Dezeen Magazine

Century-old architecture firm Swanke Hayden Connell files for bankruptcy

News: Swanke Hayden Connell Architects – the firm behind the Fifth Avenue Trump Tower and the Statue of Liberty restoration – has filed for bankruptcy, claiming that it is owed $2 million dollars by a Russian client.

New York City-based Swanke Hayden Connell, which operated under different guises since 1906, has filed for Chapter 11 protection after failing to receive $2,296,505 (£1,511,987) in fees from a Russian client who refuses to pay.

Unlike most companies that claim bankruptcy, the firm has no bank debt and no unsecured loans.

The statement filed in court by Richard S Hayden, who owns two thirds of the business, cites a slowdown in the economy and new projects as the reason it can no longer pay its creditors.

Swanke Hayden Connell, whose portfolio also includes the revival of Central Park's Tavern on the Green and the New York City Office of Emergency Management, has worked on several projects in Russia in recent years, most notably the Eurasia Tower for the Russian Federation.

Hayden's statement does not disclose the identity of the Russian client, who claims to have suffered damages as a result of alleged delays and omissions from the architects.

"There are also unresolved political and economic issues which may play a role in the outcome," it reads.

The firm was once one of the world's largest practices and was ranked as the 53rd biggest employer of architects internationally in 2001, but is believed to have suffered a significant drop in income over the last five years. Two of its principals left in 2014 and, at the time of the bankruptcy filing, it was down to just 32 employees.

The main creditors listed are M-E Engineers, owed $632,000 (£416,000); United Reprographic Services owed $499,000 (£329,000); and consultant Hankins & Anderson, owed $294,000 (£194,000).

Image of the Statue of Liberty courtesy of Shutterstock.