25 best architecture firms in the United Kingdom
Jack Hobhouse

25 best architecture firms in the United Kingdom

15 May 2023  •  News  •  By Surabhi Patil

The architectural tapestry of the United Kingdom paints a vibrant picture, where history and culture interweave seamlessly across its constituent nations: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It serves as a testament to the country's diverse heritage, where medieval castles and cathedrals harmoniously coexist with contemporary structures that define its ever-evolving skyline. From the grandeur of Georgian townhouses to the utilitarianism of post-war Brutalism, the UK’s architecture reflects the shifting values of its society. Today, as sustainability and inclusivity take centre stage, architects in the UK are responding to the pressing challenges of climate change and universal design by embracing innovative materials, technology, and community-driven design approaches. The following list comprises a selection of 25 such firms that create spaces that inspire, transform and celebrate the architectural landscape of the country. 



photo_credit Hufton + Crow
Hufton + Crow

1. Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid Architects, founded by the visionary architect Zaha Hadid, has garnered global acclaim for its groundbreaking contributions to the field of architecture. Recipient of the esteemed Pritzker Prize in 2004, Hadid's architectural endeavours are a striking fusion of urbanism, design, and meticulous research. The firm delves into the captivating interplay between architecture, landscape, and geology, seamlessly integrating natural topography with cutting-edge technologies. This approach gives rise to awe-inspiring and unexpected architectural forms that stir the imagination. Collaborations with esteemed artists, designers, engineers, and forward-thinking clients have enriched the firm's diverse expertise, while the utilization of state-of-the-art technologies enables the realization of fluid and intricate architectural structures. Hadid's visionary creations have been showcased at prestigious institutions like the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and London's Design Museum, cementing her enduring influence on the world of architecture.



photo_credit Nigel Young
Nigel Young

2. Foster + Partners

Established by Norman Foster in 1967, Foster + Partners is an internationally renowned studio that places great emphasis on the involvement of individuals in all aspects of its work. With offices worldwide, the studio specializes in sustainable architecture, urbanism, engineering, and design. The partners, who are all shareholders, assume accountability for all projects, which are distributed among the firm's six architectural studios. Upholding the practice's design principles, the Design Board meticulously evaluates each project at every stage of its progression.



photo_credit Simon Menges
Simon Menges

3. David Chipperfield Architects

Founded in 1985, David Chipperfield Architects is an internationally acclaimed firm that operates in both the private and public sectors with offices in London, Berlin, Milan, Shanghai, and Santiago de Compostela. The firm is renowned for its expertise in the design process and the enduring excellence of its projects. Each office is deeply rooted in its local context while united by shared architectural aspirations on a global scale. This collaborative network extends to include DC Design and Fundación RIA, a non-profit research initiative based in Galicia, broadening the practice's scope from product design details to territorial master planning strategies. The practice has been recognized with over 100 awards for design excellence.



photo_credit Hufton+Crow

4. Heatherwick Studio

Heatherwick Studio is a diverse collective of over 200 problem solvers committed to improving the world we inhabit. Based in Central London, their workshop and design studio serves as the birthplace of innovative creations, including buildings, spaces, objects, and infrastructure. Thomas Heatherwick, the studio's founder, brings a background rich in materials and making, fostering a design process where all team members are empowered to challenge and contribute ideas. The firm has a global reach and focuses on large-scale projects that have a profound positive impact on society. As practical inventors, they approach each endeavour without a fixed style, striving to design captivating and meaningful places, embracing the complexities of the real world. Heatherwick Studio's guiding principle is to prioritize the human experience over rigid design principles.



photo_credit Trevor Mein
Trevor Mein

5. Adjaye Associates

Since its establishment in 2000, Adjaye Associates, led by David Adjaye, has cultivated a diverse global team that thrives on a wide-ranging cultural dialogue. With studios in Accra, London, and New York, the practice has left its mark on projects across the world. The firm's impressive portfolio includes an array of completed works such as the 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East headquarters in Manhattan, Ruby City contemporary art center in San Antonio, The Webster flagship retail space in Los Angeles, and the Aïshti Foundation Arts and Shopping Complex in Beirut, among others. Adjaye Associates continues to shape the future with upcoming ventures like the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library in Johannesburg and the UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London, while earning prestigious accolades such as the 2021 RIBA Royal Gold Medal. The practice's architectural contributions exemplify a nuanced approach that integrates context, community, and culture on a global scale.



