=50 Ellis Williams Architects Last year: =37
The north-west's biggest practice is on bullish form. The company certainly shows no lack of confidence, believing that its fee income is set to jump by 35 per cent in the next 12 months - so expect to see it soar in next year's AJ 100.
According to its website, the firm has spent its past 'preparing for its future?' Watch out, they're coming to get you.
=52 Hunter & Partners Last year: =58
Hunter & Partners has increased its position slightly this year. However, the Colchesterbased multidisciplinary firm will have to go some way to making up the ground it lost in 2003, when it slipped 23 places.
=52 Donald Insall Associates Last year: 57
One of the few conservation architects to make it onto the top table, Donald Insall Associates has continued to grow over the past year. Its London office has expanded and taken new drawing space.
=54 Purcell Miller Tritton Last year: =84
Following the merger with Martin Stancliffe Architects, Purcell Miller Tritton claims it is now the UK's largest conservation practice, despite falling below Donald Insall Associates in this year's AJ100. During the past year, the firm polished off the restoration of the Grade I-listed Danson House in Bexley, Hawksmoor's Christ Church in Spitalfields and the west front of St Paul's Cathedral. The practice is also developing a portfolio of museum schemes, including the Time and Tide Museum in Great Yarmouth.
=54 Hopkins Architects Last year: 68
2004 was a good year for this high-profile London signature office. Significant completions since the last AJ100 include the Wellcome Trust building on the Euston Road and the Evelina Children's Hospital at Guy's and St Thomas' in London. One of its forthcoming projects is the competition-winning Forestry & Environmental Studies Faculty building at Yale University, and this firm has the fourth highest fee income from competition-winning projects.
=56 Barton Willmore Last year: =65
There's no lack of confidence from Barton Willmore, a planning and property consultancy that has climbed a few places this year.
According to the company's marketing literature, it is 'the leading planning, regeneration and design consultancy in the UK'. What's life without ambition, eh?
=56 David Chipperfield Architects Last year: 55
A quiet year for Chipperfield, although the brilliant London and Berlin-based practice has managed to pretty much hold onto its position.
Close to completion are schemes such as the office's EMV Madrid housing development, while the competition-winning Museum of Alaska in Anchorage is expected to start on site later this year. Other forthcoming highlights could also include a museum in Warsaw celebrating the 800-year history of Poland's Jewish community - a scheme for which Chipperfield has now been shortlisted. 'We are really concentrating on building buildings at the moment, ' partner Paul Crosby said. 'And there are a few of these that should complete in the next year.' Watch this space.
=56 GMW Architects Last year: =40
Not a great year for GMW Architects, as the practice now employs 11 fewer architects than it did at the last count. However, its commitment to designing regional airports in the Chinese market ought to see the west London office bounce back a little over the coming 12 months.
=59 John McAslan + Partners Last year: =93
An extraordinary jump has seen McAslan catapulted from joint 93rd place last year to joint 59th this time round. The west London firm has taken on some unusual projects, such as a feasibility study into the Marble Arch junction, including the possibility of moving the iconic structure to a completely new location. The practice has also won an engineering-led competition to redevelop Birmingham's appalling eyesore, New Street station, a project originally undertaken by Will Alsop. A large number of schemes currently on the go suggest that the only way is likely to be up for McAslan during the rest of 2005. The firm takes home the third highest income from competition-winning jobs.
=59 RH Partnership Architects Last year: =68
October 2004 saw the Cambridge and Brighton practice celebrate its 30th birthday in the Dining Hall at New Hall, Cambridge - a refurbishment project that the partnership had finished two years before. Last year, RH began renovation work on Denys Lasdun's iconic ziggurats at the University of East Anglia.
=59 Hawkins\Brown Last year: =65
An interesting year for Hawkins\Brown culminated in the revelation that the Shoreditch office would take on the potentially contentious renovation of Sheffield's Brutalist masterpiece, the Park Hill Estate. Other schemes picked up during the past 12 months include a new mixed civic and cultural centre for Corby in the Midlands.
