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Foster + Partners pulls away from rivals to top AJ100 once again

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With 290 ARB-registered architects on its payroll, Fosters is now almost a third bigger than any of its UK competitors

Foster + Partners has increased its lead over its nearest rivals in taking the top spot in the AJ100 league table for the third year in a row.

In the past 12 months Norman Foster’s company has significantly widened the gap over its nearest rival, BDP, which is based on the number of qualified architects employed.

The global powerhouse now boasts 290 ARB-registered architects, putting it 87 architects ahead of the second-placed practice. In 2013 the lead was just 45. Despite writing down the value of the business by £129.4 million and parting company with chief executive Mouzhan Majidi earlier this year, the practice is now almost a third bigger than any of its competitors in terms of architects employed.

The total fee income paid into the practice’s UK office – £130 million – makes up a staggering 41 per cent of the combined total of all of the companies in the top 10. Norman Foster’s domination of the UK architecture world was underlined last week by his appearance in the Sunday Times Rich List – the only architect to appear in 2014.

Meanwhile, Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) continues its unrelenting rise up the table, muscling into third spot. The practice has swept up a raft of major competition wins, predominantly in the capital, including the commission for the Metropolitan Police’s new headquarters. The practice was just 18th in the table in 2012. AHMM now employees 122 architects and the practice saw its annual turnover balloon by a third for the second consecutive year (it now stands at £24.2 million).

There were impressive performances from Scottish outfit Keppie (=20th), which has added 24 ARB-registered architects, and Allies and Morrison (8th), with 18 more architects than last year.

Stanton Williams (=48th) enjoyed a 53 per cent surge in fee earnings – up from £4.1 million to £6.2 million – and a 50 per cent increase in its number of architects from 26 to 39.

BDP (2nd), Pascall+Watson (30th) and 3DReid (28th) lost the most architects over the year, with at least 18 fewer UK-based ARB-registered architects in 2014 than last year.

The total number of architects working for AJ100 companies is up by more than 3 per cent. The 93 practices that were AJ100 members last year and again this year now collectively employ 147 more ARB-registered UK-based architects.

Fifty-nine practices have added ARB-registered architects, with more than a dozen adding at least 10.

Overall staff numbers are also growing. This year’s AJ100 practices employ 38,600 people altogether, 3,000 up on last year.

Tributes to Foster + Partners

Stephen Hodder, RIBA President:
”Exemplary design quality, rigorous attention to detail, consistent delivery, and demonstrable leadership; four reasons why Foster + Partners are successful…and four aspirational qualities for the architectural profession’.

Hanif Kara, AKTII
‘Foster + Partners has simultaneously figured out the business of design, and the design of a business. The practice has the ability to be relevant; consistent and ubiquitous while balancing its performance with reliability and validity, delivering projects with aplomb.’

Foster + Partners' The Skyline Roof Garden at Battersea Power Station

Foster + Partners’ The Skyline Roof Garden at Battersea Power Station

Number one AJ100 practices (1995 - 2014)

2014 Foster + Partners
2013 Foster + Partners
2012 Foster + Partners
2011 BDP
2010 BDP
2009 Atkins
2008 BDP
2007 BDP
2006 BDP
2005 BDP
2004 BDP
2003 BDP
2002 BDP
2001 BDP
2000 Sheppard Robson
1999 BDP
1998 BDP
1997 RMJM
1996 RMJM
1995 BDP


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