Five Australian architectural practices feature in the 2021 World Architecture 100 rankings released by UK magazine Building Design. These new rankings provide a snapshot of how the architecture profession has weathered the turbulence of 2020.

The Australian practices on the 2021 World Architecture 100 list include Bates Smart (46), GHDWoodhead (48), Architectus (86), Hames Sharley (94) and Mode Design (95). Warren and Mahoney was the only New Zealand practice on the list at 99.

GHDWoodhead climbs global rankings

It was a good year for GHDWoodhead, with its focus on master planning, design and delivery of complex buildings and precincts taking the firm to leadership position in a number of global markets.

Recent projects include master planning and concept design of the AUD350 million Bio-Hub precinct in Adelaide, expansion of Abbotsford Primary School in Melbourne and three stations along the AUD1.85 billion Forrestfield-Airport Link in Perth.

According to the World Architecture 100 2021 (WA100) list, the practice has been ranked #2 by largest practice by revenue in Australasia and #9 in the Middle East; #2 by revenue in government projects globally; #9 by revenue in landscape architecture globally; and #48 globally based on the number of architects (228) employed (up from #59 in 2020).  

“In a year of accelerated change, our extraordinarily diverse expertise has enabled us to think differently to resolve highly complex challenges. This year, as our clients have been forced to rethink, they have found in us a rich resource for new solutions,” says Leone Lorrimer, national practice leader – GHDWoodhead.

“Our business has been resilient during Covid-19, thanks in part to our focus on large complex projects including transport, infrastructure, government, education and defence. These sectors are also set for future growth as governments invest in infrastructure to support economic recovery.

“We envisage further growth in sectors such as industrial, defence, transport, education (primary and secondary), master planning and urban design. Markets that have shrunk due to Covid-19 include tertiary education, retail and hospitality.

“As part of global consulting company GHD, our differentiator is that we can provide an integrated range of services that combine architecture with engineering and other disciplines as a ‘one stop shop’ for our clients.”

WA100 editor Elizabeth Hopkirk said, “Practices eager for a slice of the action have a responsibility – as the slogan has it - to build back better. If we learnt anything in 2020, it is not only that our environment is critical to our wellbeing but that we are capable of embracing change. Architects are masters of imagining better ways of doing things, but could do more to communicate that vision to their clients. It is going to be a bumpy ride, but roll up your sleeves and get ready to pivot again. Fortune will favour the fleet-footed.”