The New York City skyline is an emblem of industry, commerce, and our ability to push the limits of engineering and design. The landscape is punctuated by Art Deco, Gothic, and contemporary towers that reflect the melange of individuals who pass through their grand lobbies and green plazas. Though the design firms behind the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building are no more, other practices — some with a long history and others with less than a decade under their belts — are designing the structures that will one day define the city. Here are the top firms shaping New York City’s future.

Top Architects

Perkins Eastman

Bradford Perkins
Mary-Jean Eastman

Greater New York Construction User Council Healthcare Environment Award,
American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of New York Engineering Excellence Award,
Interior Design Best of Year Merit Award,
AIA NY Design Merit Award

115 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

About Perkins Eastman

Bradford Perkins, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) and Member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (MRAIC) and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and Mary-Jean Eastman, FAIA, MRAIC, and member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) founded Perkins Eastman in 1984 after leaving their positions at Perkins + Will and reorganizing their initial firm, Attia Perkins. Thirty years later, Perkins Eastman designs have been recognized by AIA New York State, AIA New York City, and Interior Design. They have also placed among the top design firms on ENR and ENR New York lists. Perkins is currently chairman of the firm, while Eastman is principal and executive director.

Featured Projects

One of among New York City’s many notable healthcare facilities, Memorial Sloan-Kettering is the pinnacle hub for cancer treatment and research. Perkins Eastman designed the hospital’s Josie Robertson Surgery Center, a 179K-square-foot facility that provides technologically advanced surgical care. A glass curtain wall facade brings scenic views of the Queensboro bridge into the outpatient experience. The 16-story building houses 12 robotic, surgery-ready operating rooms, private prep and recovery spaces, and stress-relieving amenities like its rooftop garden. The innovative and practical design earned Perkins Eastman a Healthcare Environment Award, Outstanding Project recognition from The Greater New York Construction User Council (GNYCUC), and a Healthcare Design Showcase Honorable Mention. Also a leader in projects for public spaces, Perkins Eastman designed the now iconic Times Square TKTS Booth. Part of the redevelopment of Father Duffy Square, the glass and fiberglass structure draws a line of theater-goers hoping to snag discount tickets to Broadway shows. The compact ticket office utilizes radiant panels and an air handler to achieve optimal temperatures, regardless of the weather. Not just a point of sale, the booth sits beneath red, LED-illuminated steps that function as seating for many a weary tourist. The eye-catching design won an American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of New York, Engineering Excellence Award, an Interior Design Best of Year Merit Award in the Public Spaces/Outdoor category, and an AIA NY Design Merit Award in Architecture.

Richard Meier & Partners Architects

Richard Meier
James R. Crawford
Bernhard Karpf
Vivia Lee
Reynolds Logan
Michael Palladino
Dukho Yeon

AIA Honors Awards

475 10th Avenue #6, New York, NY 10018

About Richard Meier & Partners Architects

Co-founder and Managing Partner Richard Meier, FAIA and Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (FRIBA), established his architecture firm in 1963 after studying architecture at Cornell University. Richard Meier, along with his six partners — James R. Crawford, Bernhard Karpf, Vivia Lee, Reynolds Logan, Michael Palladino, and Dukho Yeon — has equipped Richard Meier & Partners Architects’ dual-coast practice to receive 30 Honors Awards from the AIA, as well as more than 50 from AIA New York and other regional chapters. Their portfolio boasts 18 countries.

Featured Projects

Richard Meier & Partners Architects designed 685 First Avenue, a 42-story tower of obsidian glass that will be interrupted only by a terrace at its midpoint. For all 556 units, the dark facade will give tenants privacy from residents of neighboring towers in Turtle Bay. The cutout at the terrace separates rental and condo units. Among the luxury amenities are a game room, a fitness center, and a 70-foot lap pool. Tenants will enjoy a below-ground, 110-car garage and quick access to ground floor retail spaces. The mass injection of life expected from this property will revive a long isolated neighborhood. In another emerging destination, the firm designed 1 Waterline Square, a crystalline tower clad in varied glass types, meant to reflect and absorb light in a way that lends levity to Riverside South, which sits between the Upper West Side and the Hudson River waterfront. The tower facade mimics the surrounding organic and inorganic textures, with straighter lines facing the adjacent, stone power plant, and a more layered effect facing the park. Guests will enter under a 12-floor, sail-like feature. 1 Waterline Square will house New York City’s first indoor skate park, a rock climbing wall, indoor gardening, and a recording studio.

