23 Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects Last year: =26
Obviously one very sad event has dominated the last 12 months for the Bath-based practice: the sudden death of its founding partner, Richard Feilden in January. Despite this, the firm has continued to grow and has found itself in the second spot in the south-west. It’s fair to say that observers will be surprised by just how big this practice has become without losing its sustainable credentials. Current projects include its proposal for the Derby Quad, which has just won a large injection of cash from the National Lottery.
=24 Swanke Hayden Connell Architects Last year: =44
Like many of the other firms in the AJ100, this company’s success stems from the public sector building boom seen under the Labour government. ‘We have been diversifying from commercial work to university and healthcare work, ’ managing director David Hughes said.
‘There were sectors that we never had any presence in before and that we identified as growing markets.’ Projects completed this year include the Open University New Library and Resource Centre at Milton Keynes. ‘Our key corporate clients have also kept us very busy recently with repeat business. We certainly expect to continue to grow as a result.’
=24 Austin-Smith: Lord Last year: 21
Austin-Smith: Lord is one of the few AJ100 practices that employs the same number of architects in this year’s survey as in the last.
The firm is noted for its regional outlook, with offices in Manchester, Glasgow, Warrington and Cardiff, as well as its London base.
Among projects on the go is the £16 million redevelopment of John Rylands Library in Manchester and the next stage of the renovation of the Victoria Baths in the same city, which won the BBC’s Restoration series in 2003. It will be interesting to see how AustinSmith: Lord’s Welsh operation copes over the next 12 months with the departure of Robert Firth to Capita Percy Thomas.
=26 jmarchitects Last year: 43
This has been a big year for Scotland’s third biggest office. Growth seems to be the name of the game for the firm, which recruited 11 architects and jumped 17 places in the AJ 100. With offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds and London, things look extremely bright for these ambitious Scots.
Projects on the go include the scheme for Donaldson’s College - a brand new facility for a school for the blind.
=26 Scott Brownrigg Last year: =23
Scott Brownrigg - now without the Turner - has had an interesting year, after its decision to absorb the Design Research Unit. This move, like many others in the AJ100, gives the company added credence when discussing the contribution it can make to high-quality architecture. The firm’s core business remains infrastructure, with projects such as the Thames Gateway Bridge with Mott Macdonald, but is also expanding increasingly into other sectors.
28 T P Bennett Last year: 47
This year TP Bennett claims it will increase its turnover by more than 25 per cent, through expansion in the health and education sectors, urban design and town planning, residential, mixed-use developments and major office fitouts. Current schemes include designing over a million square feet of corporate headquarters for Accenture, Johnson & Johnson and IPC Media, as well as redeveloping London’s Guildhall complex and inner-city schools.
=29 RPS Group Re-entry
Planning consultancy RPS - which has an enormous 1,940 staff nationwide - is making a concerted effort to substantially increase its presence in the purely architectural market.
This was illustrated most dramatically in 2004 when it bought last year’s second biggest Midlands practice, Mason Richards. ‘I think RPS is likely to be making some more acquisitions in the next few months, ’ said managing director Graham Cox. ‘There are definitely discussions taking place, but I can’t say any more than that at the moment.’
=29 Hamilton Associates Last year: =26
According to partner Craig Casci, 2004 was a good year for Hamilton Associates, but ‘not as good as 2003’. ‘It has been controlled and steady, ’ he concluded. One of the practice’s principal projects is the Honeypot Lane mixed-use scheme in London’s Stanmore, a development that includes 12,000 residential units. ‘We very rarely do single-use projects these days, it’s all about balanced developments, ’ Casci added.
31 Ryder HKS Last year: =37
A year of consolidation for Ryder HKS after Newcastle-based Ryder merged with the European arm of the North American giant HKS.
According to group chairman Paul Hyett, RIBA past president and ex-AJ columnist, various moves have been afoot to consolidate in London, including a new home in Soho Square, almost next door to the FA headquarters and, most importantly, said Hyett, around the corner from one of the best restaurants in London, the Gay Hussar. On a business level, the new firm, which registers as the biggest in the north-east, is also doing very well in PFI, picking up the best part of £1 billion of healthcare work.
