=87 ORMS Designers & Architects Last year: =84
Despite a small drop this year, ORMS' managing director Ahmet Huseyin remains upbeat about his Clerkenwell-based office's future. 'Things are going very well, ' he said. 'The practice has won planning permission for a 25-storey tower on Bishopsgate and we have masterplanning projects in Ireland and in France.'
=87 Fitzroy Robinson Last year: =74
An extraordinary 2004 for this London-based office has seen it take part in one of the biggest mergers the British architectural firmament has seen for years. The deal - which saw it join forces with the troubled Aukett to become Aukett Fitzroy Robinson - has now completed, but too late for the AJ100 deadline.
As an independent company, it dropped six architects and fell 13 places.
=87 S&P Architects & Interior Designers Last year: =74
In spite of a hefty fall down the AJ100 table, 2004 has been an extremely memorable year for S&P Architects. The reason? The office is the lesser known half of the architectural team designing the Olympic Swimming Complex in east London with Zaha Hadid. The office is certainly pleased to be involved with the project. 'This is the most excited I've ever been about anything, ever, ' director Peter Simpson enthused. 'Its brilliant.'
=90 Michael Laird Architects Last year: =95
A steady year in the lower echelons of the AJ100 for this Edinburgh-based office, the eighth biggest practice north of the border.
Projects expected to keep the firm busy in the next few months include Edinburgh Quay, a £60 million mixed-use development at the eastern terminus of the restored Union Canal.
=90 Halsall Lloyd Partnership Last year: =90
Absolutely none of the statistics for this Liverpool, Preston, Nottingham, Newcastle and Leominster multidisciplinary firm have changed since last year's AJ100. Halsall Lloyd is a steady ship, it would seem.
=92 Lyons Sleeman Hoare Last year: =82
Largely known as a retail specialist, this Hampshire office claims to be breaking away from the restraints of shopping projects. 'You cannot just be a retail architect anymore, ' the practice's Anthony Smitt said. 'These days you have to break out into other areas as well.' The practice is, however, still retained to do fit-outs for Marks & Spencer's existing stores.
=92 Paul Davis & Partners Last year: =78
The London-based firm has dropped 14 places since last year's AJ 100, but has begun a major recruitment drive to fulfil 'a substantially growing national and international workload of diverse projects'. Among them is a large mixed-use scheme in London's Docklands, a new 46-storey residential skyscraper in Hong Kong and the conversion of a former Red Cross headquarters in central London. Over the past 12 months the practice has completed the overhaul of the Grade-I listed Cadogan Hall - which is now a 900-seat concert hall for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - the 26-storey Grosvenor Place tower in Hong Kong, and a mixed-use scheme in London's Sloane Square, which features the longest spanning structural glass beams in Europe.
=94 Architects Co-Partnership Last year: 100
This Hertfordshire-based firm, which has a distinguished pedigree, has climbed a few places this time round, and now looks to be a serious player. Last year it was the very last of the AJ100.
=94 SOM Last year: 25
An abysmal year has seen the London office of this massive multinational suffer an extraordinary loss of architects. One widely reported reason for this dramatic slide was that its much-vaunted proposals for a new NATO headquarters building were put on hold. Its problems were compounded last autumn when Larry Oltmanns, very much the public face of the office, mysteriously left the firm. The practice now appears to be back on track, with a major planning application being submitted for a large office building on London's Bishopsgate. There is also a new management structure in place in London, including people who claim the firm is committed to the UK market. SOM also now reports that design work is recommencing at the NATO building.
But don't hold your breath, as the massive international organisation must be the ultimate multi-headed client. The official line is that the future of SOM's London base is now safe? 96 Pick Everard Last year: =93 It has been a reasonable year for this architecture and engineering firm, which has seen it turn its sights on the public sector. 'We are targeting education across the board, ' said business development manager Pick Everard.
97 Parsons Brinckerhoff Last year: =95
This huge multidisciplinary international firm straddles the entire globe, with more than 8,000 employees. It also maintains impressive coverage in the UK, with offices in London, Newcastle, Chester, Manchester, Glasgow, Godalming and Cardiff.
! =98 David Morley Architects New Entry
There is, perhaps surprisingly, much more to this practice than cricket academies. However, there is still a perception that this is all it does, probably perpetuated by sports-mad news journalists. 'There is a lot happening in sport, leisure and university sectors, ' David Morley said. 'But we are also branching out into more commercial fields.' So there you go, not just a leather-and-willow practice. Having said this, the sport sector is still very important to the firm. Perhaps Morley's highest profile scheme of 2004 was the continuing work on the design of a surprisingly uncontentious 'Multi-sport Hub' in Regents Park, which will provide new facilities for central London neighbourhoods.
! =98 Associated Architects New Entry
It has been a very positive 12 months for one of the West Midlands' best known designfocused practices, which has seen Birminghambased Associated Architects make its first appearance in the AJ100. 'This really was a good year, ' managing director Paul Lister said.
'We have picked up a lot of repeat business.' Other notable achievements for the practice included getting onto the Birmingham Schools Framework Agreement, which will allow it to take part in work on other sectors, including commerical development and masterplanning.
Perhaps its most successful building of 2004 was a new theatre for the Queen Mary School, a project that picked up one of Yorkshire's much sought-after White Rose Awards.
100 Stubbs Rich Architects Last year: =98
Stubbs Rich has dropped a couple of places this year, but just managed to hold onto a spot at the top table. 'Things have all been going well for us, ' director John Rich said.
'It's just that 2003 was an exceptional year.' Currently the office is consolidating its work in masterplanning while also setting its sights on the booming healthcare market.