Top Architecture Schools and Firms

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Ah, lists. Who doesn't like them? David Letterman has a new one every night, Nixon had one, and no ESPN broadcast is complete without at least one. Even Santa Claus has one. After all, they're quick, concise, and get right to the point when we want to know who's the best of the best — or, in some unfortunate cases, the worst of the worst.

Ranking academic and professional institutions is never an easy task — after all, how does one go about compiling statistics? What data makes for a fair and comprehensive comparison? And isn't it possible, after all, that some may succeed where others have failed? And vice versa?

All of these things are both possible and probable. But when you're trying to gain traction in a career like architecture, it can be difficult to know where your effort and investment are best spent. Enter, the cyber home of Dr. Garry Steven's Key Centre for Architectural Sociology.

Architectural Sociology? What's that, you ask? It's an Australian-based site which professes to be "in the business of studying architects, not practicing architecture." For the record, Dr. Garry Stevens, Ph.D., is an architectural academic who taught in both the United States and Australia throughout the 1980s and 90s. He is not a registered architect, but he does have both a bachelor's degree and a Ph.D. in architecture.

Stevens and published a ranking of the top architecture schools in six regions where English is the dominant language: the United States, Australia, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and (counting as one region) New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Ireland.

The rankings were based on examinations of the universities' senior academics who have contributed research to the school's architecture department. Stevens says that, "For each academic, we counted his or her references in the two great library databases of the RIBA and the Avery Library. This gave a research score for each person. We then calculated the median research score for each school. That is, the typical research score of an academic at that school."

Hence, the top architecture schools in the United States region and their corresponding research scores are as follows:
  1. Columbia University - 31

  2. Princeton University -19

  3. Cooper Union - 16

  4. Harvard University - 16

  5. University of Pennsylvania - 11

  6. University of California, Berkeley - 10

  7. Rice University - 9

  8. Yale University - 8

  9. University of Notre Dame - 5

  10. Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 5

  11. University of California, Los Angeles - 5

  12. Northeastern University - 5

  13. University of Maryland - 5

  14. Carnegie Mellon University - 4

  15. Tulane University - 4

  16. University of Miami - 4

  17. University of Minnesota - 4

  18. University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee - 4

  19. University of Southern California - 3

  20. University of Texas at Austin - 3

  21. Rhode Island School of Design - 3

  22. Ohio State University - 3

  23. University of Washington - 3

  24. Pratt Institute - 2

  25. University of Michigan - 2
Which brings us to list number two. Though this year's figures are yet to be published, the 2006 rankings of the best architecture firms to work for by ArchitectureWeek are still packing a punch on those looking to make strides in the industry.

ArchitectureWeek determined which firms would top the list by using the following criteria: "The firms were selected based on their commitment to provide a positive work environment and challenging and interesting design opportunities for their employees."

So the bottom line was not the bottom line for making it onto this list.

It's also slightly surprising (and maybe even a bit heartening) that none of the top twenty firms in the United States region are found in the usual architect metropolises of Manhattan, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Seattle.
  1. FRCH Design Worldwide, Cincinnati, OH
    Number of employees: 200

  2. Little, Charlotte, NC
    Number of employees: 275

  3. Bloodgood Sharp Buster Architects & Planners, Inc.,

  4. Sasaki Associates, Inc., Watertown, MA
    Number of employees: 250

  5. EDSA, Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Number of employees: 200

  6. BSA LifeStructures, Indianapolis, IN
    Number of employees: 215

  7. Scott & Goble Architects, Tulsa, OK
    Number of employees: 70

  8. RNL Design, Denver, CO
    Number of employees: 200

  9. Mackey Mitchell Associates, St. Louis, MO
    Number of employees: 45

  10. Kahler Slater, Milwaukee, WI
    Number of employees: 125

  11. Harley Ellis Devereaux, Southfield, MI
    Number of employees: 500

  12. MulvannyG2 Architecture, Bellevue, WA
    Number of employees: 400

  13. JLG Architects, Grand Forks, ND
    Number of employees: 25

  14. Hnedak Bobo Group, Inc., Memphis, TN
    Number of employees: 100

  15. WESKetch Architecture, Millington, NJ
    Number of employees: 30

  16. Dominick Tringali Architects, Inc., Bloomfield, MI
    Number of employees: 25

  17. Perkowitz+Ruth Architects, Long Beach, CA
    Number of employees: 320

  18. Cuhaci & Peterson, Architects, Orlando, FL
    Number of employees: 100

  19. SGA Companies, Inc., Bethesda, MD
    Number of employees: 15

  20. Maxwell Johanson Maher Architects, Nashville, TN
    Number of employees: 40

On the net:Rating the USA's Architecture Schools: 2007

ZweigWhite and ArchitectureWeek announce the 2006 Ranking of the Top 20 Best Architecture Firms to Work For If this article has helped you in some way, will you say thanks by sharing it through a share, like, a link, or an email to someone you think would appreciate the reference.

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