energy-efficient K-12 projects.
Today the firm has more than 400 architects, engineers, landscape architects, interior designers, and planners working. In 2004 LPA committed to make projects perform 25% better than California’s Title 24 energy code. In 2010 they set a goal to have an entirely 100% LEED AP-certified staff to kickstart awareness of performance across the firm; today more than 80% are LEED APs.
LPA’s projects span across high-tech learning centers and facilities to educational buildings and libraries. The Environmental Nature Center and Preschool in Newport Beach, designed by LPA Design Studios, was the region’s first LEED Platinum building. Their educational designs push the envelope across the board.
LPA President Dan Heinfeld previously told gb&d that doing “less bad” is simply not good enough. “The industry must create projects that contribute to a more sustainable future. Our work should aspire to enhance our environment and make a positive impact, not simply to decrease the damage of our work. We need to embrace and promote an integrated design process—giving engineers, landscape architects, interior designers, builders, and clients a seat at the table from the very beginning of the process,” Heinfeld writes for gb&d.
LPA Awards and Updates
- 2023 AIA National Architecture Award for TIDE Academy
- 2023 COTE Citation Award for West Hollywood Park Aquatics and Recreation Center
NELSON Worldwide, Minneapolis
NELSON Worldwide was founded in 1977 as an interior design firm. Today it works with a broad range of clients from diverse industries—including more than 40% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list. Their practice includes architecture services in the areas of health care, hospitality, mixed use, retail, workplace, and more.
Recently one of NELSON Worldwide’s projects, 425 Medford Street in Boston, has served as a great example of how using cross-laminated timber is conducive to building tall structures that are more sustainable than steel and concrete. “We are currently working on one of the largest resiliency projects in Boston at 425 Medford Street,” Haril Pandya, managing director of NELSON Worldwide’s Boston Studio, writes for gb&d. “The master plan of the former Domino Sugar Factory consists of the redevelopment of an approximately 15-acre site with a multi-phased mix-used development focused on resolving sea-level-rise issues facing Charlestown and the areas beyond. The project is next to a quarter-mile of river edge and as a result we are raising the edge by six feet. This level of elevation goes beyond a wall and creates a slope ensuring a sustainable shoreline and access to the water. These types of projects require a significant financial commitment from local government officials to developers and a big portion of the investment is because of the resiliency edge. Moving forward, these are the types of projects and financial commitments we’ll need to see to keep Boston resilient.”
NELSON Worldwide Awards and Updates
- 2023 ULI Philadelphia’s Awards for Excellence
- 2023 CoStar Impact Awards
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), Chicago
SOM was founded in 1936. The merger of architecture and structural engineering has continued to make the firm one of the best, with memorable projects like the glass and steel facade of Lever House in 1952—the first modernist office building in New York City—to the record-breaking Sears Tower and John Hancock Center, skyscrapers that changed the way we see the Chicago skyline today. SOM also designed the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, towering more than 160 floors in Dubai.
SOM continues to both innovate with materials—see this use of black glazed terra-cotta in New York City, as well as preserve and celebrate history, like at the historic Netsch residence in Chicago. The Netsch Residence was renovated by SOM to honor the late SOM design partner Walter Netsch while adding in a modern twist.
Brian Lee, the design partner at SOM who led the project team, renovated the space with a light touch to preserve as much as possible. Netsch, who’s known for designing the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel in Colorado Springs, built his house in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood in 1974 with geometry at the forefront. “Netsch developed a design concept that is loosely tied to field theory, which is really about geometry as a driving force in the design process,” Lee previously told gb&d.
The house is an economical cubic form based on a 40-by-40-foot square and rotating squares. In the center of the residence is the service core, with the kitchen, bathrooms, and utilities. Rotating around the service core is a series of trays for various living spaces that step up or step down, forming a corkscrew-like shape. “The trays act as a series of platforms that are open to each other, supporting his idea of ‘one big space,’” Lee says.
SOM Awards and Update
- SOM-led design team announced for Governors Island climate hub.
- SOM was the Popular Choice Winner in the Best Sustainable Firm category, Architizer A+ Awards.