SHoP Architects

Christopher Sharples William Sharples
Coren Sharples
Kimberly Holden
Greg Pasquarelli

Fast Company Most Innovative Architecture Firm in the World,
Smithsonian/Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture

233 Broadway, New York, NY 10279

About SHoP Architects

Five principals are at the helm of SHoP architects — twins Christopher and William Sharples, William’s wife Coren Sharples, and couple Kimberly Holden and Greg Pasquarelli. The firm’s name is a mashup of their last initials. Formed in 1996, the relatively young practice has gained attention for its prominent New York City designs, including the Domino Sugar Refinery development in Williamsburg, The Steinway Tower in Midtown, and a reimagined South Street Seaport. Fast Company called SHoP Architects the “Most Innovative Architecture Firm in the World,” and Smithsonian/Cooper Hewitt honored them with a National Design Award for Architecture.

Featured Projects

The American Copper Buildings by SHoP will bring a sculptural focal point to the Manhattan skyline. The site in Kips Bay, near the United Nations, will be home to two copper-clad towers, angled toward each other in the middle and connected by the highest sky-bridge in Manhattan. Residents of both towers will share access to the lap pool and lounge, housed in the bridge. The roof of the east tower offers the same amenities in the open air. Taking into account the risk of flooding to waterfront property, the buildings will have a forward-thinking, self-sufficient energy system. The Barclays Center, another SHoP design, also makes use of a metal facade. The urban sports arena and concert venue, home to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Islanders, is a glazed ground-level story topped with a thirty-foot-high canopy, surrounded by a prismatic lattice of 12k pre-weathered steel panels. The $1B, 675k-square-foot building in Prospect Heights has no dedicated parking but is connected to a $76M public transit hub.

Hill West Architects

Stephen Hill
David West

11 Broadway, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10004

About Hill West Architects

Hill West collaborated with Swiss firm Herzog & De Meuron to design 56 Leonard Street, a 60-story residential tower known for its distinctive, Jenga-like outline. Both beautiful and functional, the building offers 145 residences and 17k square feet of luxury amenities. Units hit the market at prices ranging from $3.5M to $50M. 56 Leonard Street is the tallest building in TriBeCa. Sky, another luxury tower from the minds of Hill West, is a glass-skinned, 60-story edifice. 42nd Street unfolds from the base of the $850M building like a red carpet, leading to a grand lobby anchored by a Yayoi Kusama sculpture and fountain. Each of the 1,175 rental units comes with access to a Turkish bath and a full-sized basketball court. The latter feature has become a big draw for professional athlete tenants, like Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks.

Featured Projects

Hill West Architects is setting records throughout the city. Tower 28 in Long Island City will be the second-tallest residential tower in Queens, and The Hub at 333 Schermerhorn Street — a collaboration with Dattner — is the tallest building in Brooklyn. David West AIA, and L. Stephen Hill, AIA, founded the firm with Alan Goldstein in 2008, and it became Hill West in 2016 upon Goldstein’s retirement. With over 50 years of cumulative experience, Hill and West lead a team of 120 and engage an affiliated interior design firm, Whitehall, on many of their projects. The Real Deal and Architectural Record consider Hill West Architects a top design firm, and with 1.8M square feet of NYC projects on the boards in 2016, Hill West Architects’ star is still rising.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Renzo Piano

27 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014

About Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Renzo Piano Building Workshop designs international landmarks, from the Centre Pompidou to The Shard in London. Having established offices in Genoa, Paris, and New York, Chairman and Founding Partner Renzo Piano and the 10 other partners leading the firm have placed themselves at the hotbeds of urban design. Since incorporating in 1981, the Renzo Piano Building Workshop staff has grown to 150 design professionals. Piano has earned the Royal Gold Medal, the Kyoto Prize, and the Pritzker Prize, among many other design honors.

Featured Projects

When the Whitney Museum of American Art vacated its Marcel Breuer-designed, brutalist home on the Upper East Side, the collection of 19k works moved downtown. Their new home designed by Renzo Piano, The Whitney Museum at Gansevoort in the Meatpacking District, is an eight-story building clad in blue-grey enamel steel panels. Its asymmetry defies the rigid skyline, much the way the nearby Highline dares to make an urban green space of an abandoned railroad. On the East side of the building, stepped terraces and walkways face the city. The top floor houses a cafe and studio gallery lit by daylight pouring through a sawtooth skylight system. The four floors beneath house an amazing 50k square feet of gallery space, including a column-free fifth level, a feat of engineering that allows for wildly flexible exhibition design. Another downtown project, 565 Broome, is a 30-story residential tower that will bring a soaring height to the traditionally low-rise SoHo. Renzo Piano Building Workshop collaborated with SLCE and RDAI to design a luxury residence, which houses a 55-foot swimming pool. With floor-to-ceiling windows — including curved panels on corner units — joined by thin mullions, tenants will have panoramic views of the city and the river.

