These are 10 architectural firms that you need to know

Architecture is a multidisciplinary field that is constantly evolving. Despite different trends and schools of thought, good architecture is timeless.

Architecture is a gigantic field where designers take risks to challenge constraints and shake the basic construction fundamentals, creating extraordinary buildings yet assuring their purpose and functionality. 

A complex yet fascinating sector that requires thorough planning, intense research for new materials and technologies, understanding of changing habits of people with resulting use of spaces and the ability to design on diverse scales.

Although, this complexity does not frighten people to opt for architecture. Only in the USA, each year more than 10,000 students graduate from architecture schools.

This ranking has been developed in collaboration with Riccardo Capuzzo, CEO & Founder of Design42Day. Here are 10 pioneering architectural firms defining a visual language with their philosophy of design and aesthetics:

  • Ministry of Design, Singapore
  • Peter Zumthor, Switzerland
  • SANAA, Japan
  • Herzog & de Meuron, Switzerland
  • Emilio Ambasz, Argentina
  • Alvaro Siza, Portugal
  • Hiroshi Sambuichi Architects, Japan
  • Snohetta, Norway
  • DP Architects, Singapore
  • Janus Rostock/Atkins, UAE

Ministry of Design, Singapore

Vanke Triple V Gallery by Ministry of Design - 10 architectural firms
Vanke Triple V Gallery by Ministry of Design, China

Ministry of Design is a prestigious award-winning Singapore-based firm founded by architect Colin Seah.

Each project at MOD starts with the slogan: “Question, Disturb, Redefine”. Architects question the inherent potential of contemporary design, disturb the way it is perceived and redefine it with an innovative language.  

MOD’s work method of respecting contextual surroundings, yet not being afraid of dreaming out of the box, is a core feature in their stunning creations.
Each MOD project endeavors to be delightfully surprising but yet relevant, distinctly local but still globally appealing”

100PP Office building by Ministry of Design - 10 architectural firms
100PP Office building by Ministry of Design, Singapore

Peter Zumthor, Switzerland

 Bruder Klaus Feild Chapel by Peter Zumthor - 10 architectural firms
Bruder Klaus Feild Chapel by Peter Zumthor, Germany

Peter Zumthor is a former Pritzker prize winner and one of the most renowned architects, famous for his uncompromising style and way of respecting the use of each material. 
Zumthor, the son of a furniture maker, graduated from the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland, in 1963 and continued his studies at the Pratt Institute in New York City. Soon after he established his own practice in Haldenstein, Switzerland. Zumthor purposefully started with small-scaled works to be more intimately involved in the entire process of design. The design of Therme Vals was a prime opportunity for Zumthor to get international recognition as an architect.

Zinc Mine museum by Peter Zumthor - 10 architectural firms
Zinc Mine Museum by Peter Zumthor, Norway

SANAA, Japan

The Rolex learning center by SANAA - 10 architectural firms
The Rolex Learning Center by SANAA, Switzerland

SANAA is an architectural firm in Tokyo, founded by Kazuyo Sejima in collaboration with Ryue Nishizawa. SANAA has designed numerous innovative buildings in Japan and around the world. 

Examples of their groundbreaking works include the Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, famous for winning the Pritzker Prize in 2010, the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion in Ohio with a striking crystal landscape reflecting the city’s glass legacy, and the Christian Dior Building in Tokyo renowned for its transparent glass facades. Although soon after two years of working together, Kazuyo and Ryue began their own individual practices focused on small scale projects.

Grace Farms by SANAA in USA - 10 architectural firms
Grace Farms – a public center for arts by SANAA, USA

Herzog & de Meuron, Switzerland

Tate Modern by Herzog & de Meuron - 10 architectural firms
The Tate Modern by Herzog & de Meuron, UK

This Swiss architecture studio was founded by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, who both attended the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The studio is currently comprised of an international team of 44 associates and around 400 collaborators working on projects across Europe, the Americas and Asia. This Basel-based firm is most famous for its remarkable conversion of London’s Bankside Power Station into the new home of one of the largest museums of modern art, the Tate Modern. Herzog & de Meuron began their practice following a minimalist and modern style that keeps developing into contemporary aesthetics.

VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron - 10 architectural firms
VitraHaus by Herzog & de Meuron, Germany

Emilio Ambasz, Argentina

Acros Fukuoka by Emilio Ambasz  - 10 architectural firms
Acros Fukuoka International Hall by Emilio Ambasz, Japan

Emilio Ambasz, an advocate of “green architecture” and Argentina-born architect is known for his projects that combine buildings with gardens in a way that he loves to describe as “green over grey”. He kicked off this idea in the 70s’ by hiding buildings under grass.

Emilio’s style reflects a strong integration of contemporary shapes and Nature. His most remarkable projects include the Acros building in Japan and the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan, USA.

Veneto Eye Bank Foundation by Emilio Ambasz - 10 architectural firms
Veneto Eye Bank Foundation by Emilio Ambasz, Italy

Alvaro Siza, Portugal

The Building On the Water by Alvaro Siza - 10 architectural firms
The Building On The Water by Alvaro Siza, China

Expressing emotions is one of the most difficult aspects to present as a designer. “Simplicity at its best” is how Alvaro Siza describes emotions through his works. Siza is one of the best Portuguese architects the country has had to this date. His style is widely appreciated for being coherent, clear and fairly simple.  Despite his relatively small team, Siza’s practice has won the RIBA Gold Medal, the AIA Gold Medal and the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement, among many more prizes.

Portugal Pavilion by Alvaro Siza - 10 architectural firms
Portugal Pavilion by Alvaro Siza, Portugal

Hiroshi Sambuichi Architects, Japan

Miyajima Misen Observatory by Hiroshi Sambuichi Architects - 10 architectural firms
Miyajima Misen Observatory by Hiroshi Sambuichi Architects, Japan

Japanese architect, Hiroshi Sambuichi has a unique design philosophy of “building around nature: architecture should work in harmony with the environment surrounding it so that it becomes a natural part of the Earth. Sambuichi believes that architecture begins with “Water, Air and Sun”.

His design approach to a site entails long-term study and reflection upon the qualities and forces of nature embedded within. Some of the most notable works of this extraordinary architect include the Rokko-Shidare Observatory and the Naoshima Hall.

Naoshima Hall by Hiroshi Sambuichi Architects - 10 architectural firms
Naoshima Hall by Hiroshi Sambuichi Architects, Japan

Snøhetta, Norway

The underwater restaurant by Snohetta - 10 architectural firms
The underwater restaurant of The Oslo Opera House by Snohetta, Norway

Snøhetta began as a collaborative workshop of architecture and landscape design. From the beginning, the studio has followed its purpose of designing with a sense of surroundings no matter the scale of the project. This world-renowned Norwegian architecture firm has won an impressive number of awards over the past years, including the Aga Khan Award for their Bibliotheca Alexandrina project in Alexandria, Egypt.

A relationship between multiple disciplines is a definite driving force in all of Snøhetta’s work. The firm focuses on creating experiences engaging senses and body presence in space supporting social interaction. Snøhetta is now renowned internationally with 240 employees making a successful way ahead.

The San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art by Snohetta - 10 architectural firms
The San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art by Snohetta, USA

DP Architects, Singapore

The Esplanade by DP Architects - 10 architectural firms
The Esplanade – Theatre by the Bay by DP Architects, Singapore

DP Architects is one of three leading firms in Singapore specializing in sustainable architecture. Originally founded in 1967 with just 18 members, DP Architects has now grown into 1,200 people with offices in 15 countries all over the world.

In 2005 Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas said at a press conference when he visited Singapore: “These buildings (Golden Mile Complex and People’s Park Complex) were not intended to be landmarks, but they became landmarks.”

DP Architects has evolved with time in building Singapore as a nation and has been performing a vital role in shaping its remarkable urban environment.

The Minton by DP Architects - 10 architectural firms
The Minton by DP Architects, Singapore

Janus Rostock, UAE

The Dubai Opera House by Janus Rostock - 10 architectural firms
The Dubai Opera House by Janus Rostock, UAE

Leaders in Architecture MENA Summit in UAE is the largest and well-distinguished platform dedicated for promoting and advancing the architecture industry across the countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Atkins is a British multinational engineering, architectural design and consulting firm, one of the largest in the industry on a worldwide scale. 

Being MENA’s Regional Director and having managed projects for prestigious clients with Atkins, Janus Rostock Danish architect – is one of the key players and a dominant symbol in the Middle-Eastern industry. Janus desired to be an architect at the age of 8 years old and became a sensation in the post-modern architecture world by designing The Dubai Opera House.

The Dubai Opera House by Janus Rostock - 10 architectural firms
The Dubai Opera House by Janus Rostock, UAE

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