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Foster + Partners tops AJ100 for sixth year in a row

Foster + Partners has retained the top spot in the AJ100 – the annual league table of Britain’s biggest architecture firms – for the six consecutive year

However Norman Foster’s company actually saw a fall in the number of ARB-registered or equivalent architects on its books, from 407 to 383, while its worldwide workforce slipped marginally from 1,445 to 1,435.

And the numbers were collated before the practice announced in April that it was planning to lay off ‘under 100’ staff from the company’s London HQ in Battersea.

At the time Fosters + Partners, which has increased its fee income from £190 million to £191 million since last year, blamed the reduction in its workforce on ‘market uncertainty’ and the completion of a number of major jobs.

As a result, the gap between Fosters and second-placed BDP has shrunk notably. Last year Foster + Partners employed 134 more qualified architects in the UK – now it boasts just 99 more than the 284 on BDP’s roster.  

Meanwhile Zaha Hadid Architects has retained third spot and AHMM has moved back up the table to fourth having slipped down to fifth last year.

Chart toppers aj100 first placed firms 1995 2017 aj100 survey 2017

Chart toppers aj100 first placed firms 1995 2017 aj100 survey 2017

Overall growth among the nation’s largest practices slowed considerably in 2016. Together the 106 practices in this year’s league table – an annual bellwether of the industry’s fortunes – collectively employed 6,853 qualified architects; just 42 more than a year ago.

Numbers had rocketed in the previous three years. The total number of archtects on the payroll of AJ100 firms in 2013 stood at just 4,825.

Number of architects emplayed by aj100 practices aj100 survey 2017

Number of architects emplayed by aj100 practices aj100 survey 2017