Foster & Partners has, for the ninth year in a row, secured the title of being the ‘most admired architect’ by some of the biggest architecture practices in the world.
The votes were gathered from responses to the annual World Architecture 100 survey by the UK publication Building Design, which named American integrated services mega-group Aecom as the top firm of 2015 (by size), and Woods Bagot as the biggest Australian contender on the list with its seventh placing.
Of those in the ‘most admired rankings’, it turns out most have been active in Australia in recent times.
Foster & Partners was the highest ranked UK representative despite posting a pre-tax loss of £142 million in 2014. According to the World Architecture report this can be attributed to its success in winning a number of impressive projects, including the commission to design a new airport for Mexico City, which will be one of the world’s biggest upon completion.
Led by Norman Foster, the London-based firm was founded in 1967 and has projects across the globe. Its arm has extended to Sydney, with the Deutsche Bank Place completed in 2005, and the Regent Place apartments that consist of the 48 storey residential block Lumiere, and the 33 storey Frasers Suites. It also teamed up with Skanska last year to pioneer the world’s first 3D concrete printing robot.
Located in a predominantly commercial area and in line with significant civil buildings such as Sydney’s Town Hall, the Regent Place apartments rise above a five storey, sandstone-faced podium that knits into the surrounding block. The towers are set back to create a generous terrace on the roof of the podium, with the upper floor featuring a 50 metre swimming pool that suspends over a triple height entrance lobby. Images: Foster & Partners
“To be voted most admired practice by our peers from around the world is a great honour,” said Norman Foster.
“It is a huge tribute to our talented and hard-working team with their myriad skills and disciplines, both in our many studios around the world and our base in London, all working towards the common goal of bringing innovative design solutions to create a better built environment.”
Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron was ranked second place, with 10 per cent of the votes this year. With a massive portfolio that spans Europe, the Americas and Asia, it notably left its mark on Australia in 2013 when it won Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station Design Competition with HASSELL, beating Zaha Hadid, ARM and NH Architecture.
Hassell + Herzog & de Meuron’s Flinders Street design entry features a series of weather-proof vaulter roofs that would flood the train platforms with natural light and ventilation as the main highlight. Images: Hassell
Despite being praised by the judges for offering “a beautiful and compelling integration of aspects of the original station design”, the Victorian government has just announced that it is unlikely to take up the design and go ahead with the revamp.
Gensler and Renzo Piano jointly occupy the third place, securing eight per cent of the votes each. Headquartered in San Francisco, Gensler opened a Sydney office last year, with a view to have studios in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane as it grows its presence in Australia.
Pritzker laureate Renzo Piano is also no stranger to Australian architects, having designed Sydney’s Aurora Place, a pair of office and residential towers next to the city’s Royal Botanic Gardens that feature a screen-printed glass with cream-coloured ceramic particles, and which reflects the sun’s rays.
Aurora Place. Images: John Gollings. Source: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
He shocked the community when he withdrew his competition entry for the Barangaroo Crown Hotel, but is reportedly now in talks with Lend Lease to design the last piece of the South Barangaroo puzzle.
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) had five per cent of the votes, placing it in fourth place. Bjarke Ingels was named ‘Innovator of the Year’ for architecture by the Wall Street Journal in 2011, and although he has no completed buildings in Australia as of yet, he has mentioned potentially collaborating with local firms.
With three per cent of the votes each, these firms made up the rest of the Top 10 Most Admired list:
The full World Architecture 100 report can be purchased HERE.