32 Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects Last year: =40
The Islington-based practice, celebrating its 30th birthday, had a good 2004, jumping from 40th to 32nd place, with six more architects than last year. The firm is also notable for having the second highest proportion of women architects of all the companies in the AJ100. Other highlights of the past 12 months included winning a Civic Trust award for Phase Two of its Sefton Park refurbishment project in Liverpool.
=33 TPS Consult Last year: =34
Architects at TPS Consult are part of much more than simply an architectural practice, with its 52 ARB-registrants subsumed in a much larger multidisciplinary construction design practice. But with a total UK fee income across all disciplines of nearly £29 million, this is no small firm. Highlights included a new accommodation block at GCHQ, which was shortlisted for a British Construction Industry Award in the Major Project category. The firm - which counts members of 20 different professional institutions among its staff - was also involved with Foster and Partners’ hugely successful Trafalgar Square scheme.
=33 Architects Design Partnership Last year: =31
A reasonable year for this firm, based in large part on its success in the education sector.
Work in this field includes the renovation and expansion of Denys Lasdun’s University of Sussex and the development of a £3.81 million new sixth-form centre for Collingwood College in Camberley, Surrey, which opened at the beginning of this year. The office also won a Civic Trust Award for its Rossey Park Institute development in Horsham, Surrey.
=33 Rolfe Judd Last year: =31
A consistent year for Rolfe Judd Architects. One the practice’s most interesting projects in 2004 was Salamanca Square, a mixed private and affordable housing scheme on London’s Albert Embankment for Berkeley Homes.
36 Pascall + Watson Last year: =40
The airport and transport specialist will be celebrating its 50th birthday next year and is looking to expand its portfolio of work.
As well as masterminding projects in Italy, Montenegro, India and the Middle East, the practice has set up an office in Ireland and is hoping to open up a new branch in Manchester. The massive Terminal 5 scheme at Heathrow continues to be the practice’s largest job; however, Pascall + Watson is also involved in the £400 million St Pancras Station redevelopment, the Wembley Park Station scheme and the new London Metropolitan University science centre project.
37 Kohn Pederson Fox Associates Last year: =34
This has been a funny year for KPF’s London office, and has seen it slip slightly down the rankings, but never step out of the headlines.
The primary reason for this is the office’s continued involvement with Thornfield Properties over the redevelopment of a chunk of the west end of London’s Smithfield Meat Market complex. While this has been a contentious subject, attracting the interest of everyone from the local meat traders to the Prince of Wales, it has probably been a healthy fee winner. Talking of which, KPF had the second highest fee income through competition-winning projects during 2004.
=38 Carey Jones Architects Last year: =50
Carey Jones, the second biggest employer of architects in the north-east, has jumped 13 places in this year’s AJ100, with an increase of seven architects. Projects in Leeds include the East Bank scheme and a 30-storey, £30 million proposal for a residential scheme called Mayfair in the city’s west end.
=38 Richard Rogers Partnership Last year: =37
Rogers’ practice is just about to complete its largest project to date - the new one million sq m terminal building at Barajas Airport in Madrid. Work is also continuing on Heathrow’s Terminal 5, the Welsh Assembly and the new law court building in Antwerp, which is set to open its doors in September and was designed in collaboration with Belgian architect VK Studio. With a major mixed-use development in Yoido, Korea, now under way, a wave of new recruitment at the practice looks likely.
RRP is also aiming to increase the number of female architects employed at the firm to 35 per cent within the next two to five years, and is already looking into introducing flexible working practices.
40 Cooper Cromar Last year: 46
The fourth biggest practice in Scotland has had a year to remember, with a far higher profile than ever before. This, in large part, was down to the 39-storey Eliphinstine Place in Glasgow, which has just won planning permission. Other projects of note include the 300 residential unit competition-winning Glasgow Harbour scheme. However, partner Alan Stark insisted that the office has never sought publicity. ‘We tend to get on with building rather than enter awards, ’ he said.