NBBJ has designed iconic workplaces, from Amazon’s biosphere to spaces at Samsung and WarnerBros. The legacy firm has more than 80 years of experience. Ans has one more than 1,000 awards from AIA, the Urban Land Institute, Fast Company, and more. The firm is a CarbonNeutral-certified company.
They work across commercial development and deliver engaging designs in corporate office, cultural and civic spaces, education, health care, sports, and more. They recently designed the LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, California. That project replaced the concept of many workstations with spaces designed to accommodate diverse worker preferences. They designed activity-based layouts and furniture types, including a “living room” space that serves as a social anchor, team hubs that offer areas for group discussions, and “perch points” for heads-down work or pair meetups.
NBBJ Awards and Updates
- Rainier Square wins engineering award for speed and innovation in construction.
- NBBJ becomes carbon-neutral and commits to net zero carbon by 2050.
- Fast Company Design Awards
- AIA Healthcare Design Awards
ZGF Architects, Portland, OR
ZGF specializes in cutting-edge buildings that are sustainable and often regenerative. Their applied research and learnings over the past 70 years have allowed them to invent new ways to address urgent climate challenges in complex building types that include laboratories, hospitals, college and university learning spaces, and corporate headquarters.
As a firm they are committed to the 2030 Challenge, the US Architects Declare, and they signed the Healthy Materials Pledge. In 2022 they updated their JUST 2.0 label to best evaluate their social justice and equity practices.
While ZGF has many new and beautiful buildings, in 2018 they worked with Google to reinvent an old aviation hangar. Called the Spruce Goose, ZGF Architects transformed the former home of Howard Hughes’ famous aircraft into an office space unlike any other.
The project is textbook renovation meets preservation on a grand scale. The team built four new levels inside the hangar; at the same time they preserved the space’s dramatic glulam arches and wood siding. They now nestle 450,000 square feet of office space around the site’s original central “spine,” which runs the 750-foot length of the building. It’s “arguably one of the world’s most spectacular workplaces,” ZGF partner Ted Hyman previously told gb&d, one that “has vastly minimized environmental and community impact compared to demolition and new construction.”
ZGF News and Updates
- ZGF’s District Carbon proposal won Seattle 2030 District’s 2021 Energy Roadmap competition.
- Washington Park TriMet Station in Portland is an award-winning transportation hub that includes platforms 260 feet below the surface of the earth, making it the deepest rail tunnel station in North America.
Interior Architects, Los Angeles
Interior Architects (IA) started in LA in 1984. Today the global firm is made up of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists who focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture. They specialize in workplace, hospitality, and retail spaces.
IA offers design services that also include strategy, experiential design, lighting design, and more. Their design of the 25,000-square-foot REI in North Conway, New Hampshire has an open plan with flexible elements that can be adapted for larger congregation and special events. The firm took care to minimally alter the existing structure, reducing waste, in keeping with REI’s sustainability mission.
Interior Architects Awards and Updates
- IA’s Dropbox Dublin Awarded Best of Year by Interior Design magazine.
- IA shares webinars, including lessons on demystifying AI and how to nurture a team’s creative confidence.
- IA recently opened a Sacramento location.
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, New York City
Sustainability is driving the mission at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), where adaptive reuse, conversion, and densification are daily topics. The firm is made up of more than 700 staff led by 34 principals—with offices in New York, London, San Francisco, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Seoul, Berlin, and Singapore. They emphasize designing healthy environments, inside and out, that enhance physical, cognitive, and social well-being.
KPF projects run the gamut from adaptive reuse and hospitality to civic and cultural, health care, education, and more. Their recent Lenovo Houhai Center office towers earned LEED Platinum and Gold certifications. Only 3% of LEED-certified buildings in Shenzhen are Platinum ranked.
The towers feature curtain walls of laminated glass to block UV radiation, and operable windows improve air circulation and reduce energy consumption. Air sterilization and filtration features are present throughout to improve air quality, while environmentally friendly materials were prioritized in the production of the building’s sealants and paints.
Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates Awards and Updates
- KPF Shanghai office director speaks at Shanghai International Carbon Neutrality expo.
- Diaoyutai Hotel and MGM open in Qingdao IBC.
- The Kerry Qianhai Treehouse and Vanke Cloud Gradus received Gold in the Future Developments A&D Awards.
Beck Group, Dallas
The Beck Group is a diverse team of designers and builders specializing in architecture, construction, sustainability, and technology. They work with real estate developers, corporations, organizations, and institutions to design and build their facilities.
One recent example is The Hub at Peachtree Center in Atlanta—a 120,000-square-foot mixed use development. Originally designed in the 1960s, the Beck redesigned a plaza to make a vibrant civic amenity that engages with the pedestrian activity of Peachtree Street.
Beck’s design removes the barriers that impeded pedestrian flow and increases usable space with a reimagined public plaza featuring a glass-enclosed stair that connects to The Hub below. The Hub features a complete upgrade to all finishes and furnishings, improved lighting and a brighter, airier feel.
Beck Group Awards and Updates
- RiverSouth wins Austin AGC Outstanding Construction Award.
- Tampa International Airport wins America’s Best Restroom Contest.
- 2021 US Best Managed Company
CannonDesign, Buffalo, NY
CannonDesign is focused on a mission of sustainability with initiatives like Planet 2100, and they continue to build toward a circular economy. Their team of expert architects and designers ask questions like, “What if we ‘grew’ our buildings?”
Their projects like 201 Ellicott reimagine surface parking as a place for affordable apartments, fresh food, and public art.
CannonDesign Awards and Updates
- Fast Company named CannonDesign one of the most innovative firms in North America multiple years.
Leo A Daly, Omaha
This firm offers expert services across planning, architecture, engineering, and interiors. Leo A Daly dates back more than 100 years, with projects that range from science laboratories to higher ed to health care and hospitality.
Leo A Daly worked on The Heights in Arlington, VA with Bjarke Angels Group. The new secondary school features an on-site rainwater system, high-performance glazing, LED lighting with sensors and dimming capabilities, and an 18,700-square-foot vegetated roof. It achieved LEED Gold certification.
Leo A Daly Awards and Updates
- Their design of an Omaha police precinct recognized for design excellence.
- State of Minnesota has also recognized LEO A DALY projects with Best of B3 Awards.
Ware Malcomb, Irvine, CA
Ware Malcomb dates back to 1972, when it was founded by Bill Ware and Bill Malcomb. From an emphasis on great design and excellent client service their business evolved to where it is today, with services expanded to include branding and civil engineering. The firm now has more than 28 offices in the US, Mexico, Canada, and Brazil. Projects range from the Los Angeles Arboretum to offices for Compass Real Estate, Eagle Rock Beverage, and more.
In April 2023 the firm announced it finished a new high-rise creative office building at 2130 Violet Street in the Arts District of Los Angeles. Ware Malcomb provided architectural design services for the project.
Ware Malcomb Awards and Updates
- Zweig Group Hot Firm #18
- Interior Design Top 100 Giants #23
- The #13 AE Firm per ENR
Elkus Manfredi Architects, Boston
Elkus Manfredi Architects offers services across architecture, planning, strategic design, interiors, historic preservation, experiential graphic design, and more.
The full-service design firm is especially known for its strategic work in mixed-use placemaking that fosters inclusive community and creative innovation, as well as strategic workplace solutions that engage users and enhance performance.
They recently designed a new 80,000-square-foot office space for Aetna to support the health company’s marketing and communications team with a natural light-filled collaborative environment.
Elkus Manfredi Architects Awards and Updates
- Honorable Mention for Excellence in Architecture for Rehabilitation, Restoration or Preservation in the Society for College and University Planning/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture Awards, 2023
- Recognized by the American Architecture Awards for renovation and restoration for the Chicago Athenaeum, 2022
NORR is an employee-owned, integrated full-service firm with services across architecture, interior design, structural engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, master planning, and urban design.
