In the summer of 2007, two large American architecture firms made news when they announced they were being sold to larger European firms. The 1,000-person RTKL was acquired by 11,500-person Dutch environmental and infrastructure engineering giant Arcadis. And, 350-person Hillier by 750-person Scottish architecture firm RMJM. Why are these firms selling? And why now? Do these moves represent a trend, and if so, what is its significance for the rest of the U.S. architecture profession?
RTKL and Hillier ranked eighth and 25th, respectively, in the 2006 Top 150 Architecture Firms [record, June 2007, page 71] list, compiled by architectural record’s sister publication, Engineering News Record. The firms’ change in ownership follows that of 61st-ranked, formerly 100-person Davis Brody Bond, which joined the 1,700-person British-based architecture firm Aedas in 2006.