The modern office got its start in New York City in 1915, when a local insurance company transitioned to low-profile desks and open floor plans. One hundred years later, these office features are trending again. From Wall Street to Silicon Alley, New York City is a global business center for companies in all sectors and stages of development. New startups and Fortune 500 companies are taking advantage of the new construction and historical spaces the city has to offer, teaming with renowned architects to create workspaces that will push business forward.
The following are the top ten office architects in New York City. Our team evaluated numerous architects adept in working on offices throughout the city. In assessing these architects, we considered their certifications and accreditations, their professional affiliations, and the awards and press recognition they’ve accumulated over the years. We also took into account their years of experience and client satisfaction. With their extensive knowledge of and experience in the various facets of office architecture, the architects on this list create ideal spaces for industry leaders.
Architecture Research Office (ARO)
170 Varick St., 7th Floor, New York, NY 10013
ARO is an architecture firm in New York City led by acclaimed architects Stephen Cassell, Kim Yao, and Adam Yarinsky. Since 1993, the firm has earned a reputation for “architecture that unites beauty and form with strategy and intelligence.” The firm touts a diverse project portfolio that spans strategic planning, architecture, and urban design. ARO’s entire body of work is united by a principled and engaged approach to design, collaboration, and technical precision. Moreover, the team always aims to use the fewest natural and financial resources while maintaining aesthetic quality. This philosophy has earned the firm more than 100 design awards, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Architecture Firm Award, the AIA New York State Firm of the Year Award, and the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture.
Harry’s new 62,000-square-foot headquarters was designed to support the company’s expanding operations. The layout and arrangement of the new office space were based upon a planning strategy grounded on the company’s transparent, collaborative, and relaxed office culture—between the large open desk areas are common spaces that promote openness and engagement.
ARO organized Harry’s departments into three groups, each anchoring a corner of the triangular floor layout. Each space maximizes daylight and city views. Connected by an “attractor,” the corner spaces serve as dining, lounge, conference, and event spaces. These are distinguished by floor-to-ceiling wood panels and a blue color palette.
250 W 57th St., 17th Floor, New York, NY 10107
Dedicated to integrated, environmentally responsive architecture, COOKFOX Architects is a collaborative practice that primarily pursues innovative and sustainable designs. Founded in 2003 by Rick Cook and Bob Fox, the firm is now led by Cook and six partners, with the core mission of creating holistic and biophilic architecture that promotes client health and well-being. COOKFOX’s diverse portfolio encompasses work from small jewel projects to complex urban transformations, such as single-family and multifamily residential projects as well as institutional and commercial projects.
COOKFOX Architects designed 512 West 22nd Street to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification and create an office environment connected with nature. Bordering the High Line and with views of the Hudson River, this Chelsea office building was inspired by its proximity to the green public space as well as biophilic design. In fact, the canopy of trees converges with the landscaped terraces cut into the building’s profile. At the same time, the building’s structure recalls the neighborhood’s historical infrastructure and the crisp, contemporary design that defines west Chelsea, touting industrial sash windows and a facade made of anthracite terracotta, zinc, and granite.
Desai Chia Architecture
115 W 27th St. Suite #901, New York, NY 10001
Established in 1996, Desai Chia Architecture provides bold and deliberate design solutions for institutions, organizations, and private clients throughout the U.S. and even abroad in Toronto, Bangalore, and the U.K. Founded by seasoned professionals Katherine Chia, FAIA (Fellow of the American Institute of Architects) and Arjun Desai, AIA, the practice has since established a reputation for creating authentic and inspiring designs. The firm’s projects have received several coveted accolades, such as the AIA Institute Honor Award and the AAP Architecture Prize Small Firm of the Year Award for Multi-disciplinary Architecture. Desai Chia Architecture’s work has also been exhibited at the Center for Architecture, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the Istanbul Biennial, Salone del Mobile Milan, the Herman Miller showrooms in New York and L.A., and Parsons School of Design.
Desai Chia Architecture’s design for an international news organization, Quartz, accommodates the company’s rapidly growing office needs while preserving the quirky aspects of the company’s ethos, which it refers to as its “quartziness”. The practice anchored the main spine of the office with a series of Quartzy Spaces. This collection of break-out spaces serves as a buffer between the main entry and the work area. The undulating, wood-frame structure comprises a coffee bar, reception area, book lounge, and maker space. These spaces are creative meeting destinations that support the company’s culture and collaborative process.
