Gensler ranks as top revenue-generating architecture firm for a ninth consecutive year

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Gensler ranks as top revenue-generating architecture firm for a ninth consecutive year

Gensler’s Foisie Innovation Studio at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. (2018) (Kenneth C. Zirkel/Wikimedia Commons)

When it comes to generation of revenue from architectural services, Gensler, it would seem, cannot be topped.

According to the recently released 2020 edition of Architectural Record’s Top 300 Architecture Firms list, the San Francisco-headquartered global design and architecture practice took in the highest architectural revenue—$1.52 billion, a 12 percent bump from the year before—of any practice for the ninth consecutive year.

As with previous iterations, the list is based on earnings from architectural services provided during the previous year—something particularly important to note considering the fiscal turbulence within the profession at large unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic. (The 2021 list will no doubt be revealing.)

Filling in the top-five spots are Chicago-headquartered Perkins and Will ($670 million); 103-year-old, employee-owned Omaha engineering and architecture firm HDR ($517 million); Jacobs Engineering Group, previously based in Pasadena, California, and now headquartered in Dallas ($509 million); and the Los Angeles-headquartered AECOM ($439 million).

It should be noted that numerous firms on the list—including three of the top five revenue-earners—are primarily dedicated to providing engineering services although they also bring in revenue from architecture. Architectural Record’s sister publication, Engineering News-Record, complementary list, the Top 500 Design Firms, also includes engineering-only companies and those providing engineering and contracting services. On that list, Gensler falls into the tenth spot while Jacobs and AECOM rank first and second, respectively.

In addition to Gensler and Perkins and Will, firms cracking the top 25 that are categorized as architecture-exclusive firms include Dallas-based HKS (6), Kansas City-based Populous (13), Seattle-based NBBJ (15), New York City-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) (16), Dallas-based Corgan (17), Minneapolis-based DLR Group (18), Portland, Oregon-based ZGF Architects (20), and Minneapolis-based NELSON Worldwide (21).

Some firms, including the St. Louis-based HOK (7), New York City-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (9), and Buffalo, New York’s CannonDesign (12) are categorized primarily as architecture firms that also offer engineering services.

Looking at the 25 leading practices on the current Top 300 Architecture firms list, there isn’t much dramatic fluctuation between 2020 and 2019. Gensler, as mentioned, has maintained its long-held spot at the top and numerous other firms have also kept the same rank or dropped or risen one or two spots. Outliers to this trend include NBBJ, which experienced a significant revenue increase last year, bumping the firm up from the 21st to the 15th spot. KPF also experienced a sizable bump, jumping four spots up the list. The biggest architectural revenue slides within the top 25 earners were NELSON Worldwide and Omaha-headquartered LEO A DALY, falling four and six spots, respectively.

The most dramatic movement in any direction, however, belonged to Houston-headquartered PGAL. On the 2019 list, it ranked 41. This year, the airport-specializing office eased into the 19th spot with a revenue of $201 million from architectural services.

Head over to Architectural Record to view all 25 of the architectural revenue-earning firms.