Billings, client satisfaction, and awards are three ways an architecture firm might measure success. Being named among the best places to work is another.

In September, Chicago-based consulting and research group ZweigWhite announced the results of its first-ever “best architecture firm to work for” survey, which focused on work environment and design opportunities for employees.

Topping the list of 20: Cincinnati-based FRCH Design Worldwide; Little, in Charlotte, N.C.; and Bloodgood Sharp Buster Architects & Planners, in West Des Moines, Iowa.

ZweigWhite principal Laura Rothman says the company has been conducting similar surveys of engineering firms for several years. Earlier this year, she says, ZweigWhite added architecture firms to the mix in preparation for its third annual Best Firm to Work for Summit, held in September.

The electronic questionnaire—which was announced to the several thousand firms in ZweigWhite's database as well as through a press release—comprised a corporate survey and an employee survey, says Rothman. Firms that completed the corporate part were provided a link through which employees could respond to the second part. At least 20 percent of a firm's employees had to respond for the firm to be added to the results.

In the end, 60 architecture firms and more than 4,000 employees were included in the final tally. Each firm will receive a copy of its responses to both portions of the questionnaire, Rothman says. The document will also show how the responses compared with those of the other 59 firms.