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RYDERHKS =37 48 15% Already the largest practice in the North East, Ryder merged with US giant HKS in June to form a mega-practice, with 291 qualified architects worldwide and headquarters in Newcastle and Dallas. It is about to open an office in London's Soho, which will focus heavily on UK markets. New commissions include five school projects, a proposal for the redevelopment of the former shipbuilding works in South Shields (pictured) and the £330 million New Staffordshire Hospital - healthcare projects make up about 35 per cent of the company's workload.

Rank 2003 =52 Number of architects 2003 39

GMW PARTNERSHIP =40 47 19% GMW employs 120 people in total and is a founding member of European Architects Alliance, with links to 30 practices and 500 staff.Current projects include a 100,000m 2retail and leisure development north of Paris; a 15,000-seat national indoor arena in Copenhagen; and a mixed-use development in central Birmingham (pictured). It was recently appointed to the £150 million regeneration of Ilford town centre's Unity Square and is working on airports in Moscow, Kiev, Tirana and Turkey - the company has a subsidiary office in Istanbul.

Rank 2003 =34 Number of architects 2003 47

PASCALL + WATSON =40 47 11% Pascall + Watson is working on airport projects in Naples, Stansted, Birmingham and Heathrow Terminal 5 and ongoing work for London Underground. 'Our success comes from constantly evolving, 'says managing director Phil Holden. 'We're thinking about initiatives in modular construction whereby contractors and consultants work together to produce products for clients. We're looking at building a pier off-site at the moment; perhaps even airports one day.'

Rank 2003 =42 Number of architects 2003 44

POLLARD THOMAS & EDWARDS =40 47 45% With the largest percentage of female staff of any AJ100 practice, PTE says that it does not excercise positive discrimination but that 'there appears to be a certain inevitability that the high proportion of women encourages other female applicants'. Last year 41 per cent of job applications were from females, whereas women make up just 14 per cent of architects across the UK. The practice recently gained planning permission for a youth housing project in Bethnal Green and for the refurbishment of the Grade II-listed Brockwell Lido. It is also working on a prototype to build flats on top of a new primary school. It has opened a Liverpool office to coincide with the start of Phase 2 of a remodelling and refurbishment of two tower blocks overlooking the Grade II-listed Sefton Park.

Rank 2003 =49 Number of architects 2003 40

JMARCHITECTS 43 46 22% The third largest Scottish practice, jmarchitects has five offices, with education, healthcare, retail and end-user occupancy and housing making up about 70 per cent of the workload. Major PFI projects include work for the Glasgow Schools programme, a LIFT initiative in St Helens and Princes Exchange in Edinburgh. 'PFI is changing, designers are leading the way and even councils are coming out with exemplar designs, ' says managing director Peter Bowman.' Architects should be braver in what they commit to, and what they turn down.'

Rank 2003 =49 Number of architects 2003 40

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