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    Woods Bagot still top Australian practice in World Architecture 100 list for 2015

    Geraldine Chua

    Six Australian practices have clinched spots on the Building Design of UK's World Architecture 100 list, an international ranking of firms by size (number of employees).

    Australian practice Woods Bagot retained its global spot at seventh place after leaping to the position in 2014, and was named first in Australasia. It attributes these achievements to strong growth in all Woods Bagot regions, particularly in North America, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

    “Our strategy for moving away from a headquartered ‘hub and spoke’ business model to a disaggregated matrix structure has meant that as a firm of Australian origin, not only is more than 60% of our revenues won outside our country of origin, over 50% is delivered outside our country of origin. We believe we may be the only firm in the top 10 largest with this profile,” said outgoing Woods Bagot Managing Director Ross Donaldson.

    “We have found that our focus on career development has led to four of our six largest studios being led by women between the ages of 35-45. Women lead our studios in Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney and Melbourne. We see this trend increasing with 42% of our staff being female. Women lead at both the frontier and the homeland.”

    Left: Chongqing Tall Tower by Woods Bagot

    Billing $71 million in Australasia, plus another $36 million in the Pacific Rim, Woods Bagot has experienced steady growth in the residential, transport infrastructure and commercial and mixed use sectors in Asia and Australia.

    Its global approach extends beyond having studios across the world (although it is opening its 17th studio in Christchurch, New Zealand this year), but includes working with Chinese clients across London and the US, and with Singapore-based clients in Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and China.

    The firm’s 2014 portfolio includes the first phase completion of the Nan Tien Institute & Cultural Centre in New South Wales, a Buddhist-run education facility next to the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere, Stadio Della Roma football stadium in Rome, and the Ham Yard Hotel in London.

    Other Australian firms that made the top 100 list are HBO+EMTB which remained at 43, and Cox Architecture at 45, a spot up from last year’s 46th position.

    The Buchan Group came in at 60, while Thomson Adsett fell from 89 to 95 in 2014. Hayball, previously named by BD as one of the practices to watch out for, and who was the architect of record for the first cross laminated timber public building in Australia, entered the Top 100 list at 99.

    DWP|Suters at 117 was named one of the practices to watch for the year, alongside firms such as BIG Bjarke Ingels Group (101) and Wilkinson Eyre Architects (105).

    However Hassell, which came in at 32 and was named Australasia’s top earner in 2014, did not make an appearance in this year’s list. As the reports are based on annual surveys of global architecture practices with data collected by UK communications agency Camargue, it is assumed that Hassell did not participate in this year’s survey.

    World Architecture 100 Top Ten Firms for 2015:

    1. Aecom (USA)

    2. Nikken Sekki (Japan)

    3. Gensler (USA)

    4. Perkins & Will (USA)

    5. Aedas (China)

    6. HDR (USA)

    7. Woods Bagot (Australia)

    8. IBI Group (Canada)

    9. P+T Architects & Engineers (China)

    10. DP Architects (Singapore)

    LAX Enhancements project by Aecom. Image: Yan Wang. Source: Aecom

    Claiming this year’s top spot is Aecom, an American integrated services mega-group that has 2,100 architects, making it the first entrant to break through the 2,000 barrier. This was helped by the acquisition of URS Corporation last October, which doubled the size of the company with hundreds of new offices, added 690 more architects, and expanded its capabilities in commercial, health, sports and industrial architecture.

    It also acquired Hunt Construction Group and ACE International Consultants S.L in 2014, although Aecom’s new architecture lead for the Americas Ross Wimer says the company will now focus on organic growth.

    Australian performance on the international stage

    HBO+EMTB was the highest fee income earner in Central Asia, and ranked at number 5 in the Infrastructure market sector (by fee income) for 2015. 

    Cox Architecture came in 9th in the Sport sector, Thomson Adsett came in 2nd in the Elderly Living Market Sector, and the Buchan Group 5th in the Retail sector.

    Woods Bagot also made the lists for the Offices (7), Residential (9), Retail (9) and transport (10) markets.

    Nan Tien Education and Cultural Centre by Woods Bagot

    The full report can be purchased HERE

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