5 Architecture Firms to Watch Out For

Established architecture firms are great sources of knowledge for “archipreneurs”, but nothing invigorates the industry or inspires peers as much as emerging young talent. Architecture startups exemplify the most experimental aspects of the profession, and push the envelope when it comes to business models, marketing strategies and design innovation.

Young firms are often at the forefront of new trends, teaching their seasoned peers how to incorporate new technologies into their workflows, and utilize new media tools to bring their stories to audiences and clients. The state and diversity of the startup community shows the vitality of the architectural profession in general.

Here is my list of   5 Architecture Firms to Watch Out For:

5.  ATELIER ALTER (2009 — 9 Years)

Founded in 2009, Atelier Alter is a pioneering inter-disciplinary practice based in New York and Beijing.  Noted for deriving design from critical analysis of the site, Atelier Alter has been recognised by numerous awards, including the IDOL Gold Prize 2014,  the 2013 Awards by Lighting Design Weekly and the 2010 Excellence in Architecture Design of FuJian.

Atelier Alter

4.  McDowellEspinosa Architects (2012 — 6 Years)

Seth McDowell and Rychiee Espinosa founded McDowellEspinosa Architects in 2012 with the goal of transforming waste, excess, and the ordinary into new spatial and material realities.  As an experimental architectural practice, their work bridges the speculative and the real – focusing on material and construction procedures as the genesis for the design of buildings, objects and cities.  At the core of their design philosophy is the desire for architecture to embrace exceptions and celebrate atypical methods for building.

McDowellEspinosa Architects

3.  Taller’KEN” (2013 — 5 Years)

Taller’KEN” – founded in 2013 by Gregory Melitonov and Ines Guzman – is a New York and Guatemala based architecture practice focused on playful design with social and cultural relevancy.


2.  PENDA (2013 — 5 Years)

Chris Precht and Dayong Sun, founders of Beijing-based design studio PENDA, seem to have their finger on the pulse of the profession. Their understanding of the architectural zeitgeist (spirit) reflects in their office organisation as well as their designs. They use new technologies and see architecture as a discipline that extends beyond physical space.

Despite accolades from the AEC community – the studio won the Emerging Firm of the Year Award at Architizer’s 2016 A+Awards – they are still a small team of only 11 people. This is a conscious decision by the founders who prefer to form long-term relationships with their employees and stay compact.


1.  IF_DO (2014 — 4 Years)

IF_DO is a RIBA chartered architecture and design practice dedicated to creating projects with a positive impact on users, the environment and the surrounding community. Established in 2014 by Al Scott, Sarah Castle and Thomas Bryans, IF_DO works on projects of all scales, from individually crafted buildings to strategic master plans.

They adopt a collaborative and searching approach that draws on their collective experiences and interests.  Their work is developed following careful analysis of context, informing architecture that is sensitive and appropriate to its place.



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