BD’s survey of world’s largest architecture firms sees familiar name retain top spot

WA100 2024

Global consultancy giant Arcadis joins this year’s WA100, BD’s international survey of the world’s 100 largest firms for the first time, putting it second only to Gensler in the list of rankings.

Arcadis, which reports employing 1,956 architects and a turnover of $370m - $379m, acquired Canadian practice IBI in 2022. IBI previously appeared in the WA100 as an independent business, reporting 977 architects in 2021. 

The €4bn turnover Dutch-based consultant, which has been headed since last year by Briton Alan Brookes, has since brought the firm together with architect CallinsonRTKL, which it acquired 10 years ago, under the Arcadis name.

Mansoor Kazerouni, Arcadis’ global director, architecture and urbanism and former global director of buildings at IBI, said: “Rather than having three distinct groups, we bring them together and create a single unified architecture entity under the places business area that would play on the strengths of all three groups,.”

He added that former IBI and CallinsonRTKL offices will be consolidated into a single office in cities where each had an individual presence.

> Also read: WA100 2024: The big list

The Curv by Arcadis

Source: Commonground Studios

The Curv in Vancouver was designed by UK practice WKK with Arcadis as executive architect. It will be the world’s tallest Passivhaus building when it completes in 2027

According to the BD survey, carried out by Building’s sister tite, Gensler, which has retained the top spot in the rankings since 2016, lost four architects over the year but still employs over 3,000 architects, a barrier it broke through for the first time in 2023. Foster & Partners, the UK’s largest practice moves up two places to 20th in the rankings with 544 architects, an increase of 61 over the year. Second placed UK firm BDP moves up one place to 23rd in the rankings and third placed Zaha Hadid Architects three places to 28th with 369 architects. Infrastructure specialist Weston Williamson & Partners makes an appearance in the rankings for the first time in 92nd place.

The survey also reveals that Saudi Arabia is regarded as the most promising place by architects for growth by a considerable margin, a jump from fourth place last year.

The country has 14 giga projects on the go including desert mega development Neom, which includes a 170km long city called the Line. Most of the top 10 WA100 practices have offices or are involved in projects in the country. 

China, which was once regarded as having the most promising work prospects has slipped in architects’ estimation. Architects report that the residential market is all but dead and local design institutes are now taking on work formerly done by international practices.

Overall, architects are optimistic about global work prospects in the year ahead with 61% expecting growth, a jump on last year’s 49% when the world economy was being buffeted by the Ukraine war and inflation.

This year’s optimism is reflected in the recruitment survey with over 60% of firms saying they didn’t expect to let any architects go this year and 41% expecting to take on 11-30 staff.

World Architecture Live 2024


Now in its third year World Architecture 100 Live is a full-day international event talking to some of the biggest global architects about the reality of working in the global arena – including the state of the global market, latest technological influences and the international client drivers. 

Join us from 9.30am GMT on 6 February for live panel and interview sessions and exclusive content that will provide insight, advice and analysis for practices looking to expand their global footprint.