The firm dates back to 1938 when it was founded by Canadian Architect John B. Parkin. Today’s projects span these diverse market sectors—commercial, education, health sciences, hospitality, industrial, justice, public buildings, residential, restaurants, retail, science and research and transportation. In 2021 they completed The Bus Station—an adaptive reuse project that combines Art Deco with industrial. The design was carefully crafted to retain and celebrate the curved brick facade while integrating an exciting contemporary form to offset and complement the historic form.
NORR Awards and Updates
- Shop! Design Awards (Silver) in the Softline Specialty Store category
- European Healthcare Design 2023 for Adaptation and Transformation Design Award
- The Coolest Offices in Chicago for 2023
SmithGroup provides services in architecture, building enclosure consulting, campus planning, civil engineering, coastal engineering, energy and environmental modeling, fire protection and life safety engineering, and so much more.
The firm designed the University of Arizona Applied Research Building to be a highly calibrated machine, uniquely suited to house complex and sensitive research demands with optimal performance in its desert environment. It strikes an elusive balance, extremely secure and yet a stunning showcase of scientific advancements.
SmithGroup Awards and Updates
- The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Neurosciences Building received the 2022 SEFA Lab of the Year Award.
- Advancing Diversity and Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff Award from the American Planning Association for the Joe Louis Greenway, 2022
DLR Group, Omaha
DLR Group is 100% employee-owned, with 1,400 design professionals in offices around the globe. The firm was founded in Omaha in 1966 and now has 30 locations—from Chicago and Columbus to Dallas, Dubai, and Shanghai.
School design is just one of the firm’s many areas of expertise. But in talking to their leaders, designing a K-12 facility with safety in mind starts by making places where students feel like they belong. The architects start by asking questions that aim to get at the heart of the school’s mission. “What do you want to achieve? What are your values? What’s the culture of the school?” asks Todd Ferking, principal at DLR Group. Ferking has been with the firm for more than 20 years and is currently the National K-12 Education Design Leader. “That informs how the building gets laid out. We rarely come in and say, ‘What do you want in your classroom?’ Really we’re asking, ‘How do you want to engage students?’” Designing to create a place where students feel like they belong not only celebrates the students—building in something like a student display of work, for example—it’s also a safety strategy at the end of the day.
DLR Group Awards and Updates
- Architect’s 2023 Architecture and Interiors Award, Pinal County Attorney’s office project
- American Architecture Awards for two international conceptual designs—the Theatre of Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and the Culture and Sports Complex in Xiamen, China
LS3P, Charleston, SC
LS3P has grown from a one-man office in the 1960s to a thriving firm with more than 440 employees across 12 locations in four states. Today they do work in architecture, interiors, planning, and urban environments as well as offer branding services, experiential graphic design, and more. They specialize in projects in aviation, corporate campuses, health care, hospitality, and more.
Center City Green Center City Green in Charlotte was awarded LEED Gold for its efficiency. The cost effective, 1,400-car parking structure would serve Bank of America employees, satisfy urban design issues, and address immediate context. The irregular two-acre site is part rectilinear, part curvilinear, and surrounded on three sides by public streets, a new light rail line, and Charlotte’s new cultural landmarks, the TWC Arena and ImaginOn.
LS3P Awards and Updates
- AIA South Carolina Merit Award (Unbuilt), 2022 Design, Uganda Women’s and Children’s Clinic
- IIDA Hospitality Award, Historic Savannah Foundation recognition for the Artillery Bar in Savannah, Georgia
KTGY Architecture + Planning, Chicago
KTGY dates back to 1991 and is a leading full-service architecture, branding, interior and planning firm focused on residential, hospitality, and mixed-use developments as well as neighborhood revitalization. They also work in branding, interiors, and planning.
The numbers speak for themselves. KTGY has more than 400 employees and has worked in 45 states. They’ve built more than 250,000 multifamily units, among countless other projects. Projects like the Barnes & Thornburg building in South Bend, Indiana are integrated into a highly dense downtown core. This five-level mixed-use office space was designed with luxury in mind—wavish office workspace for high-end tenants alongside ground-level retail, including restaurants.
