These were the most active NYC architects in 2023 

The Real Deal’s annual ranking reveals who stayed busy during challenging year

These Were New York’s Busiest Architecture Firms in 2023
(L-R Top-Bottom) 270 Park Avenue, Edenwald Houses in the Bronx, TPG Architecture's James Phillips, Rand Engineering & Architecture's Stephen A. Varone, 66 Hudson Boulevard and Gensler’s Joseph Lauro (Gensler, RandPC, Wikipedia/CrossingLights, Edenwald Houses BX, TPG, Getty)

Despite the office market’s bleak outlook, some of the city’s busiest architecture firms were those that specialize in workplace design. 


Gensler was 2023’s most active architecture firm, according to an analysis of building filings by The Real Deal. The firm worked in some of the city’s most high-profile office towers, which continue to see demand. It also boasts versatility, with work on health care, hospitality and even massive infrastructure projects.


The firm was tapped to work on the conversion of office buildings at 160 Water Street,

and will continue to explore conversions in the coming year, said Joseph Lauro, managing director and a principal at Gensler’s New York office. Such opportunities rely not just on a building’s layout and the financial viability of transforming offices into apartments, but on location as well.


“In general it is going to be about how you tie this residence to a community,” he said. “It is as much an urban fabric problem as an individual building problem that we are solving for.”

TRD’s 2023 ranking is based on the number of permit applications filed for new buildings and renovations. The list is composed of the architects of record listed on permit applications for projects of 5,000 square feet or more. Including small alterations pulled in architecture firms that specialize in façade and scaffolding work, an in-demand but rarely spotlighted sector.

These Were New York’s Busiest Architecture Firms in 2023
Gensler co-CEOs Diane Hoskins and Andy Cohen (Gensler)
  1. Gensler | 62

Gensler worked as an interior architect for some of the flashiest office towers being built in the city, including JPMorgan’s new headquarters at 270 Park Avenue.

The firm is also designing the interiors of Disney’s new 1.2-million-square-foot headquarters at 4 Hudson Square. Gensler has worked with Disney on other projects, and has even hired some of its alumni. At the start of 2023, Gensler hired Bob Weis, former president of Walt Disney Imagineering, as global immersive experience design leader.

Owners of aging office space are doing what they can to compete with the new Class A buildings. Lauro said that before the pandemic, pre-built office space was largely the purview of class B and C office buildings. Such spaces have earned a wider appeal among companies looking for shorter leases or needing furnished space immediately.

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The company is also the lead designer of Terminal 1 at JFK International Airport, which was not included in this ranking because it did not appear in DOB NOW filings.

These Were New York’s Busiest Architecture Firms in 2023
RAND Engineering & Architecture’s Founder and President Stephen A. Varone (RAND Engineering & Architecture)
  1. Rand Engineering and Architecture | 60

Much of Rand’s work in 2023 revolved around façade repair, as well as the New York City Housing Authority’s Edenwald Houses. The 40-building portfolio is undergoing renovations through the Permanent Affordability Commitment Together program, which converts public housing’s subsidy to Section 8 and transfers management of the property to a private entity. Camber Property Group, Henge Development and SAA | EVI are leading the overhaul, and C+C Apartment Management is taking over as property manager.

These Were New York’s Busiest Architecture Firms in 2023
TPG Architecture’s James G. Phillips (TPG Architecture)
  1. TPG Architecture | 44

Accounting firm Baker Tilly hired TPG to design its 22nd-floor space at Tishman Speyer’s 66 Hudson Boulevard, filings indicate. Early in the year, Baker Tilly inked a lease to occupy 28,000 square feet in the building, according to the Commercial Observer.

Nearby, the firm is designing MSG Entertainment’s revamped space at Penn 2. TPG is also working on MSG Network’s renovation of its space at Penn 11.

Elsewhere in Manhattan, the Durst Organization hired TPG to design move-in-ready office spaces at 825 Third Avenue. The building, constructed in 1969, recently underwent a $150 million renovation, which includes upgrades to the lobby (designed by Gensler) and a tenant amenity space.

“This is an old building that has been given a new life,” said James Phillips, managing executive of TPG.

These Were New York’s Busiest Architecture Firms in 2023
NY Restoration Technology Company’s Hamid Saghari (LinkedIn)
  1. NY Restoration Technology Company | 41

This Manhattan-based firm specializes in building envelope restoration work. Many of its jobs in 2023 were related to the city’s Façade Inspection & Safety Program, which requires buildings taller than six stories to have their exterior walls inspected every five years.

  1. Arquitectura Varela | 38 

These Were New York’s Busiest Architecture Firms in 2023
Arquitectura Varela’s Vicente Varela Jr (Arquitectura Varela)

Façade inspections and repair work also helped propel New Jersey-based Arquitectura Varela into the top 5. Its work in the city involved installing scaffolding.