Most lists of top architecture firms are nothing more than a straight-up ranking of top revenue-producers. Not the ARCHITECT 50. Now in its fifth year, the program aspires to much more: A qualitative look at how firms stack up across a broad range of categories, from business to sustainability to design. We consider net revenue per employee, profits invested in research, and energy-efficiency metrics (how well firms are meeting the AIA’s 2030 challenge, for instance). To measure design excellence, we asked firms for the first time to submit project portfolios, and had an esteemed panel of judges score them. The result? This year’s list features perennial heavyweights such as Skidmore, Owings & Merill, but also design darlings like John Ronan and Julie Snow. Paul Murdoch Architects showed that small firms can compete with big multinationals.

Below, you'll find information the overall Number 1 winner and a sortable version of the rankings for the overall Top 50 firms.

You'll find the overall Business category winner and the Top 50 firms in the Business category here, the overall Sustainability category winner and the Top 50 firms in the Sustainability category here, and the overall Design category winner and the Top 50 firms in the Design category here. Delve into some other relevant data and insights here.

Check out our survey's methodology here. Don’t be afraid to tell us what you think.


WRNS Studio
San Francisco 
Overall Score: 300.00
Rank in Each Category:  
• Business: 11th
• Sustainability: 4th
• Design: 7th

Last year was, without question, a good one for WRNS Studio. The 60-person firm had one of the highest net-revenue-per-employee numbers in this year’s survey, but it was the breadth and execution of projects, combined with a strong commitment to sustainability and design excellence, that earned WRNS the overall top ranking. Firm partner Bryan Shiles, AIA, credits the success, in part, to a diversity of typology. “We did well through the recession and last year because our client base is so broad,” he says. “We have a robust education and institutional portfolio on one hand, and on the other, we built Adobe, which has been very good in terms of leveraging our cache in the high-tech world.”

The project for Adobe Systems—a new 280,000-square-foot office building that opened last fall in Lehi, Utah—was the first time the firm tackled a high-tech facility for a Fortune 500 company.

For a transit center located near Lake Tahoe, Calif., WRNS used the metaphor of a boat hull to create a warm, wood interior evocative of the area’s natural and recreational history. “The key to our firm is that we find ways to craft authentic conversations in a lot of contexts,” Shiles says.

The design judges noted this careful design approach: “The disposition of each project, particularly through its materiality and form, captures and addresses the specific environment and program, resulting in a delightfully variegated portfolio.”

WRNS has signed on for both Public Architecture’s 1% program and the AIA’s 2030 challenge. “We almost don’t talk about sustainability anymore because it’s just what we do,” Shiles says. “Research and hard data is just embedded in our design process.”


Rank Firm Name Score Business Rank Sustainability Rank Design Rank
1 WRNS Studio 300.00 11 4 7
2 CO Architects 292.45 4 8 11
3 Westlake Reed Leskosky 281.72 6 5 43
4 William Rawn Associates 276.94 9 12 21
5 Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects 268.65 2 6 96
6 Payette 262.09 41 19 5
7 Architectural Resources Cambridge 258.76 69 3 31
8 THA Architecture 257.99 62 11 14
9 NBBJ 251.00 7 33 35
10 Lake|Flato Architects 250.96 54 2 82
11 Clark Nexsen 250.64 28 22 25
12 Skidmore Owings & Merrill 249.53 8 38 30
13 EYP Architecture & Engineering 247.10 29 9 67
14 Miller Hull Partnership 246.84 84 14 12
15 HOK 244.68 16 34 34
16 Fentress Architects 243.42 18 16 56
17 SmithGroupJJR 243.41 86 23 6
18 Perkins+Will 239.04 30 30 37
19 DLR Group 236.64 37 17 54
20 Eskew+Dumez+Ripple 236.37 20 42 38
21 Cambridge Seven Associates 233.46 3 67 48
22 SRG Partnership 231.65 78 10 64
23 Richärd+Bauer Architecture 231.48 127 31 2
24 ZGF Architects 231.27 63 35 24
25 KPF 230.88 17 40 60
26 Studios Architecture 230.59 25 20 81
27 Ennead Architects 230.22 21 70 23
28 Leddy Maytum Stacy 228.98 143 1 44
29 Mark Cavagnero Associates 227.70 35 21 80
30 LMN Architects 225.53 51 60 15
31 Sasaki Associates 224.13 48 44 40
32 LPA 223.73 31 15 98
33 Meyers and Associates 222.36 32 7 129
34 John Ronan Architects 221.39 125 46 3
35 Hickok Cole Architects 221.10 5 76 65
36 Cannon Design 221.03 49 50 28
37 Ross Barney Architects 216.71 77 61 18
38 Julie Snow Architects 213.30 90 53 20
39 Ballinger 213.13 50 25 88
40 RNL Design 212.36 87 13 93
41 H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture 211.95 26 114 9
42 ELS Architecture and Urban Design 211.79 60 39 68
43 Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle 211.11 65 68 26
44 FxFowle Architects 211.02 27 71 52
45 NAC | Architecture 209.54 108 18 63
46 Tate Snyder Kimsey 207.88 85 27 71
47 BAR Architects 207.04 14 43 115
48 Ann Beha Architects 206.65 24 93 27
49 Goettsch Partners 204.94 38 29 111
50 Paul Murdoch Architects 203.17 58 32 99

See all the ARCHITECT 50 results here.