KTGY Awards and Updates
- First place in World of Modular’s Awards of Distinction for Lafayette Triangle, 2023
- MAME Awards Best Outdoor Living Space, Sterling Grove,
HMC Architects, Los Angeles
This 100% employee-owned design firm is focused on architecture projects in higher ed, communities, healed care, preK-12, and more. Their commitment to sustainability is clear with projects like the LEED Platinum Kaiser Permanente La Habra Medical Office Building. Full spectrum color, balanced finish and material selections, concrete-like and wood plank flooring, and exposed ceilings were used to create a contemporary space.
The ultra-low energy facility employs a combination of sustainable strategies—including efficient HVAC design, cool roof coating, high insulation in walls and roof, dynamic tinting glass, daylight harvesting, renewable energy, and adaptive/drought tolerant vegetation.
HMC Awards and Updates
- ENR California 2023 Design Firm of the Year
- HMC wins 2023 Green Good Design Award for Honeybee Discovery Center project.
Populous, Kansas City, MO
With more than 3,000 projects and 35 years of experience, this global design firm started as HOK Sport Venue Event and LOBB Partnership in the 1980s before becoming Populous in 2009. They’ve since been recognized with more than 250 global design awards for work in 34 countries.
Among their many projects is the famed Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. Completed in 2021, Climate Pledge Arena is poised to become the world’s first arena to earn a net zero carbon certification from the International Living Future Institute. The new construction required the 44-million-pound roof to be lifted and suspended above the site while another 680,000 cubic yards of soil were removed underneath to nearly double the size of the former venue and create 360-degree pedestrian access. The beautiful curtain walls of glass were also restored, making Climate Pledge Arena the first in North America where someone can walk entirely around the facility while never losing sight of what’s inside.
Gresham Smith, Nashville
Gresham Smith got its start in the late 1960s. They now deliver award-winning projects in the areas of aviation, public space, education, health care, industry, mixed use, and so much more.
They designed Honda’s first battery plan for electric vehicles in Jeffersonville, Ohio. Set to be completed by the end of 2024, the plant is expected to exceed 2 million square feet—supporting Honda’s vision to make only battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles by 2040. The facility is expected to have an annual capacity of 40 Gigawatt hours, and it will create 2,200 jobs.
Gresham Smith Awards and Updates
- Gresham Smith named a Best Place to Work in Louisville for fourth straight year, 2023
- Kaiser Permanente’s Lutherville-Timonium Medical Center Award of Excellence in Sustainable Design, AIA Middle Tennessee
MG2 celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021. Today the firm works on high-rises, hospitality projects, mixed use, pop up retail, residential, and more. Sustainability is a big part of their mission, as they offer further services in energy optimization, embodied carbon reduction, sustainable materials sourcing, water use reduction, and more. MG2 has committed to the AIA 2030 Challenge, striving for carbon neutrality by 2030.
MG2 was selected from a group of global firms to reimagine Six Corners in Chicago. Six Corners and Novak Development partnered with MG2 as their design architect to bring to life the innovative mixed-use project complete with 200 residential units, more than 50,000 square feet of retail, and 300 parking spaces. The project is currently in the design phase.
MG2 Awards and Updates
- One of the top retail design firms of 2023 ranked by VMSD
- Best office architects in Irvine, California
Architects Orange, Orange, CA
Architects Orange, or AO, is known for its expertise in the areas of affordable housing, multifamily, and commercial design. AO dates back nearly 50 years.
Many of the firm’s designs bring hospitality inspiration to residential environments. The Residences on Gibson in Riverside, California, for example, is a four-story community with a progressive design and a touch of hospitality service. Amenities include a leasing office and outdoor bbq/grill stations and fire tables, an enclosed dog park, an interactive play area, and a central recreation zone with a pool, spa, and large sun deck.
AO Awards and Updates
- PCBC Gold Nugget Award for Ramsay’s Kitchen, Best Commercial Project (Merit Award)
- NAHB Best In American Living Award- BALA Awards for Vici, Multifamily Community of the Year
Cooper Carry, New York City
For more than 60 years Cooper Carry has been designing beautiful, environmentally friendly buildings—from hotels and workplaces to schools and universities as well as libraries, laboratories, restaurants, bars, retail, multifamily, and mixed-use projects.
