Monday, June 16, 2008

Welcome Home, Perkins+Will: You're No. 1! (In Chicago)

The Architectural Record has published the 2008 edition of its annual survey the top 150 U.S. architectural firms ranked by 2007 revenue. And while storm clouds are gathering - AR's ABI (architectural billings index) showed a nearly 27% decline from last December of 07 to March of 08, 2007 seems to have at least given firms a chance to gather their rose buds from a rather prosperous year, with revenues jumping 20% from 2006.

In Chicago, the largest firm listed is again Perkins+Will, coming off several years of exile where AR classified it as an Atlanta-based company. It's $330.5 million in revenues represented a rise of over 23%. The firm dropped from 5th to 6th in the listings, right ahead of New York based, Chicago behemoth Skidmore, Owings and Merrill ($310.9 million, up 23.8%). Perkins+Wills new Holland Michigan headquarters for the Haworth company designed by Ralph Johnson and Eva Maddox, is getting rave reviews from everyone from the Trib's Blair Kamin to Metropolis Magazine.

After that, it's kinda anti-climax, as Chicago has only three only firms in the top 150: VOA, (62, $47.56 million, up 22.9%); OWP/P (52, $52.9, up 13.5%); and Solomon Cordwell Buenz (82, $37.4 million, up .5%). If you go outside the center city, there's also Northbook's Wiss Janney Elstner, in 22nd place, with $80.46 million in revenues. That firm wasn't even on the 2007 list, which makes you wonder just how complete AR's survey is. Frank Gehry, Richard Meier and Robert Stern are also nowhere to be found.

This year, AR listed an additional 100 firms, which gives us two firms that dropped out of the top 150, A. Epstein (154, $48.1 million, down 6.4%); and Teng (156, $68.63, down 12%.) The discrepancy between billings and rankings comes from the fact that the AR rankings takes into consideration only architecture-related revenues, excluding, for example, Teng's substantial jams and jellies franchise.

Also on the extra 100 are Murphy/Jahn (155, $30 million), FGM (157, $18.29 million); DeStefano+Partners (162, $25.38 million); Darien's Wight & Company (167, $31.1 million); Legat (177, $14.85 million); Walker Parking (205, $66.94 million), and the Korte Company (225, $6.9 million) {their website seems to indicate their HQ's in St. Louis; AR says Highland, Illinois - discuss among yourselves)

International work has become increasingly important, increasing $640 million from 2006 to 2007, and now representing over 18% of revenues. That work is not spread evenly, however. Among the Chicago firms listed, most gravitate towards 100% domestic. The exceptions are Perkins+Will (11% foreign revenues), Epstein (36.8%), and Destefano (27.5%). Both SOM (52.8%) and Murphy/Jahn (55.3%) derive the greater part of their revenues from foreign projects.

You can check out the full list - plus AR editor Charles Linn's explanation of how firms get included - here.


Anonymous said...

What's the reason behind claiming NYC as SOM's HQ?

Anonymous said...

Walker Parking (parking garages and/or surface lots?) must be doing a heck of a lot of work...and I never heard of them. I am going to check out their webste.