photo_credit Joas Souza
Joas Souza

6. Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Founded in 1977 as the Richard Rogers Partnership, the firm later transformed into Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in 2007 to honor the contributions of Graham Stirk and Ivan Harbour. With studios in major cities around the world, including London, Paris, Melbourne, Sydney, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and New York, RSHP comprises a talented team of 180 individuals. They undertake a diverse range of projects, approaching each one with a determination to unlock the hidden social and commercial value within even the most challenging and constrained sites. RSHP's design solutions prioritize people's experiences and are characterized by pragmatism and a shared passion for elevating the beauty of difficult spaces. Guided by their constantly evolving Approach, developed over decades, RSHP strives to deliver impactful and uplifting architecture that enhances cities and built environments.



photo_credit Edmund Sumner
Edmund Sumner

7. Make Architects

Established in 2004 by Ken Shuttleworth, Make Architects strive to create the finest places, spaces, and buildings worldwide. With offices in London, Hong Kong, and Sydney, their team of 150 professionals offers comprehensive architectural, interior, and urban design services from initial concepts to final realization. Operating as a unified entity, One Make have established a reputation for world-class expertise. With over 100 successfully completed projects worldwide, they bring a wealth of global knowledge and innovation, encompassing future workplaces, transformative urban designs, luxurious interiors, and pioneering virtual spaces across various sectors.



photo_credit Jonathan Gooch
Jonathan Gooch

8. Paul Archer Design

Paul Archer Design is a renowned architectural practice based in London, celebrated for its award-winning work in the private residential sector. With a rich history spanning over two decades, the firm specializes in transforming existing houses into exquisite, functional homes. Whether through extensions, renovations, revitalizations, or complete remodels, their unwavering dedication lies in delivering exceptional, refined, modern designs. Their approach embraces the principles of Modernist aesthetics while prioritizing sustainability and environmental consciousness. The team at Paul Archer Design takes pride in their extensive expertise, encompassing design mastery, navigating planning permissions, and project management proficiency.



photo_credit Photo Design
Photo Design

9. AR Design Studio

AR Design Studio is an acclaimed contemporary architectural practice based in Winchester, Hampshire. With a focus on designing elegant modern residences, extensions, renovations, and multi-plot developments, the firm has earned recognition as a certified member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Founded more than ten years ago by Andy Ramus, AR Design Studio is characterized by its youthful and ambitious team of contemporary architects. Prior to establishing the practice, Andy gained valuable experience working on diverse projects for prominent London-based firms. Today, AR Design Studio serves as a dynamic hub for innovative architectural design in the Winchester, Hampshire, and Dorset regions.



photo_credit Jack Hobhouse
Jack Hobhouse

10. Squire & Partners

With a rich history spanning four decades, Squire & Partners is an esteemed architecture and design practice renowned for its international reputation in creating contextually informed architecture. The firm's impressive portfolio includes masterplans, workspace designs, retrofit projects, and a wide range of residential developments from affordable housing to luxury co-living and build-to-rent properties, as well as hotels, retail spaces, educational facilities, and public buildings. Complementing their architectural expertise, Squire & Partners also boasts a dedicated interior design department that has curated bespoke product ranges. At the core of their approach is a deep understanding and respect for the heritage and context of each site, incorporating established street patterns, scale, and proportions to craft timeless architecture that is firmly rooted in its surroundings.




11. WilkinsonEyre

Wilkinson Eyre is an architecture firm driven by a relentless pursuit of the highest quality in design. Their global studios are dedicated to creating buildings that not only satisfy clients but also captivate users. Notable achievements include the remarkable restoration of London's Battersea Power Station, transforming it into a vibrant neighborhood and visitor attraction, as well as the construction of headquarters and campuses for prestigious organizations like Dyson, Wellcome Trust, Deutsche Bank, CIBC, Munich RE, Facebook, and Apple. With studios strategically located in London, Hong Kong, and Sydney, Wilkinson Eyre possesses the flexibility and international presence to bring projects to life across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and North America. Their approach integrates architecture, engineering, and cultural sensitivity, leveraging technology and materials to inform their designs.



photo_credit Courtesy of Ben Adams Architects
Courtesy of Ben Adams Architects

12. Ben Adams Architects

Ben Adams Architects is a London-based firm that recognizes patterns of life, work, and leisure with an approach that reflects this by being both contextual and visionary, striking a balance between appropriateness and inspiration. Their portfolio showcases buildings that not only meet client's immediate needs but also possess the flexibility to adapt and grow over time. At the core of their practice is a meticulous process that carefully considers the surrounding context, constraints, and conceptual ideas. By thoroughly grasping the limitations and potentials of each project, they develop a visionary concept that serves as the creative departure point for their designs, ensuring a harmonious blend of functionality and innovation.