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

I.M. Pei
Eason H. Leonard
Henry N. Cobb

AIA Honor Awards,
AIA Firm Awards,
Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award,
Building Stone Institute Tucker Design Award

88 Pine Street, New York, NY 10005

About Pei Cobb Freed & Partners

Pritzker Prize winner I.M. Pei, Eason H. Leonard, and Henry N. Cobb co-founded I.M. Pei & Associates in 1955, and the firm became Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in 1989. The practice has won over 200 design awards, including 24 AIA Honor Awards, AIA and AIA NYS Firm Awards, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York Society of Architects. Though the firm’s eight partners and 100 designers have completed over 250 projects around the globe, many of the most notable are right here in New York. The Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the Four Seasons Hotel, The Plaza, and New York University’s University Plaza are among them.

Featured Projects

Pei Cobb Freed & Partners designed the Goldman Sachs global headquarters at 200 West Street. The $2.1B office tower allowed the massive investment banking firm to consolidate a number of New York offices into one campus. The design takes into account the building’s Lower Manhattan site, between the World Trade Center and Battery Park City, connecting the neighborhoods via a glass-covered walkway and public space. Angular on the side facing into the city grid and bowed on the Hudson River side, the 2.1M-square-foot, 45-story tower is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified. The design for the tower earned recognition from AIA NYC and an Emporis Skyscraper Award. 7 Bryant Park is another striking addition to a business center. Designed to adhere to zoning mandates while still providing ample generous office floor plates, the building consists of a nine-floor podium beneath a set back 21-story tower. The design had a $150M construction budget and won Engineering News-Record (ENR) New York Project of the Year. The volumes are connected by two opposing, conical cutouts, whose pinnacles touch where the volumes meet, adding dynamism to the building’s park-level aesthetic. Among design awards for 7 Bryant Park are a Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award, ENR New York Best Office Building, and the Building Stone Institute Tucker Design Award.


Art Genler
Drue Gensler
Robin Klehr Avia
Joseph Brancato

AIA NYS Firm of the Year

1700 Broadway, Suite 400, New York, NY 10019

About Gensler

A global firm with a strong regional presence in New York, Gensler is a No. 1 design firm, according to Architectural Record, ENR, and Building Design + Construction. Art and Drue Gensler established their eponymous firm in San Francisco in 1965. Under Regional Managing Principals Robin Klehr Avia, FIIDA, and Joseph Brancato, AIA, AIA New York State named Gensler Firm of the Year in 2014, and Commercial Observer listed them among firms shaping New York City. Klair has been a part of the firm since 1980 and helped expand their Northeast and Latin America offices to include close to 1,000 professionals. In 2016, Gensler pulled in nearly $170M in revenue from New York contracts, contributing to their reported $1.2B in global revenue for the year.

Featured Projects

JetBlue Airways retained Gensler to design their terminal at JFK Int’l Airport, the airline’s first. Terminal 5 reflects JetBlue’s business model and customer profiles, with a design that makes it easy for passengers to find their way to one of the 26 gates or to navigate the 640k-square-foot space to find food and drinks. For the exterior, Gensler wanted the terminal to complement the historic, Eero Saarinen design of the adjacent Terminal 6. Terminal 5’s curved rooflines are a nod to the mid-century gull wings of the 1962 landmark. Wide berths at each gate allow JetBlue planes to maneuver easily, cutting down on unnecessary delays. Also a commercial design firm, Gensler designed 25 Kent, based on a concept by Hollwich Kushner. The development is the first ground-up commercial project in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in more than 60 years. The design echoes the neighborhood’s industrial history but provides layouts and conveniences for the most progressive of technology companies.

Bjarke Ingels Group

Bjarke Ingels

AIA Housing Award,
AIA New York Merit Award,
Architizer Firm of the Year Award,
Wall Street Journal Architectural Innovator of the Year Award

61 Broadway, Suite 3300, New York, NY 10006

About Bjarke Ingels Group

One of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has taken his practice stateside in a “big” way. Since establishing Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in 2005, Ingels and his team, from their offices in Copenhagen, London, and New York, have earned a reputation for eco-conscious, innovative designs that push the boundaries of the architectural paradigms. BIG’s international portfolio of skyscrapers, museums, residential enclaves, and civic projects formed the backbone of an episode of Netflix’s Abstract: The Art of Design focused on Ingels. BIG has earned an Architizer Firm of the Year Award and a Wall Street Journal Architectural Innovator of the Year Award.

