Foster + Partners over a third bigger than
any other architecture firm in UK


Norman Foster

News: "In the spirit of Steve Jobs, when I identify that I am no longer 'with it' I'll retire," says Norman Foster as his firm is named Britain's biggest practice.

Foster + Partners has been crowned the UK's biggest architecture firm for the third year in a row in an annual poll carried out by British architecture magazine the Architects Journal (AJ).

The AJ100 survey ranks firms based on the number of architects employed who are registered with the Britain's Architects Registration Board. According to the survey, Foster's UK offices now employ over 290 architects – almost 90 more than any other architecture business in the country.

In the past 12 months it has also received more than £130 million in fee income, representing more than 40 per cent of the earnings of all of the practices in the AJ100 top 10.

Foster + Partners is now also the second largest user of 3D-printing technology in the world after sports brand Nike, said the AJ.

"In the spirit of Steve Jobs, when I identify that I am no longer 'with it' I'll retire, but I'm presently travelling more than ever and working as hard, if not harder," Foster told the magazine.

"To be in a group where you're working on a boutique winery, while the guys next to you are working on a long, drawn-out megaproject - it is that mix that keeps us sharp," he said.

The announcement comes just weeks after the departure of Foster's long-standing chief executive Mouzhan Majidi, who had been with the company since 1987.

"In certain management roles, you really do need a professional," said Foster. "At a certain point of evolution, architects are probably best at doing what they do best, which is designing buildings."

  • James

    Fosters used to do fantastic work (when it was his own stuff). Now it’s just a big factory for churning out average (and sometimes awful) architecture (the Sage anyone?!). Always the way when practices get too big. Sadly the really good small firms are unknown to the public. Many more people in Britain know of Foster than have heard of Sergison Bates, 6A, or Carmody Groarke but who is doing the best work? Even Tony Fretton or worldwide genuine ‘starchitects’ Zumthor or Olgiati don’t get a look in. But reality TV stars are famous. Sad.

  • Anon

    There are about 400 people at Zaha Hadid Architects, most of which are architects so I doubt this is true.

    • James

      Hadid makes arbitrary shapes with zero regard for context or architectural lineage. Great for big cooperations and councils that need a statement ‘gentrification’ building, but I’d love to see her design an appropriate form for social housing because she certainly couldn’t churn out the same old globalised, look-at-me, bulbous design.

      If you’d said Chipperfield I might have agreed. I’m just saying it seems to be a common thread. The greatest architects are undervalued with very low profiles in comparison to the corporate behemoths.