The project won a handful of design awards, earning recognition from the AAP, NYCxDESIGN, Interior Design Magazine, the Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) NY, and the Architecture Podium International Architecture Awards, among others.
Design Republican Partners Architects
501 Madison Ave., 11th Floor, New York, NY 10022
The team at Design Republic Partners Architects has specialized in office, retail, and media design for more than two decades. In that time, the practice has worked with more than 200 clients, including ABC, Accenture, Barclays Capital, HBO, and Ferrari. When designing a workspace, Partners Neil Tucker, AIA, LEED AP and Barry Ludlow, AIA, LEED AP and Design Manager Inga Kruliene, LEED AP lead the team and the client through a series of discovery exercises to ensure that the resulting design reflects the character and goals of the company that will call it home. Business Insider, The Real Deal, and The New York Post have recognized the firm’s work.
Yelp is a $3 billion business that has changed how we use the internet. When it came time for new digs in New York, the company partnered with Design Republic Partners Architects to reflect Yelp’s spirit with an innovative design. Yelp has more than 4,000 employees around the world, so the two-floor, sales-oriented, New York office needed a strong, localized identity. Small meetings are held in open spaces, such as a common area styled like a miniaturized High Line park. Each of the company’s four teams works in a “neighborhood” named after distinct communities throughout New York City’s five boroughs.
11 W 25th St., 6th Floor, New York, NY 10010
Just six years after incorporating, Float Studio is proving that youth can be a virtue in the design world. It is comprised of a group of interior designers and primarily focuses on office interiors. Founder and Partner Brad Sherman, LEED AP studied urban planning, architecture, and fashion design before establishing the firm, which focuses on creating office spaces for startups. Meanwhile, Partner Nina Etnier brings to the table her background in interior spatial design and visual media. The New York Times, Remodelista, Business Insider, and Interior Design Magazine have recognized the young firm’s work. In fact, New York Observer dubbed Sherman “The Startup Whisperer.”
The studio recognizes that spaces must always reflect the perfect marriage between the utility of a space and its three-dimensional identity. As designers, it’s in the team’s blood to make something fresh, iconic, and memorable, but Float Studio’s ultimate goal is to improve the functionality and atmosphere of the offices it works on.
One of the firm’s clients is the health grocery service, Hungryroot. The practice matched the energy of the company’s branding by incorporating pops of color and strong graphic elements throughout the 6,500-square-foot office. The space also offers a variety of comfortable and collaborative workspaces.
1700 Broadway Suite #400, New York, NY 10019
Global architecture, design, and planning firm Gensler operates in 49 locations, touting more than 6,000 professionals networked across Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the Americas. The firm serves more than 3,500 active clients in diverse industries pertaining to community, lifestyle, and work.
The firm maintains that strong workspace design can enhance the performance of a company and its staff. With numerous worldwide offices of their own and a client list that includes 40 of the top 50 companies on the Fortune 500 list, Gensler has had many opportunities to test its belief. Regional Managing Principals Robin Klehr Avia, FIIDA and Joseph Brancato, AIA have led office projects for Microsoft, Condé Nast, Young & Rubicam, Comcast, Warner Media, and Citi.
Completed in 1968, the Ford Foundation’s building was hailed as an architectural icon. In late 2018, the private, not-for-profit organization partnered with Gensler to redesign its Manhattan headquarters that had just reopened. The holistic renovation took place over two years and enhanced the building’s original character while increasing the building’s accessibility.
Kohn, Pedersen, and Fox Associates (KPF)
11 W 42nd St., New York, NY 10036
Operating across 40 countries, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) is a unified architectural practice whose work comprises building designs of all types and scales. The firm’s work portfolio touts buildings found in diverse geographic regions and includes the world’s tallest towers, longest spans, most-varied programs, and inventive forms. The KPF team operates on the tenet of finding the smartest solution for each project, and the firm believes that the best designs are the results of an open-minded approach, taken without preconceptions or a predetermined stylistic formula. The practice strives to create structures that fit sensitively within their surroundings and individual needs.
