Meet the architects bringing NYC’s biggest 2017 projects to life
Top 10 firms working on year’s largest developments
By Kathryn Brenzel
The architecture firm behind the largest new project started this year was Ohio-based Ford & Associates.
The firm was hired by Matrix Development Group, which plans to build a 2.3- million-square-foot commercial manufacturing building at 546 Gulf Avenue in Staten Island. Part of the building will be home to Amazon’s first distribution center in New York.
The Seattle-based behemoth announced in June that it planned to take 975,000 square feet. The project is the second phase of the New Jersey-based developer’s large commercial complex, which will eventually span 3.5 million square feet. The complex’s other two buildings — at 566 and 586 Gulf Avenue — were among the 10 largest project’s initiated in 2016.
The Real Deal compiled a list of the top architecture firms of 2017, based on the square footage of their projects. Certain firms that ranked among the top 10 firms in 2016 — including Hill & West, Adamson Associates Architects, Margulies Hoelzli Architecture and Moed De Armas & Shannon — didn’t make the cut this year. For some of the companies, working as the architect of record on major developments dramatically increased the total square footage of their projects for 2016.
Such was the case for Adamson, who worked as the architect of record for Tishman Speyer’s “the Spiral,” a 2.2-million-square-foot office tower planned for Hudson Yards. Starchitect Bjarke Ingels and his firm BIG is the design architect of that project.
Here are the firms working on the largest projects for which plans were filed with the city’s Department of Buildings in 2017:
1) Ford & Associates | Number of projects: 1 | Total sf: 2.3 million With just one project, the Amazon-anchored distribution center, Ohio-based Ford & Associates topped TRD‘s ranking of architecture firms behind the year’s largest projects. The firm’s work focuses on large-scale commercial projects, including corporate office complexes and manufacturing centers. The firm is registered to work in 26 states, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
2) SLCE Architects | Number of projects: 12 | Total sf: 2.2 million In October, TF Cornerstone filed plans for a 56-story, 800-unit building in Long Island City. The project, planned for 52-03 Center Boulevard, represents SLCE’s largest new gig this year at 774,624 square feet. The architecture firm, whose office is based in Midtown, is one of the city’s most prolific. According to a previous analysis by TRD, SLCE was Manhattan’s most active firm between 2010 and 2015, acting as the design architect or the architect of record for 27 projects during that time. SLCE ranked third last year with 13 projects that spanned 1.6 million square feet.
3) Skidmore Owings & Merrill | Number of projects: 2 | Total sf: 1.8 million One of the last towers planned for Brookfield Property Partners’ five-building complex known as Manhattan West is a 59-story, 1.75-million-square-foot office building at 401 West 31st Street. The design for the tower, known as 2 Manhattan West, closely mirrors that of One Manhattan West, a 62-story office tower that is also designed by SOM. Both towers feature a glassy lobby that showcases the building’s core. The other project that SOM is working on —for which plans were filed this year — is a 12,736-square-foot, four-story retail building at 442 West 33rd Street. This smaller building is also part of Brookfield’s Manhattan West. SOM, the firm behind One World Trade Center, didn’t rank in last year’s list of the architecture firms working on the city’s largest projects.
4) Dattner Architects | Number of projects: 8 | Total sf: 1.7 million Last year, Dattner ranked ninth with nearly 781,000 square feet across five projects. The firm’s work is heavily focused on schools, affordable housing, parks and infrastructure, and its largest project this year is no exception. In January, affordable housing developer Phipps Houses filed plans for 250 Euclid Avenue in the Cypress Hills section of East New York. The project is expected to have just over 400 units and span nearly 400,000 square feet. The firm’s second largest project initiated this year was a 350,650-square-foot affordable housing development at 1560 Boone Avenue in the Bronx. Monadnock Development filed plans for the 16-story building in August.
5) Aufgang Architects | Number of projects: 15 | Total sf: 1.5 million Aufgang’s largest project this year was 1755 Watson Avenue, a 283,346-square- foot mixed-use building in the Bronx. A majority of the space — nearly 256,000 square feet — is slated for residential use. Roughly 16,600 square feet will be set aside for retail and commercial use on the ground floor, according to documents filed with the DOB. Azimuth Development Group filed plans for the project in mid-December. According to New York YIMBY, the site was rezoned to allow for a larger project. Aufgang didn’t make TRD‘s 2016 ranking. A majority of its projects this year are planned for Brooklyn and the Bronx.
6) Magnusson Architecture and Planning | Number of projects: 9 | Total sf: 1.1 million MAP is working on a 224,604-square-foot, 255-unit apartment building at BRP Development’s 800 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, the firm’s largest project this year. The firm’s second-largest project closely follows at a planned 204,924 square feet. That project, at 2858 Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn, is expected to feature 235 housing units. The developer on that project, Radson Development, also tapped MAP to design a 166-unit residential building in Far Rockaway at 19-38 Cornaga Avenue. The architecture firm does a lot of affordable and supportive housing work. MAP began working on affordable housing in Melrose more than 30 years ago. The firm has designed and built roughly 20 buildings in the Melrose Commons Urban Renewal Plan, a massive redevelopment in the South Bronx.
7) Morris Adjmi Architects | Number of projects: 4 | Total sf: 951,000 In August, Kushner Companies and its partners CIM Group and LIVWRK filed plans for an 874,149-square-foot residential building at 85 Jay Street in Brooklyn. The developers tapped Morris Adjmi to design the 21-story building, making the project the architecture firm’s largest this year. Kushner and LIVWRK previously worked with the firm on the condo conversion of the Austin Nichols House in Williamsburg. Morris Adjmi, which opened its New York office in 1987, didn’t rank on last year’s top 10 architecture firms. One of the company’s most prominent recent projects is the Samsung building in the Meatpacking District. The firm’s done extensive restoration work, as well as ground-up work that requires approval from the Landmark Preservation Commission. Its second largest project this year is a seven-story, 35,000-square-foot residential building planned for 540-544 Hudson Street in the West Village. The firm presented to project to Landmarks this past summer.
8) CetraRuddy | Number of projects: 2 | Total sf: 869,000 Last year, CetraRuddy ranked fifth among the top architects of 2016 with four projects totaling nearly 1.5 million square feet. The firm’s largest project this year was a 607,000-square-foot, 57-story residential tower planned for 520 West 41st Street. The project is part of a larger development planned by Silverstein Properties for the former site of a Mercedes-Benz dealership, which the developer picked up in 2015 for $115 million. According to YIMBY, a larger commercial tower is also planned for the site.
9) Davis Brody Bond | Number of projects: 4 | Total sf: 843,000 In April 2009, Davis Brody Bond was selected — along with three other architecture firms — to design the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The firm, which is headquartered in Manhattan, largely focuses on cultural and institutional facilities. However, this year, its largest projects in the city were two buildings at the Durst Organization’s Hallets Point development in Astoria. Durst tapped the firm to work on 26-02 1st Street, which will span 269,346 square feet and feature 294 units; and on 26-40 1st Street, which will have 358 units and span 349,470 square feet.
10) S9 Architecture | Number of projects: 4 | Total sf: 737,000 In early December, the Richmond Group filed plans for 201 East 125th Street in East Harlem. S9 Architecture was tapped to design the 19-story, 420,700-square-foot residential building, making it the firm’s largest project of 2017.
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