To celebrate success in the face of adversity, WAN asked a select number of architects to tell us what their greatest achievements of 2009 had been. The answers were more diverse than you might think...
Bucking the downward trend in the design and construction sector, Devereux Architects has signalled confidence in its future by recruiting more staff and opening a new office in Manchester to increase its national coverage, taking advantage of education, healthcare, leisure and hospitality opportunities in and around the North West region.Devereux Architects
Gensler’s would be winning the Shanghai Tower - above Fosters!Gensler
Probably our greatest achievement this year is that - in contrast with a lot of offices in the field - we did not have to let any people go. We even had to hire extra architects because work kept coming in, resulting in a very good business year. Especially during times like these, this probably also has to do with our expertise in and strong inclination towards strict budget control and time management. Furthermore, the European Centre for Architecture, Art, Design and Urban Studies elected our associated architect Ronald Schleurholts as one of the 40 most promising and emerging European designers under 40 years of age, which is of course very honourable.cepezed
Successfully redirecting the company to infrastructure work – completing the first phase of the world’s longest automated rail system Dubai Metro and winning the design competition for the West Kowloon Terminus of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou Express Rail Link.Aedas, Asia and Middle East
ZGF Architects LLP’s greatest achievement this year was to mount four wind turbines atop its new Portland office building, Twelve I West, representing the first U.S. installation of wind turbines on an urban high-rise. The turbines rise 320’ above ground level, well above the major turbulence caused by irregularities in the built environment below. Predicted to generate roughly 10,000 kWh per year or 1% of the building energy, the turbines will help advance the application of building-integrated wind power in an urban setting and provide a roadmap for others.ZGF Architects LLP
It has undoubtedly been one of the toughest years on record for the architecture and construction industry but RMJM faced the economic crisis head on. We restructured our business to create global studios in growth areas earmarked for significant public spending. We also ventured into countries typically off the radar for many firms of our kind, including Libya, Doha and Turkey, demonstrating our commitment to planning for our long-term growth by pursuing opportunities in emerging and developing markets. This approach proved successful and we opened offices in Vladivostok and Istanbul, where we have secured high profile projects. The team in Russia secured the contract to design 2 five star hotels in Vladivostok ahead of the city hosting the 2012 APEC Summit. In connection to this, the office also won the contract to develop one of Russia’s new gambling zones at Cape Turtle. In Turkey, whilst a number of our competitors were retrenching, we opened an office and promptly won a US $1 billion development in Istanbul’s new residential and business district, which will be one of the ‘greenest’ projects in Turkey. The luxury 372,000 square metre development will be located in the Atasehir district of Istanbul which the Turkish government intends to transform into the country’s new financial district and business centre. RMJM
This year has been both challenging and rewarding for us. It is our 50th anniversary this year and over the last half century we have experienced different stages of economic cycles, only to emerge stronger, with a more robust business and marketing strategies to take us forward.
Our philosophy of designing quality buildings that are culturally sensitive, withstands the test of time. This formula was implemented internationally from strong local representation, which brought us international success and was recognised this year by a number of awards, including The Queen’s Award for
Enterprise: International Trade (press release attached), The International Trade Award: London Region, AJ Employer of the Year, Central & Eastern Europe Quality Awards: Architect of the year (for the second consecutive year), Central & Eastern Europe Real Estate Awards: Architect of the year.
Our international expansion continued with three new offices opening in 2008 in Kiev, Shanghai and New Delhi and two new offices opening this year in São Paulo and Abu Dhabi. Our business strategies for these new offices are long-term, so we will be focusing on developing strong presence in these regions over the next few years. We believe that India, China and Brazil will be amongst our key markets in the future.
Actually, winning the Housing+ competition was our greatest achievement this year in the respect that the project has a very far reaching impact for sustainable architecture all over Europe. The project is proof of concept for a very down-to-earth approach to energy neutral housing at an affordable price.
The other project I would like to mention is the Bellahoj Swimming Stadium in Copenhagen that we completed this year. A project that both provides a run down part of the city with outdoor recreative facilities, an international size swimming stadium and a meeting point for skaters and street sports enthusiasts. Arkitema
Whilst we had a number of successes this year relating to projects being completed such as the Moebius House. Our biggest achievement this year is finishing the year no worse off than we were 12 months ago.
Tony Owen Partners
We've placed the last portion of structure of our Holemkollen skijump making it the longest cantilevered building in the world Julien De Smedt
Big question, that one: I'd say apart from collectively pulling through the greatest downturn (in my time) without crippling our firm, it's probably completing the Darwin Centre this year: 8 years in the making, and a fantastic response from the public - we are very happy with that!C. F. Møller Architects
Menis Arquitectos office’s greatest achievement in 2009 was keeping on working, with the same intensity as in times before crisis, not having fired any of the employees and instead, having employed new members in our team... from Spain, United States, Japan, Poland, Germany...architects as well as students. It was a great joy to go to the office and see it was full as always with people working.Menis Arquitectos
This year ORMS transformed 20 Gracechurch Street (one of the largest office buildings in the City of London at 320,000 sqft) with a large scale yet sensitive refurbishment, and despite the severely depressed tenant market over 80% of the newly transformed building has been let.ORMS
Our greatest achievement has been signing the contract for our first resort project in Libya.