Featured Projects

BIG didn’t hold back for its first New York building, Via 57 West. The 35-story, pyramidal building draws a glance from anyone driving down the West Side Highway, with walls carved out with terraces and a distinctive pointed top piercing the boxy skyline. The unique design draws on the surrounding highrises and the security and efficiency of a European perimeter block. The design for VIA 57 West garnered more than a dozen awards, including an AIA Housing Award, AIA New York Merit Award for Future Project, the Interior Design Silver Award for Residential Architect, and ENR New York Best Residential Project. With that recognition behind them, BIG put in a bid and won the contract to redesign 2 World Trade Center after developers and prospective clients wanted a change for the original Foster & Partners design. The tower, located at 200 Greenwich Street, is designed to rise 1,340 feet above 9/11 Memorial Park, as the final building in the rehabilitation of the site. Its seven, stacked volumes will literally and figuratively reflect the contemporary highrises and historical low-rises in the surrounding neighborhoods of Financial District and TriBeCa. Combined, the terraces on each volume comprise 38k square feet of green space. The lobby’s connection to the World Trade Center transit hub ensures the area will once again be a fully connected nerve center of the city.

Kohn, Pedersen, Fox Associates

James von Klemperer
A. Eugene Kohn
William Pedersen and Sheldon Fox

World Architecture Festival Future Civic Project of the Year

11 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036

About Kohn, Pedersen, Fox Associates

Kohn, Pedersen, Fox’s additions to the New York City skyline have earned several AIA National and AIA New York State Design awards. An ENR and ENR New York Top Design Firm, the company earned over $28M in regional design revenue in 2016. President and Design Principal James von Klemperer, FAIA, RIBA, began his career with KPF in 1983. The team has since doubled in size to over 500 staffers working out of headquarters in Midtown, and five more in Europe and Asia. One of KPF’s first projects after incorporating in 1976 was repurposing a West Side armory to house studios and offices for ABC. Current Chairman A. Eugene Kohn, and co-founders William Pedersen and Sheldon Fox helmed the project.

Featured Projects

Kohn, Pedersen, Fox projects are changing the landscape of New York City as we know it. One Vanderbilt will be the tallest office building in Midtown, at over 1,400 feet high. Though thoroughly modern, the design of the $3B skyscraper harkens back to the stylings of the Chrysler and Empire State buildings, with four tapered volumes reaching toward the skyline, terminating in a layered crown. The cutback ground floor creates a sightline down 42nd Street, revealing Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt facade. A direct link to the transit hub will fully integrate the building and its tenants with the city. On the far West Side, KPF is central to the transformation of Hudson Yards, the railway hub along the Hudson river. The long-disused area is being redeveloped with buildings like 10 Hudson Yards and 30 Hudson Yards, towers with a combined construction budget of nearly $3B. 10 Hudson Yards will serve as the global headquarters for Coach and will house L’Oreal and SAP as tenants. 30 Hudson Yards, the tallest in the brand new neighborhood, will feature the highest observation deck in the city. One tower points toward the river, while the other bends toward the city. At the World Architecture Festival Awards, Hudson Yards earned Future Civic Project of the Year.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Mustafa K. Abadan
Stephen Apking
Brant E. Coletta
Roger Duffy
Laura Ettelman
T.J. Gottesdiener
Gary Haney
Kenneth A. Lewis
Anthony Vacchione

AIA Architecture Firm Award,
AIA 25-Year Awards

24th Floor, 14 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Though Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings founded their eponymous firm in Chicago in 1936, they opened their first New York office only a year later. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has designed multiple New York landmarks, including 510 5th Avenue, Manhattan House, and One Chase Plaza. Their International Style office tower was the first commercial office tower in New York to feature a glass curtain wall, and it set a new standard for modern, urban construction. Throughout their 81 year history, the New York office has also lead local projects for Time Warner, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, John Jay College,252 East 57th Street, Barnard’s Milstein Center and theDaniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall. SOM is the only firm to date to have twice won the AIA Architecture Firm Award and to have six projects win the 25-Year Award recognizing enduring designs. In their 81-year history, the firm has earned nearly 2,000 accolades and has completed more than 10k projects around the world.

Featured Projects

SOM designs are taking New York City into a new age of urbanism. Just south of the Hudson Yards development, the Manhattan West will similarly integrate an isolated neighborhood with the rest of the island. Besides the master plan, SOM has designed two elegant office towers, 225k square feet of retail and restaurants, and two acres of plazas and parks for the two-block, 5M-square-foot development. A residential tower, co-designed with SLCE Architects, will insure the area is still vivacious after commuters clock out. In order to build out the area, developers first had to lay a 2.6-acre platform to cover rail tracks used by trains heading in and out of Penn Station. SOM also rendered the winning design for One World Trade Center, also known as the “Freedom Tower.” The building stands a symbolic 1,776 feet tall — including a 408-foot spire — making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth tallest building in the world. The 104-story office tower cost an estimated $3.9B to build, an investment to re-establish Lower Manhattan as the city’s epicenter. The design, with its faceted, reflective, glass facade, won ENR Best Regional Project and Best of the Best in the Office/Retail/Mixed-Use category.

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