They designed the Andy Quattlebaum Outdoor Recreation Center at Clemson University with an emphasis on biophilia and well-being. “Biophilic elements are emphasized to encourage student wellness, activity, and interaction. We believe the center will become a hub for those looking for an on-campus escape,” Brian Campa, principal at Cooper Carry, previously told gb&d.
Cooper Carry collaborated with Clemson University’s Wood Utilization + Design Institute to bring this mass timber construction to life. “As advocates for sustainable, wood-based architectural design, the team was armed with a breadth of research to help inspire the Clemson leadership community to have an open mind to this level of innovation,” Campa said. The design team met often with the institute’s director to get her perspective in response to the structure. Campa says it was their research that led to the initial investigation into using Southern yellow pine for the structural base of the facility.
Cooper Carry Awards and Updates
- IIDA Georgia Best of the Best Award, Best of Multifamily, The Residences at Broadwest, Nashville, 2023
- Fitwel’s 2023 Best in Building Health Award Winners for the Company with the Most New Ambassadors in 2022
HLW, New York City
HLW delivers innovative work across architecture, interiors, lighting, and more. The company dates all the way back to 1885 and today is committed to sustainability, working toward the Architecture 2030 Challenge of being carbon neutral by 2030.
As part of their sustainability efforts across projects HLW employs building design analytics to maximize occupant comfort and reduce operating costs. They offer biophilic design services, daylight and glare analysis, embodied carbon analysis, water budget assessment, and more. Their Fordham University project is a new complex that reorients the campus to create a unified center of activity that brings together commuter and resident students with faculty and external visitors. Its central location and visual presence establish the student center as a beacon for the campus. The buildings are joined by an all-glass, double-height arcade that serves as an access point for all parts of the center and a visual moment of contemporary aesthetic within a traditionally Collegiate Gothic space.
HLW Awards and Updates
- HLW announced the opening of a San Francisco office in May 2023.
- Green Townhouse Tower, finalist in Metals in Construction 2023 Design Competition
HOK, St. Louis, MO
Since 1955 HOK has been leading the way—starting with education projects. Today the global design, architecture, engineering, and planning firm employs 1,600 people across 26 offices on three continents.
Beyond stellar educational facilities, HOK has also designed everything from a 32,400-square-foot annex to the Seattle Tacoma International Airport to the famous Footprint Center, home to the Phoenix Suns. As part of their creative design they modernized the stadium with a metal facade that changes color in the sun. The 298,000-square-foot stadium project is eye-catching to onlookers, covered in metal flaps. HOK Senior Project Designer Devin Norton says the look was easy to achieve across a large area as compared to, say, using full metal panels or another alternative.
“The building has this kinetic energy as it transitions throughout the day because the flaps move with the wind.” The metal uses a special color-shifting paint that is especially dynamic, he says, and the changing light and wind cause the building to appear in shades of deep red, yellow, and even white. “It’s a representation of wind through metal.”
HOK Awards and Updates
- One of TIME Magazine’s most influential firms, 2022
- One of Fast Company’s most innovative companies, 2022
Architecture, lighting design, landscape architecture, and more—HGA is bringing some of the most beautiful and sustainable projects to life all over the US. It all dates back to 1953, when what was then called Hammel and Green was founded; the principals added a third partner in 1954 to become Hammel, Green and Abrahamson. Highland Park Junior High School in Saint Paul was the studio’s first major education project and is still in use today. Other education projects followed, and in 1959 the founders brought in mechanical and electrical engineers, creating a full-service firm with 20 employees.
HGA’s design for the Westwood Hills Nature Center is among many incredible examples of their work. They designed the nature center in St. Louis Park, Minnesota to be zero energy. “For me, designing for nature means thinking holistically about architecture—considering not just all of the design and engineering facets but also how architecture fits into a bigger picture to address issues of equity, accessibility, health and wellness, and climate,” says Glenn Waguespack, senior project designer at HGA. “How do we maximize positive impacts on people, and how do we think about the building’s future so its impact remains positive throughout its lifespan? We are at a critical juncture where we can choose to use new lenses by which we analyze and approach design.”