As you say it's been a challenging year and a key strategy for us has been to spread our risk and to focus our expertise on emerging markets abroad. The resort will provide a 350 bed hotel with 45 luxury villas, leisure facilities and access to a private beach.Dexter Moren
Inauguration of the New Porsche Museum, Completion of the FH Campus Wien University complex and the Release of our latest publication: The book about the Porsche Museum
DELUGAN MEISSL ASSOCIATED ARCHITECTS
2009 has been a notoriously difficult year for all in the sector, but at Capita Architecture we have exceeded our targets, expanded our team and grown considerably, in the UK and internationally. We have been quietly proud whilst surpassing expectations with every successfully completed project completed this year, but in 2010 intend to shout a little louder about our achievements, so watch this space!Capita Architecture
For Architype this has been a challenging year, but we feel our greatest achievement is becoming the first architect to win a prestigeous Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy and to end the year, not only with more work than we started with, but with new work that is made up of varied and exciting projects for great clients who genuinely share our aspiration for achieving real sustainability through good design.Architype
KPF continued its worldwide growth in 2009, despite the economic downturn, expanding to over 500 people, securing a number of high profile commissions including the Lotte Super Tower 123 in Seoul, and completing a variety of notable projects such as the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas, the RBC Centre in Toronto, and both the International School and Central Park at New Songdo City in Incheon.KPF
For businesses around the world, 2009 presented a new set of challenges but despite the fragile world economy, this year Benoy was delighted to be able to
celebrate the opening of a number of award-winning, landmark schemes. Just last month, ION Orchard in Singapore scooped Best Retail Destination – Asia at MIPIM Asia and Benoy was heralded as Best British Business at the British Business Awards in China.Benoy
Our greatest achievement this your would be »Construction of the Sports Park Stozice«, which will be built till June, 2010.Sadar Vuga Arhitekti
Make’s greatest achievement is arriving at the end of the year in a strong position for 2010. 2009 will be remembered as the year when our Employee-Owned Structure truly came into its own, allowing us to weather the difficulties of the year in order to move forward positively. Make Architects
“For a one year old practice as ours, the biggest achievement of the past year  must be the fact, especially in these difficult times, to be able to look back and reflect upon the achievements of the past year.”
We believe our firm’s greatest achievement this year was remaining true to our company values of design excellence, collaboration, and respect for the viewpoints of others in a changing world – and building towards a better future.
Kasian’s design of the Canada Line rapid transit system YVR-Airport Station features one of the largest green walls in North America, sweeping west coast views, and a direct connection to the city of Vancouver. Opened in August 2009, this project finished on budget and three months ahead of schedule. KASIAN ARCHITECTURE
We’ve been participating in four competitions this year, and won three of those. Besides we’ve handled many building sites, bigger and smaller, in normal and extreme landscape and weather conditions.REIULF RAMSTAD ARKITEKTER AS
Keeping terminations to a minimum in the face of the Economic Crisis, keeping our KEO family as secure as possible, and keeping our promises to our clients continuing to go from strength to strength in project delivery.KEO
2009, one of the most difficult years economically for some time, coincided with Penoyre & Prasad's 21st anniversary. We were delighted to be
able to celebrate with a workforce not only intact but scheduled to expand in 2010.
Penoyre & Prasad
Bennetts Associates’ biggest achievement of 2009 was ending the year with the same headcount as 12 months ago. Thanks to some loyal clients and the practice’s versatility we’ve managed to weather the storm and pick up some really interesting projects along the way. Bennetts Associates
The publication of The Architecture of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill - a five monograph set - by Monacelli press combined with topping out on 3 of the top 10 World’s Tallest Buildings, being named the most innovative architecture firm in the world by Fast Company Magazine. On top of this we also won 5 R+D Awards, 6 Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Awards, 4 SPARK awards, and 4 National AIA Honor Awards. Furthermore, our Structural Engineers currently have 5 patents pending for their award-winning innovations (including the SFIS and the Pin Fuse Joint) that are not only structurally sound, but also highly sustainable structural solutions.SOM
NBBJ is honoured to support the health and wellness of Ireland's children with the design of the new Children’s Hospital of Ireland in Dublin.NBBJ
"Our achievement in the face of adversity is : to remain committed to quality within a construction industry that seeks an ever lower benchmark, and to have won two major art gallery projects in Europe"Stanton Williams
We had many great achievements this year as a firm; in particular winning the WAN Best Urban Design Sector Award for Nordhavnen: City Regenerative, and completing our first LEED Platinum building. Despite the global economic climate throughout the year, we’ve been able to pursue and win projects in the U.S., Africa, and the Middle East while staying true to our design vision and business goals. As we look to the New Year, we remain cautious, but we are optimistic.FXFOWLE Architects
Editorial , London
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