5 Most Influential Architecture Firms in Houston
Houston’s architectural landscape is an eclectic one that mirrors our diverse city. Below are five firms that have influenced Houston for the better and created built environments that now define Space City.
1. Studio Red Architects
Studio Red, led by partners Pete Ed Garrett, Trung Doan, Brady Vinje and Jared Wood, has stamped its mark on the Houston landscape. Named the 2015 AIA Houston Firm of the Year, Studio Red has completed numerous noteworthy projects in the greater Houston area, including the Alley Theatre, Lakewood Church, Wortham Center, Hobby Center, Treehouse Memorial City and the City of Houston Permitting Building, among others. Pete Ed tells us Studio Red’s secret to success is maintaining a group of people who are passionate about both architecture and excellence. The firm has several big projects in the works, including the Saudi Consulate, Sugar Land Smart Financial Center, St. Thomas Performing Arts Center and SEARCH Headquarters.
2. Kirksey Architecture
Kirksey has been a staple in Houston since president John Kirksey opened the firm in 1971. The company boasts a fun, vibrant culture and a lengthy portfolio including the Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA, Memorial Hermann Medical Plaza, Menninger Clinic, Energy Center 3, 4 and 5, and Friedkin companies campus. The firm was recently included in Architect magazine’s list of top 50 architects, sitting at No. 20 nationally. Managing principal Wes Good says firm leaders avoid overmanaging and instead let the company grow organically around its strengths, one of which is sustainable architecture. Noteworthy projects on the docket for the firm include Belfiore Condominiums, Milby High School, Hotel Zaza and Kirby Collection.
The only black cape firm to make our list, Gensler has managed to leverage its international portfolio to get and complete meaningful work in the Houston area. A few of its big projects include the Houston Ballet Center for Dance, Exxon Mobil Campus, JW Marriott, IAH renovation and expansion, and United Way of Greater Houston. Consistently listed as one of the top architects worldwide, the firm was recently named the Texas Society of Architects Firm of the Year 2015, and founder Art Gensler tells us one key to their success is maintaining a culture where everyone is valued–from office assistants to high-profile designers. Projects in the pipeline include Springwoods Marriott, the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Capital Tower and Hotel Alessandra.
4. FKP Architects
HQ'd in Houston, FKP is leaving its mark on the Houston healthcare industry in particular. Noteworthy projects include Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women, Rice University BioScience Research Collaborative, MD Anderson Cancer Center Ambulatory Clinical Building and Texas Children’s Hospital Feigin Research Center. Recently named to the Zweig Group’s list of the 2015 Best Firms to Work For, FKP manages to balance office culture and productivity. The firm has several projects in the works, including Texas Children’s Hospital Woodlands Campus, Memorial Hermann Katy Hospital expansion and a 19-story patient tower addition at Texas Children’s Hospital.
5. Ziegler Cooper Architects
Located on the beautifully renovated third floor of the Bank of America building, Ziegler Cooper has been a major player in the Houston market for over 30 years. The firm has a varied portfolio, including the 800 Bell Renovation, San Felipe Place, 2727 Kirby and The Kinkaid School. Ziegler Cooper is growing, and several months ago acquired Hall Barnum Lucchesi Architects. Founding principal Scott Ziegler says the move was to better serve clients in the worship, educational and community sectors. Big projects in progress include Hines Market Square, John Cooper School Rock Math & Science Center, Westchase Park II and The Sovereign.