photo_credit Daniel Hopkinson
Daniel Hopkinson

13. FCB Studios (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios)

Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios is an ethical and forward-thinking architectural practice known for its commitment to designing spaces that prioritize the human experience, sustainability, and aesthetic appeal. The firm has gained widespread recognition in the industry, receiving numerous prestigious accolades, including 60 RIBA awards. Notably, they were awarded the esteemed RIBA Stirling Prize for their groundbreaking Accordia project, which has set a new standard for housing in the UK. With a history spanning over four decades, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios has grown to encompass four offices across the United Kingdom, all while maintaining a steadfast dedication to the social and cultural values that shape their design philosophy.



photo_credit Brett Charles
Brett Charles

14. OB Architecture Ltd

OB Architecture is a highly regarded architectural studio that prioritizes delivering tangible value through thoughtful and inventive design. With a strong focus on people, the firm is passionate about creating homes that fulfill aspirations and enhance the surrounding environments, whether it be coastlines, mountains, cities, or the countryside. Comprising a team of experienced architects, designers, and technicians, OB Architecture operates from three studios in Winchester, London, and Chamonix, enabling them to undertake projects locally and internationally. Their commitment to being a trusted, authentic, and responsible voice in residential architecture is evident in their responsive and responsible approach to design.



photo_credit Simone Bossi
Simone Bossi

15. McLaren.Excell

McLaren.Excell is an architectural practice led by co-directors Luke McLaren and Robert Excell, specializing in private residential and commercial projects. With a deep passion for their craft, the firm is dedicated to delivering exquisitely conceived and meticulously crafted projects. They prioritize understanding their clients' needs and engage in an intimate, hands-on approach, collaborating closely with trusted individuals. Since its establishment in 2010, McLaren.Excell has rapidly taken on a diverse range of projects, quickly gaining a reputation for creating buildings that exude a sense of serene authority and a keen understanding of their surroundings. Their studio serves as a constant source of exploration, where original ideas are developed into tangible realities through a genuine devotion to exceptional design.



photo_credit Simon Kennedy
Simon Kennedy

16. Hawkins/Brown

Hawkins/Brown is a multidisciplinary firm consisting of architects, urban and interior designers, as well as specialists in various fields. Their comprehensive range of services includes sustainable design, digital design, social research, design for manufacture & assembly, urban data analytics, and briefing and estates optimization. With a firm commitment to demystifying sustainable design, they strive to make it seamlessly integrated into their work. By merging the realms of architecture and software development, they develop innovative solutions that address the complexities of briefing, design, and project delivery. Their approach involves delving into the intricacies of existing facilities, examining day-to-day operations, and analyzing future needs, ensuring that their designs are rooted in a deep understanding of the context and requirements of each project.



photo_credit ©Paul Raftery
©Paul Raftery

17. Grimshaw Architects
Grimshaw is a renowned architectural studio founded by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in 1980. With offices spanning across major cities worldwide, including Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Dubai, Melbourne, Sydney, and Auckland, their team of over 650 staff embraces challenges across diverse projects. Their international portfolio encompasses various sectors and has garnered more than 200 prestigious design awards, attesting to their commitment to design excellence. Recognized for their global reach and breadth of work, Grimshaw was honoured with the AJ100 International Practice of the Year Award in both 2016 and 2018. Their passion for analysis, exploration, and delivering lasting, meaningful designs that bring value and joy to clients and users underpins their studio's ethos.



photo_credit Matthew Clayton
Matthew Clayton

18. Scenario Architecture

Scenario Architecture is a dynamic studio of London architects that specializes in delivering ambitious living spaces that seamlessly combine functionality and sustainability with an elegant touch. The team, known for its friendliness and high level of expertise, passionately works to create extraordinary homes across various locations, each with its own distinctive personality. With a focus on translating clients' visions into unique and deeply personal designs, Scenario Architecture utilizes a revolutionary design process, cutting-edge technology, and sustainable methods. Drawing on years of experience collaborating with local planners and mastering advanced design tools, the studio confidently takes on any building challenge while adhering to strict time frames and budgets. The studio's exceptional work has earned its recognition, including being shortlisted for prestigious architecture prizes such as the 2018 RIBA London Awards.



photo_credit Adam Scott
Adam Scott

19. Fraher & Findlay

Fraher & Findlay is an acclaimed building expertise company that has earned numerous awards for its innovative approach. With a focus on transparency and technology, the firm collaborates closely with homeowners and businesses to provide exceptional services. Founded in 2009 by Joe and Lizzie, Fraher Architects initially specialized in small-scale and award-winning residential projects in London. Over the years, the practice has expanded its size and project scope, continuously striving for improvement and pushing beyond traditional boundaries. Notably, their dedication to excellence led them to partner with Findlay Construction, leveraging their collective expertise to deliver outstanding design and build solutions. This philosophy of evolution and continuous improvement permeates all aspects of their work, from internal projects and staff development to client relations and finding like-minded partners to share in their vision of learning, improving, and refining.



