These were NYC’s busiest architects in 2022
A TRD analysis ranks the 12 firms with the most projects filed last year
Some of the city’s busiest architects in 2022, surprisingly, were busy designing offices.
It seems somewhat counterintuitive, given the uncertain future of the office market. Architects who work in the space acknowledge that office tenants are increasingly flocking to newer, amenity-rich towers, and existing space is being overhauled to accommodate both new ways of working and a workforce that is less frequently present.
But while these shifts in office usage present new challenges for landlords, they mean new opportunities for designers.
“There’s more commercial value in good design than ever before,” said James Phillips, managing executive of TPG Architecture, a firm that specializes in corporate office design.
The Real Deal compiled a list of the most active architecture firms of 2022, based on the number of permit applications filed for new buildings and major renovations by each firm. The ranking only considered projects greater than or equal to 5,000 square feet. For the purposes of this ranking, TRD looked at the architect of record listed on new building and renovation permit applications filed last year.
1. Gensler | 123 projects
International architecture firm specializes in office design, and a majority of the permit applications it filed in New York City this year were for interior design work. Gensler’s work included build outs for tenants at Deerfield Management’s 345 Park Avenue South, marketed as a vertical campus for life science companies to cohabitate and collaborate.
Deerfield, an investor in healthcare startups, paid RFR Realty $345 million for the 12-story building in 2019. In August, Deerfield announced that 16 other companies had joined the building, now known as “The Cure.”
Gensler similarly worked for several different office tenants, including the law firm Katten, at Tishman Speyer’s 50 Rockefeller Plaza.
Joseph Lauro, co-managing director of Gensler’s New York office, said the firm’s designs are focused on “creating a culture that allows people to do their best work.” That means, among other things, providing spaces that encourage collaboration and creating different types of workstations so employees do not feel tethered to their desks, he said.
The firm has also analyzed the feasibility of office-to-residential conversion across North America. Last year it was tapped by the Vanbarton Group for the transformation of a 1970s-era office tower at 160 Water Street into a 588-unit apartment building.
Lauro expects conversions to become more prevalent this year, as well as adaptive reuse projects.
“We’re probably not going to see a lot of ground-up work, but our clients are savvy,” he said.
2. Badaly Architects | 78 projects
Nima Badaly launched his eponymous firm in 1988, and works alongside his two sons, Shahin and Shakib, who serve as an engineer and architect, respectively.
The Mount Vernon-based firm’s work in the city largely consists of multifamily buildings in the Bronx, and last year was no exception. The company was tapped to work on roughly 20 new multifamily buildings, which are slated to add 460 apartments to the borough. That includes a nine-story, 60-unit building at 2183 Morris Avenue in Tremont. Nima Badaly said the firm typically takes on 300 to 400 projects — both new buildings and renovation work — each year throughout New York state.
He said a number of his clients have started to shift their work outside the city, given the expiration of 421a, a lucrative tax break for multifamily developers.
3. NY Restoration Technology | 64 projects
Manhattan-based NY Restoration Technology is an architectural and engineering firm that, as its name suggests, focuses on restoration work — in particular, façade repairs. Much of the company’s work springs from the city’s Façade Inspection & Safety Program, according to the firm’s website. The city requires owners of buildings taller than six stories to have their property’s exterior walls inspected every five years.
4. TPG Architecture | 61 projects
TPG Architecture principal James Phillips said corporate office design is part of the Midtown-based firm’s DNA, and office build outs and renovations made up much of its work in 2022. Recent jobs include the overhaul of JLL’s headquarters at 330 Madison Avenue and the design of the law firm Bracewell’s office at 31 West 52nd Street.
While its core focus remains offices, Phillips said the company also works extensively in luxury retail, hospitality and healthcare. He acknowledged that older office buildings are struggling to compete.
“The buildings that are second-tier are languishing,” he said. “I think the landlords recognize that they need to distinguish their buildings and provide amenities that will attract tenants back to their buildings.”
5. Fogarty Finger Architecture | 60 projects
Fogarty Finger, founded in 2003 by Chris Fogarty and Robert Finger, is headquartered in Lower Manhattan and has a mix of residential and commercial work. Lonicera Partners tapped the firm to design a 34-story apartment building at 15 Hanover Place in Downtown Brooklyn. The project is expected to feature 314 units, with 30 percent set aside as affordable.