HGA Awards and Updates
- AIA COTE Award, Westwood Hills Nature Center, 2022
- Outstanding Contemporary Architecture, Marlboro Reich Hall
Cuningham Group Architecture, Minneapolis
John Cuningham founded the firm in 1968. Now, more than 50 years later, Cuningham has become an industry-leading architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, and planning firm committed to telling client stories through enduring restorative design.
The firm is committed to sustainability as a signatory of the AIA 2030 Commitment. Their projects emphasize regenerating natural ecosystems by modeling, measuring, and reporting reductions in energy use, water use, and carbon emissions in both their projects and their own internal operations.
Recent projects like the 88,500-square-foot Laurentian Elementary School in Minnesota gave careful consideration to design inside and out. Upon entering the school, students are greeted by a wooden treehouse. The two-story play space and tower opens to a large, outdoor commons and is connected to a bridge spans the two learning wings. The project uses local resources, including wood, throughout.
Cuningham Group Architecture Awards and Updates
- Laurentian Elementary School wins 2023 John Shaw Award.
- U.S. News & World Report names Pendry West Hollywood third best hotel in US.
- Cuningham Named a 2022 “Hospitality Giant” by Interior Design magazine.
Page Southerland Page, Houston
Page Southerland Page specializes in architecture, branding, preservation, urban design, and so much more. The multidisciplinary design, architecture, and engineering firm has more than 1,300 employees across the US and abroad, focusing largely on complex projects.
Projects like Fuse at Mason Square at George Mason University in Arlington are targeting LEED Platinum. The project is 360,500 square feet of new construction and underground parking, with 24 specialty lab core modules, classrooms, laboratories, offices, incubator space, event spaces, and retail.
Page Southerland Page Awards and Updates
- The Engineering-News Record Top 500 Design Firms List
- #1 Federal Government Architecture and AE Firm
Since 1946 international architecture firm PGAL has been offering services across architecture, interiors, engineering, and planning for a diverse portfolio of public and private sector clients. The firm includes more than 250 architects, engineers, designers, and planners across 12 regional offices. Projects span aviation and civic spaces to K-12, health care, mixed use, parking, retail, and countless other areas.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Engineering, Academic and Research Building project was completed in 2023. The new three-story, 50,000-square-foot facility for the College of Engineering was designed to have a large maker-space, student and faculty offices, wet and dry laboratories, active learning classroom with flexible auditorium, divisible classrooms, and lobby.
PGAL Awards and Updates
- DCA’s new North Concourse wins AIA Northern Virginia Design Award.
- ENR Texas and Louisiana names two PGAS projects 2022 Best Project.
Robert A.M. Stern Architects, New York City
The 200-person Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) firm is made up of architects, interior designers, and supporting staff. For more than 50 years the firm has established an international reputation as a leading design firm with wide experience in residential, commercial, and institutional work, with projects in Europe, Asia, South America, and all over the US.
“My partners and I at RAMSA see architecture as part of a continuum,” Michael Jones of RAMSA previously told gb&d. “It is the artful synthesis of time-honored building traditions and the needs of immediate circumstance. In our multifamily residential projects in New York City, for example, we often look to Manhattan’s interwar apartment houses from the 1920s and 1930s—they captured the public’s imagination then, and they continue to capture ours now. We adapt and redraw plans, investigate materiality, tease out compelling details, and search for the most appropriate form of expression.”
RAMSA Awards and Updates
- Traditional Building honors RAMSA in 2023 Palladio Awards.
- RAMSA’s Georgetown Capitol Campus Residence wins SHB 2023 Innovator Awards.
- RAMSA’s Wellbeing Center awarded 2022 AIA Delaware Design Award.
Hord Coplan Macht, Baltimore
Hord Coplan Macht offers services in planning, architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and environmental graphic design and has offices in Baltimore, Charlotte, Denver, Hilton Head Island, and the DC Metro area. They specialize in projects in health care, higher ed, K-12, housing and mixed use, senior living, affordable housing, and more.
