Shanghai Tower

Image courtesy Gensler

Gensler's Shanghai Tower

For the third consecutive year, Gensler holds its position as the biggest architecture firm as judged by revenue from architectural design work last year. In 2013 Gensler reported just over $883 million, up $76 million from the previous year, as noted by RECORD’s sister publication Engineering News-Record. (Combined total architectural revenue from the Top 300 firms increased from $10.01 billion to $11.20 billion.)

With more than 40 offices worldwide – including growing construction markets in China and Indonesia – it’s no surprise that almost a quarter of Gensler’s net revenue came from international sources. Gensler CEO Andy Cohen cited the firm’s ability to consistently provide design solutions to clients who operate in an “increasingly interconnected and global world.” Recent projects include a new hotel and transit center at Denver International Airport (slated for completion in 2015) and the Abu Dhabi Financial Centre on Al Maryah Island (currently under construction).

Second and third place firms, CH2M HILL and AECOM Technology Corp., switched places from last year’s rankings. Another two of the top 10 firms, both of which work primarily in architecture, made recent acquisitions of other firms. In March, Perkins+Will (ranked #5) announced it would acquire the The Freelon Group of Durham, North Carolina, and its 40 employees. In December, HOK (ranked #8) announced it would acquire the Shanghai and New York City offices of hospitality and interiors-specialized BBG-BBGM. While HOK is an architecture and engineering firm, it also shares BBG-BBGM’s focus on interior design. The Washington, D.C., offices of BBG-BBGM will continue as BBGM.

Success stories include Kansas City-based Populous. In 2014 alone the firm saw the successful opening of its Fabergé egg-inspired stadium in Sochi, Russia, and its World Cup Arena das Dunas stadium in Natal, Brazil. The firm also announced it would design the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium and a downtown Miami soccer stadium. Populous’ revenue leaped from almost $84 million in 2012 to $111 million in 2013. Also experiencing a large increase in revenue, and jumping from #66 to #36, was Chicago-based Solomon Cordwell Buenz. The firm’s revenue nearly doubled from $31 million to just short of $55 million.

While no firms sank significantly in the rankings, HKS Inc. did fall three positions, likely due to its extensive work in healthcare architecture. Healthcare construction spending has slowed in recent years thanks to pessimism on the part of health care providers in regards to future growth.

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