For the first time, a five-tiered index recognizes firms for their influence and knowledge.

For the first time in 2010, the revered Almanac of Architecture & Design presents a five-tiered index that recognizes firms according to their influence, brand strength, record of award-winning projects, and deep knowledge in specialties and geographies. The index, appearing in the Almanac‘s “America’s Leading Architecture & Design Firms” chapter, uses the following categories:

  • Tier one: Global and categorical leader. These are the global elite firms distinctive for their frequency of top awards, sector leadership, and media exposure.
  • Tier two: Exceptional national and categorical leader. These firms are dominant national players that are sought-after in their areas of expertise and are quoted in the media as experts in their field.
  • Tier three: Strong regional and categorical sector leader. These firms are regional powerhouses that win awards regionally with occasional national and international recognition.
  • Tier four: Notable and growing with emerging categorical recognition. These firms are growing in importance on a regional stage and with occasional national awards and client mentions for offering new forms, new processes, and new value propositions.
  • Tier five: Professional practice notable in city and region. These firms are located in cities throughout North America and primarily serve their region with architecture and design services.

According to Almanac Publisher and Founding Editor James P. Cramer, the index was created to weight the influence of firms in the marketplace and to understand trends in service value propositions and brand strength by professional practices.

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There are currently 93 tier-one global and categorical leaders in North America, according to the Almanac. This group represents the design elite, having driven to the top of the approximately 20,500 architecture and design firms in North America.

The state with the most tier-one firms is New York (17), followed closely by California (16). Firms in tier one fall into all size categories: small (under 25 employees), medium (26 – 100 employees), large (101 – 500 employees), and extra large (more than 501 employees). Of the 93 tier-one firms, 22 are classified as extra large and seven are small.

Also for the first time, the 2010 Almanac lists the top revenue-generating firms, sharing information about their U.S.  and worldwide revenues, market segments served, principals, number of staff, and more. This list, the “DesignIntelligence 333,” is topped by:

   1. Gensler
   2. HOK
   3. AECOM (Architecture)
   4. Perkins+Will
   5. HKS Inc.

The 2010 Almanac, which is available this year in four different covers, includes the kind of essential facts and data that readers have relied on for a decade:

  • Noteworthy firm statistics and anniversariesExtensive award listings
  • Buildings by type and the architects who designed them
  • Salary and compensation guide from DesignIntelligence
  • Need-to-know resources on green design and historic preservation

The Almanac of Architecture & Design is available in the DI Bookstore.