Hord Coplan Macht and William Rawn Associates recently renovated the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing to great effect. The building upgrade was meant to open up the school not only to students but also the Johns Hopkins and Baltimore community at large. “The school was inward-focused, in a long, skinny building,” Paul Lund, principal at Hord Coplan Macht, told gb&d about the original project. “It was hard for the school to play a reciprocal role within the broader campus context and within the city itself. A lot of the school’s research projects involve working with different agencies and groups within Baltimore, so there are lots of nurses going out but no way to invite people from the community in.”
One of the first design decisions was to make a grand entrance worthy of the best master’s program for nursing in the country, of which it is. Big letters announce the school now, with a clearly defined welcome area both inside and out. “It seems like a small thing, but making the building accessible and open—telling people that it’s okay to come visit—was important,” Lund says.
Hord Coplan Macht Awards and Updates
- FWA Group joins Hord Coplan Macht.
- Hord Coplan Macht Projects win Argentum Senior Living by Design Awards.
TPG Architecture, New York City
TPG Architecture was founded in 1979 and continues to design beautiful interior environments. They specialize in workplace, retail, health care, and hospitality design as well as branding and strategy services.
They recently designed a two-floor workplace for Bracewell. The 54,100-square-foot project gives the law firm modern space with timeless design elements. Private offices define the perimeter, with admin stations in each of the plan’s four corners. Within the offices the team included height-adjustable furniture, custom bookcases, and movable tables. For future flexibility, smaller internal conference rooms can be converted into private offices. A feature stone staircase unites the two floors, with the main café at the base. This gathering space features soft and varied seating and can be used as a collaboration zone.
TPG Awards and Updates
- 2023 Shop! Design Award
- Interior Design Top 100 Giants: 2023
Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), Chicago
Founded in 1931, SCB is an architecture, interior design, and planning firm with offices in Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Seattle. SCB’s work can be seen everywhere from Chicago’s iconic Edgewater Plaza or the Lakeshore Drive Apartments to the US Department of Energy Sun Wall.
Today SCB has more than 240 design professionals and over 650 completed projects across a wide range of building types. The firm’s first project in San Francisco (its newest office) is One Rincon Hill. Designed as a catalyst for urban renewal, the slender tower’s 60-story height was made possible by integrating unique architectural and structural solutions for building in an active seismic zone.
SCB Awards and Updates
- UIC Academic and Residential Complex wins National AIA Educational Facility Design Award.
- UCR North District Phase One named “Best New Development by a College, University, or Institution” at Student Housing Business Innovator Awards.
Ratio Architects, Chicago
RATIO is an international design firm with studios in Chicago, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Denver, and Raleigh. They specialize in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, urban design, preservation, and graphic design. Areas of focus include workplace, K-12 education, hospitality, higher ed, residential and mixed use, and community as well as international projects.
Their Terminal Project in Chicago is an adaptive reuse project for the bioscience sector. The firm brought new life to the former Pyle-National Company—which made headlights for trains, lights for Soldier Field Stadium and Wrigley Field until vacating the site in 1992. Over time the sprawling complex became neglected and unsafe, negatively impacting the neighborhood of Humboldt Park. The new project was completed in 2022.
Ratio Architects Awards and Updates
- RATIO received five design and architecture awards from the AIA Indianapolis in 2022.
Huckabee, Fort Worth, TX
Huckabee focuses on K-12, higher education, and sports architecture. Their services not only include architecture and interior design but also MEP engineering, branding, and more.
In the K12 Studio Huckabee projects like Channelview High School repurposed some existing space for academics and fine arts—including a 1,000-seat performing arts center. Other notable renovations included updates to the library, a new main entrance, enhanced security measures, and further upgrades to modernize the building Channelview ISD.
Huckabee Awards and Updates
- CEO Chris Huckabee was honored as Mansfield ISD’s Ambassador of Education.
- A top educational design firms, according to ENR Texas-Louisiana
Spencer Allan contributed to this article.