For decades, architectural discourse was dominated by the notion that a single iconic building could reshape a neighborhood. Today, the best architecture firms are taking a more nuanced approach to the built environment. They’re using design and technology to tackle everything from climate change to social justice, and they are doing so not as lone geniuses toiling away in the dark, but in collaboration with clients, neighborhoods, and cities. The starchitecture era is dead.
The companies listed here exemplify this holistic method, whether they’re adapting old buildings for new uses, experimenting with bleeding-edge materials, or building 21st-century parks.
Click on a company name to learn more about why it made the list.
01. WEST 8
For meeting the rising tides
02. TOD WILLIAMS BILLIE TSIEN ARCHITECTS | PARTNERS
For putting community at the center of design
03. AMANDA LEVETE ARCHITECTS
For merging architecture with topography
04. NELSON BYRD WOLTZ
For planting the neighborhood of the future
05. RAAD STUDIO
For designing below ground
06. SKIDMORE, OWINGS & MERRILL
For expanding the range of materials available to architects
For taking a quantitative approach to architecture
08. ADJAYE ASSOCIATES
For honoring the full scope of American history
09. HOLLWICH KUSHNER (HWKN)
For making adaptive reuse sexy
For mastering the experimental facade