Top of the List: Architecture, Design Firms


St. Louis Business Journal - by Nick Ledden


Date: Friday, July 1, 2011, 9:39am CDT


With 43 licensed architects in St. Louis, HOK again tops the list of the area’s largest architecture firms. The global planning and design company, founded here in 1955, employs more than 390 architects and 1,800 professionals in 25 offices on three continents. 


HOK posted nearly $258 million in firmwide architectural billings last year, and more than $4.3 million of that was produced locally. Only Jacobs, again ranked third this year with 36 licensed architects in St. Louis, had higher firmwide architectural billings — that would be $821 million — in 2010. Jacobs declined to break-out what portion of last year’s architectural billings were local. 


Cannon Design came in second again this year with 40 licensed architects locally. CASCO Diversified Corp., jumped five spots from ninth place last year to rank fourth this year. It has 28 licensed architects working in the metro area. The firm told us it had 17 licensed architects locally about this time last year.  


Chiodini Associates also rose five spots on the list, finishing 10th this year with 15 licensed architects locally. Last year, the firm had 10 licensed architects locally and was ranked 15th in a three-way tie. 


But the largest gainer on this year’s list is Korte Design, which jumped eight places to rank 16th in a tie after finishing tied for 24th place last year. The firm has nine licensed architects locally, up from the six it was listed with last year. Darlene Rutkowski- Hanks, a managing principal with The Korte Co., said the growth came from designbuild work for the government. “We are also seeing the private marketplace coming back to life.” 


Christner and Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets again tied for fifth place with 27 licensed architects locally while Lawrence Group Architects ranked seventh this year with 24.   


Together, the area’s 25 largest architecture firms employ more than 420 licensed architects. Two additional companies, Oculus Inc. and the Gray Design Group, just missed making this year’s list.  


Also appearing this week is a logical companion to the architecture firms list — to wit, our annual compilation of the area’s largest interior design firms, ranked by number of local full-time equivalent designers. We expanded this year’s list to include the area’s 15 largest firms, up from the 10-firm list published last year. 


Lawrence Group Colors, with 26 full-time equivalent designers, again ranks first. Arcturis, ranked second last year in a tie, Directions In Design, ranked fifth last year in a tie, and HOK, ranked fourth last year, finished in a three-way tie for second this year. Each firm has 20 designers. Spellman Brady & Co. is again ranked fifth with 19. 


Check out this week’s Business Journal for this year’s complete lists of the metro area’s largest architecture firms and largest interior design firms. If you think your company should be on the list, contact me at (314) 421-8380 or