=59 The Parr Partnership Last year: =58
An extremely stable year for Scotland's sixth biggest practice, but no change in the number of architects represented a one-place drop in the AJ100 rankings.
=63 Jestico + Whiles Last year: =82
Moving swiftly up the AJ100, Jestico + Whiles has had a busy year. The firm has been immersed in three new city academies and has won two major housing schemes - one near Canary Wharf at Limehouse Cut, and one at Royal Quay - and is also now on-site with a housing scheme at Gray's Inn. There are four other major projects for housing associations, including a large and interesting low-rise, mixed-use scheme on Kingsland Road in Hackney, east London. Jestico + Whiles has also recently won three Hilton Hotels. Meanwhile, the firm's Prague office is working on leisure and hotel projects in Bratislava, Prague and Moscow, and the company is expanding into Asia and India.
=63 Bond Bryan Partnership Last year: =74
This Sheffield-based practice is notable for the fact that it has occupied the Crookes Congregational Church since1989 and also that it has successfully increased its income from architectural fees by 40 per cent.
=63 Grimshaw Last year: =58
It is surprising that Grimshaw has dropped a place on last year, given the vast spectrum of work being undertaken by the London architect. A highlight for Nicholas Grimshaw himself was his election to the top spot at the Royal Academy. And for the practice, schemes such as the Dubai tower, skilfully weaving tradition with technology, and the Fulton Street Transit Center in New York, will provide high points for the year ahead.
=66 Penoyre & Prasad Last year: =65
London-based Penoyre & Prasad has had a steady year, neither recruiting more architects nor changing position dramatically in the AJ100. However, the firm's bosses will have experienced frustration that its attempt to win small-scale PFI work has failed to bear any fruit. One scheme to look out for in the coming months will be a largely residential masterplan in Gravesend, Kent.
=66 Sidell Gibson Architects Last year: =58
A pattern of decline is emerging here. In 2003 the firm was 35th; in 2004 it was joint 58th; and, despite talk of 14 architects to be taken on last year, they weren't, and 2005 sees another drop.
=66 Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo Last year: =58
The international firm has had a mixed year in the UK, one that has seen it slide a little down the chart. However, highlights have included a new Emirates Palace in the Middle East.
=66 HLM Architects Last year: 49
A year of sensible consolidation for HLM after a management buy-out following the financial collapse of its American parent company HLM Design. The directors say this period is now over and the rest of 2005 promises steady expansion.
=70 YRM Architects Planners Designers Last year: =80
Things are looking up for YRM, with continuing work for British Airways at Heathrow, along with health and tertiary education projects.
The John Radcliffe Emergency Department received the 2004 Best Designed Hospital Award, while the Brunel 'Gateway' Health Sciences building has just started on site.
=70 GHM Consultancy Group Last year: =78
The GHM Consultancy - the group that includes GHM Rock Townsend, the practice of past RIBA president David Rock - has had a good year. Nothing, however, has matched its performance in 2003, when it won 'Best of the Best' at BCO Annual Awards for its new offices for the Pentland Group in Finchley.
=70 Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson Last year: =74
This has been something of a stabilising 12 months for the Sheffield-based multidisciplinary office, after a fairly drastic slide last time round, when the firm slipped from 32nd place to 74th. But there is now reason for optimism, according to partner Nigel Morley. 'All the sectors are strong at the moment, which is why we are optimistic, ' he said. 'We are starting on site with several big projects and things are looking up.'
73 Taylor Young Last year: =84
The past 12 months have seen Taylor Young jump 11 places - an increase that has put the Cheshire practice at number two in the northwest. In 2004, the office completed Deane Tower for the Bolton Institute - which entailed the wholesale overhaul of the existing 1960s tower block.
! =74 Holder Mathias Architects Re-entry
A rise in the number of architects has seen this firm surge to the top spot in Wales. The highpoint of the year for the practice has been winning the job with Piers Gough to design the first phase of Will Alsop's Barnsley masterplan.