The practice designed a reconfiguration of this overbuilt property on 390 Madison Avenue, which allowed for the provision of a modern work space without sacrificing valuable area. The new configuration offers floors with greater ceiling heights and structural spans—the new volumes of space include several new double-height spaces throughout the existing structure and a triple-height amenity space on the ninth floor. The originally dark and dated facade was stripped away, and new energy-efficient curtain walls were put in its place. This pulled more light into the structure, effectively illuminating the interiors. The building was also outfitted with new roofs and new cores, including new elevators, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical equipment, and will pursue a LEED Gold certification. Doing such also ensured the removal of toxins contained in aged building materials.
This project garnered several awards, including the following: a 2016 Merit Award from AIA New York; an Innovative Architecture, Best of Best Award from the 2018 ICONIC Awards; and a Gold award for Repositioning/Redevelopment from the 2019 Commercial Property Executive Distinguished Achievement Awards.
183 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016
At Spectorgroup, design is a family affair. Founded in 1965 by AIA Fellow Michael Harris Spector, the architecture, interior, and master planning firm is now in the capable hands of his sons, Scott E. Spector, AIA, and Marc B. Spector, AIA, NCARB. As principals, the pair and their team of designers expand Spectorgroup’s presence in New York City and its surroundings, building on the legacy that has grown since Scott founded the regional office in 1998. Spectorgroup has completed more than 1,000 projects and earned numerous national and local AIA awards for its work, which touches every inch of New York City’s five boroughs.
Investment management firm Waterfall Asset Management sought a larger space to cater to its growing team and selected 1251 Avenue of the Americas as the location of its new headquarters. Wanting to depart from the typical white prebuild palette that’s often seen among asset management firms, Waterfall Asset Management opted for a custom design that represented the true nature of its brand—the resulting office features a palette that combines elements of warm hospitality and corporate sophistication, with French walnut paneling and exposed black ceilings. Touches of greenery set against stone finishes add a splash of natural elements; meanwhile, characteristic furniture pieces and curated lighting provide the workplace with a contemporary and mature working environment.
588 Broadway Suite #702, New York, NY 10012
STUDIOS Architecture, a 35-year-old practice with a stellar list of clients, is redefining the future of design by enhancing the experience of space through dynamic, program‑driven architecture. Now an international practice with six offices, led by 20 principals, STUDIOS’ culture of innovation is driven by a collaborative team of architects and interior designers, crafting inspired solutions that advance their clients’ missions. STUDIOS’ has been praised by The New York Times, Interior Design, and Architectural Record, including being the recipient of their prestigious Good Design is Good Business award. The firm’s work has also earned countless awards from both AIA Nationals and Regional chapters as well as the International Interior Design Association (IIDA).
In 2015, Nickelodeon sought a “grown-up” space that maintained the media company’s vibrant, expressive, and fun character. The TV network hired STUDIOS Architecture to redesign its workspace, which occupies more than six floors of 1515 Broadway. After meeting with the company’s various groups and departments, the STUDIOS team created a unified space that still offered distinct identities for each department. Key design elements include increased exposure to views and daylight; creating necessary private offices; and providing informal “refresh and connect” areas to foster a sense of community. The firm also introduced storage solutions on each floor to maximize space and eliminate clutter.
31 Penn Plaza 132 W 31st St., 5th Floor, New York, NY 10001
Leading NYC design firm TPG Architecture is focused on designing interior environments that provide immense value to its clients. Founded in 1979, the practice has grown from a dual partnership to a firm of around 200 professionals. Today, the company has offices in Long Island and London, working locally and internationally.
TPG Architecture consistently ranks in the top ten Corporate/Office Design and Retail Design firms in the U.S. based on revenue, according to Interior Design Magazine’s “Design Giants” survey. The practice’s core business focuses on corporate interiors and retail design, but it has also cultivated practice groups in advanced technology and broadcast, architecture, health-care, education, hospitality, and branding and graphics.
In each project, the firm ensures the personalized service of a small firm as well as the breadth and depth of a large organization. In a project for marketing agency Mekanism, TPG Architecture designed the company’s NYC office to emulate the personality of the brand and its storytelling expertise. The overall design concept was based on the 1960s Madison Avenue advertising agency era; TPG gave the office a refined, retro, and sophisticated look. Key design features include the live moss wall in the elevator lobby and chandeliers adoring the conference rooms named after the popular 90s TV show American Gladiators. Additionally, the playfulness of the brand was emulated through a variety of wall coverings and textures throughout the space. The office was also fitted with a variety of support and amenity spaces, including huddle rooms, a photo studio, an editing suite, and a fitness center.
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