photo_credit © Hufton+Crow
© Hufton+Crow

20. AL_A (Amanda Levete Architects)

AL_A is a highly acclaimed architecture studio founded in 2009 by the renowned architect Amanda Levete, alongside directors Ho-Yin Ng, Alice Dietsch, and Maximiliano Arrocet. With a diverse leadership team, AL_A cultivates a culture of innovative thinking and boundless possibilities, reflected in their practice and designs. Their designs go beyond mere buildings; they envision urban propositions that foster a harmonious relationship between nature and community. AL_A's portfolio boasts notable projects, including the Wadham College undergraduate and outreach centre at the University of Oxford and Maggie's cancer care charity centre at University College Hospital in Southampton. They have also completed significant endeavours such as the Exhibition Road Quarter at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon.



photo_credit  Jim Stephenson
Jim Stephenson

21. nimtim architects

Nimtim Architects is a dynamic architectural practice, located in South London, encompassing architects, landscape designers, and interior designers. Renowned as one of the UK's prominent emerging firms, they have garnered recognition through prestigious accolades such as Architect's Journal's '40 under 40,' Architecture Foundation's 'New Architects 4,' and Wallpaper* magazines '20 practices to watch.' With ARB registration and RIBA Chartered Practice status, Nimtim Architects prioritizes accessibility and transparency in their approach, valuing diversity and embracing different perspectives within their team. By fostering an inclusive environment, they deliver imaginative and transformative projects while providing exceptional support to clients, tailoring solutions to their unique needs and circumstances.



photo_credit © Paul Riddle
© Paul Riddle

22. Alison Brooks Architects Ltd

Alison Brooks Architects is a highly influential and internationally acclaimed design practice based in London. Founded by Alison Brooks in 1996, the studio integrates cultural research into its architectural approach, fostering community engagement and innovative design expressions. Their portfolio showcases a dedication to inclusive city-building, characterized by a distinctive sculptural design language evident in large-scale masterplans, mixed-use developments, educational buildings, private residences, and public art spaces. Alison Brooks Architects views architecture as a social art that enables creative cultural dialogue and contributes to civic identity. Their commitment to design excellence has earned them numerous awards, including the 2020 Dezeen Architect of the Year and 2020 BD Housing Architect of the Year. Notably, they are the only UK practice to have won the RIBA Stirling Prize, the Manser Medal, and the Stephen Lawrence Prize.



photo_credit Gilbert McCarragher
Gilbert McCarragher

23. Bureau de Change

Bureau de Change is an acclaimed architecture practice co-founded by Katerina Dionysopoulou and Billy Mavropoulos. Drawing inspiration from their diverse backgrounds and personal experiences, the studio blends architectural rigour with a touch of theatricality, playfulness, and innovation. Through prototyping, testing, and hands-on making, Bureau de Change brings its rigorous thinking and analysis to life in the design of spaces, products, and environments. In the past four years, Bureau de Change has garnered numerous accolades, including the FX Breakthrough Talent of the Year 2016 and the Sunday Times Architect of the Year Award 2019. They have also been shortlisted for the RIBA Awards 2020.



photo_credit  Oliver Pohlmann
Oliver Pohlmann

24. Oktra

Oktra is the leading office design and fit-out company in the UK, renowned for delivering exceptional projects nationwide from their four studios. With their largest studio located in London, they oversee projects within the M25, while their studios in Birmingham, Guildford, and Manchester cater to clients with offices in other major cities. This strategic setup enables Oktra to provide high-quality service and nationwide coverage to their clients across the UK. Their team of over 200 experts across various disciplines ensures a consistent level of service, including design, graphics, contracts, project management, marketing, and business development, guaranteeing that every project is delivered to the highest standards.


photo_credit  Hufton+Crow

25. John McAslan + Partners

John McAslan + Partners is an esteemed architectural and design practice headquartered in London and Edinburgh, boasting a diverse and acclaimed portfolio of projects both in the UK and internationally. With expertise spanning urban design, infrastructure, commercial, residential, retail, education, and the arts, the firm has achieved remarkable success in revitalizing culturally and historically significant buildings. Notable examples include the iconic De La Warr Pavilion, a Grade I listed Modernist masterpiece in Bexhill, the renowned Roundhouse arts venue in Camden, London, and the esteemed Grade II* listed Peter Jones department store in Sloane Square. In addition, JMP Initiatives spearheads the practice's community and environmental projects worldwide, collaborating with esteemed organizations like the Clinton Global Initiative to create tangible and positive impacts on people's lives through built environment projects.


The selection curated by the Archello editorial team is based on a mixture of the amount of featured projects and the views they generated.