! =74 Michael Aukett Architects New Entry
One issue that has dominated the interest of the press in this office is Michael Aukett's ongoing council-backed planning application for the highly controversial Croydon Gateway scheme. However, other business for the firm must be good, since it has recruited 15 architects, doubling its registered manpower.
A very impressive new entry.
! =74 NPS Property Consultants New Entry
NPS - also known as Norwich Property Services - has had a successful year, growing from just 16 architects to 30 in 12 months. There firm is the eighth fastest grower in terms of the number of architects it employs. And the company's bosses certainly expect this to continue; they have predicted that they will take on 55 more architects in 2005.
=74 HTA Architects Last year: =90
For London-based HTA Architects - Ben Derbyshire's practice - 2005 represents a threeyear high watermark. Last year, the office was joint 90th, and before that it was 87th. The firm's focus remains very much on community architecture, and it has regeneration projects dotted all over the country.
=74 Lewis & Hickey Last year: =26
Lewis and Hickey has suffered what can only be described as a very disappointing slide.
However, the firm's boss, Tim Hall, remains upbeat about the potential in the year ahead.
'We are making progress and I'm definitely seeing the office market coming back, ' he says.
Additionally, Hall maintains business was good, and it boasts long-term retail clients such as Marks & Spencer and Habitat, while the office has just reached a framework agreement with the Office of Government Commerce.
! =79 John Thompson & Partners Re-entry
John Thompson & Partners has had a very good year, perhaps inspired by the increasing acceptance of new urbanism and design codes - ideas that Thompson has long espoused in his work with the Prince of Wales. One of the highlights of the past 12 months for the practice was winning a project to design a massive new urban quarter on the outskirts of Moscow, but the firm has also been busy working on a variety of other projects over the year, including a private design coding exercise in Cirencester. The practice has also expanded its office in Edinburgh.
=79 Oxford Architects Last year: =68
This practice - unsurprisingly based in Oxford, in addition to having offices in London and Bristol - has dropped a few places in the past 12 months, but is still enjoying a relatively successful period. It works in an eclectic group of fields, ranging from defence work to medical, commercial and healthcare.
=81 Atkins Walters Webster Last year: =95
The third biggest practice in the south-west, Atkins Walters Webster has become rather notorious over the last year for employing absolutely no female architects. This situation is now being remedied - four staff members are part-qualified women, likely to boost the practice's ratio imminently. Among the current workload is a £2 million scheme to completely overhaul and extend one of Bristol's longestrunning comedy clubs, Jesters.
=81 Levitt Bernstein Associates Last year: 89
From one extreme to the other. Levitt Bernstein has the highest ratio of women of all the top 100, with an astonishing 50 per cent. How this is possible remains unclear - one explanation could be a positive discrimination recruitment policy. Other than that, it has been a fairly average year for the firm, featuring the addition of just one architect. Completions included the award-winning Pimlico Village, a mixed-use scheme on a tight site including private and social housing over a supermarket.
! =83 Seymour Harris Architects Re-entry
Another re-entry, Seymour Harris has offices in London, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham and Cardiff.
With 26 architects throughout these locations, could the practice - which claims to specialise in difficult inner city sites - now be firmly ensconced back in the AJ100?
=83 Acanthus Lawrence & Wrightson Last year: =90
A small jump for this Chiswick-based practice, which is part of the Acanthus network of practices set up by RIBA president George Ferguson. The firm - which works largely on transport and 'lifestyle housing' - is currently working on a housing scheme called Centrium for Barratt in Woking.
=83 Feilden + Mawson Last year: =84
This firm has been catapulted from relative regional obscurity to national prominence in the past few months, after the announcement that it has won the job to oversee the transformation of the Middlesex Guildhall into the UK's new Supreme Court. This project - which is being designed in conjunction with Foster and Partners - should keep the practice busy for the next year or two.
=83 Gensler Last year: =80
Nothing much has changed for Gensler over the past 12 months. The London office of this international firm has not had such a high-profile year as the one it experienced in 2003, when it opened its extraordinary GCHQ building. However, it was in 2004 when the awards for the spy centre came flooding in, including the presentation of the Special Judges Award at the British Construction Industry Awards 2004.