=41 Charter Architects Last year: =53
The largely East Anglian-based practice has jumped 12 places in the last 12 months. With a project range totalling over £500 million, the firm picked up the Homes for Life Gold Award in 2004 for its Port Marine Fisherman’s Village.
=41 Stephen George & Partners Last year: =50
This company is the third biggest in the Midlands, with more than 100 fulltime employees. Projects to come in the forthcoming year will include student housing, mixed-use residential and commercial developments, and new village developments.
43 Ruddle Wilkinson Last year: =58
A great year for Peterborough and Londonbased Ruddle Wilkinson, which has seen it motoring up the AJ100 league table. This leap must surely have been fuelled by a 42 per cent increase in fee income on the previous 12 months, causing the value to top £2 million.
The company’s strategic decision to focus on top-quality design was backed up by the appointment of Robert Keefe, previously of Sheppard Robson, as design director.
44 CDA Last year: 48
CDA - otherwise known as Comprehensive Design Architects - is a largely Edinburghbased firm with a small London presence. The office, which is the fifth biggest north of the border, has maintained its complement of 42 architects, but has dropped back four places on last year’s AJ100.
=45 DLG Architects
The London and Leeds-based firm has jumped up 23 places. ‘It has been a really successful year, ’ senior partner Tony Walker said. ‘We have reached a mature stage for a series of projects.’ These include the £100 million mixed-use Quarry Hill development in Leeds.
=45 Fletcher Priest Architects Last year: =53
Fletcher Priest has had a wildly successful year, having picked up planning permission for the massive £3.5 billion Stratford City masterplan, which it jointly devised with Arup Associates.
Surely this work - part of one of the biggest planning applications ever seen in the capital - has helped catapult the firm up the AJ100.
Another significant scheme is Derwent Valley’s Telstar House, opposite Brunel’s Paddington Station in London.
=47 Devereux Architects Last year: 56
The achievement of this practice exemplifies the success currently being experienced by offices focusing on healthcare in the UK. A jump of nine places shows that profit can be found in public sector work. The company - which has recently entered an alliance with Lacey Hickie and Caley in the West Country - is keen to expand its work in education; a strategy illustrated by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. ‘We are interested in working in all areas of higher education, ’ the firm’s Nicholas Allen said, ‘particularly as the selection processes are so rigorous.’
=47 Squire and Partners Last year: =31
A slower year for the King’s Cross-based firm that has seen it drop 16 places from 2003.
Michael Squire admits as much himself. ‘It has been an incredibly active and dynamic year, ’ he said. ‘But the truth of the matter was that the three very large projects we were working on over the past two years have all now completed. This amounted to £500 million of work that has finished.’ However, Squire has been picking up a healthy batch of work in recent months, including a couple of limited competition wins, so expect the office to be back in the mix in 2006.
=47 Terry Farrell & Partners Last year: =26
In January 2005, Farrell completed work on the Home Office Headquarters in Westminster - the first new landmark government building to be built in London for nearly 10 years. Farrell is currently working on the design of Biota! - a world-class visitor attraction. This is a largescale aquarium, central to overall plans for the regeneration of the Thames Gateway. Farrell continues to advocate the need for a coherent vision for the remaking of the Thames Gateway, and ideas for the creation of a new National Park are gaining momentum. His practice is also enjoying success in the Far East, leading a number of ongoing commissions from its Hong Kong office in sectors including transportation, education, retail and residential.
=50 Wilkinson Eyre Architects Last year: =84
A fantastic year for the double Stirling Prizewinner, which culminated in an opening of its Venice Biennale exhibition ‘Reflections’ at the Wapping Project in east London. The office has jumped spectacularly from joint 84th place in last year’s AJ100 to joint 50th this time round.
There is also no lack of confidence; the practice estimates that its fee income will rise by 75 per cent in the next 12 months.