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Gritty Optimism in Global Architecture


U.S.-based architecture firms are carefully growing their international practices outside the country even as their domestic growth has stalled or contracted.

While uncertainty hangs heavily over U.S. markets, considerable activity is bubbling elsewhere in the world: Some geographies and market segments are growing at 5.5 percent to 14 percent annually. Many architecture and design firms have found the prospects so appealing that they are basing growth plans around it.

Since 1998, DesignIntelligence has annually compiled and published a list of the 30 largest U.S.-based architecture and design exporters. The "2010 Multinational Design Firm Fee Survey" is published in the September/October issue of DesignIntelligence, the journal of the Design Futures Council.

Taking the top spot this year is the new AECOM Technology Corp. (which acquired several former Top 30 firms, including DMJM, EDAW, and Ellerbe Becket).

The 2010 list includes:

1. AECOM Technology Corp.
2. HOK
3. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
4. Perkins+Will
5. Gensler
6. RTKL Associates Inc.
7. Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
9. Cannon Design
10. WATG
11. Populous
12. Burt Hill
13. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
14. Perkins Eastman Architects PC
15. Rafael Viñoly Architects
16. HDR Architecture Inc.
17. Callison
17. Steelman Partners
19. Leo A Daly

The "2010 Multinational Design Firm Fee Survey" includes projected 2010 year-end billings for the Top 30 firms, historical Top 30 data, and sample geographic analyses of where some of the Top 30 firms are conducting work.

More information is available at