5 Innovative Architecture Groups Creating Stunning Work

Form and function often measure the greatness of a particular work of architecture. Elegant design always seems to have a graceful simplicity that even the untrained eye can easily spot and appreciate. From unique residential undertakings to sustainable commercial constructions, choosing the right design firm for the job is essential. In no particular order, here are a few talented groups that know how to think outside the architectural box.

Starting off the list at #1 is TAM associati, a Venician-born design firm with additional offices in Bologna, Trieste, and Paris. Originally established as an architectural research group in the late 1980s, it delved more deeply into design when it became a firm in 1996. The business creates architecture with social, sustainable, and eco-conscious values in Africa and around the world.

The group provides consultants for every step of the design process, all while handling any environmental or social issues associated with the project. TAM associati has won widespread recognition and numerous awards, including the LafargeHolcim Awards Acknowledgement prize 2017, Middle East Africa. The accolade honored the sustainable construction of Maisha Film Lab's headquarters.

Next up, at #2 is Dick Clark + Associates, a full-service architecture and interior design firm based in Austin, Texas. The group creates a wide range of projects, from custom residential to large commercial designs. Founder Dick Clark, known to some locally as the Godfather of contemporary architecture, passed away in 2017. However, the firm believes it is carrying on his legacy by creating memorable landmark projects and inspirational spaces, capturing the unique quality and lifestyle of Austin.

In 2020, DC+A won the A.I.A Austin Design Award for The Bohn House, a 1938 modern Art Deco home that emulates a 1930s ocean-liner. The house contains aluminum railings, porthole windows, a solarium with a curved glass wall, and a circular mahogany door that can be raised and lowered at the touch of a button. Additionally, the firm was recognized as Best Full-Service Architecture & Interior Design Firm in Central Texas by Build Magazine.

The #3 entry is dRMM. London-based, it's an international studio of architects and designers founded in 1995, and led by Alex de Rijke, Philip Marsh, Sadie Morgan, and Jonas Lencer. The group takes pride in creating architecture that is cutting-edge and socially useful. Its principles hinge on combining client collaboration, creative design, environmental awareness, and building innovation. The studio won Britain's top architecture award in 2017, the RIBA Stirling Prize, for Hastings Pier.

In 2000, dRMM began utilizing engineered timber, and went even further a few years later by using cross-laminated panel construction on Kingsdale School, demonstrating the wood's superiority and building efficiency. The group proved that cross-laminated hardwood was a viable, affordable, and sustainable source upon using tulipwood to build its landmark project, Endless Stair, in 2013. It continues to advocate for timber as a relevant material for 21st-century architecture.

Taking the #4 spot is Scenario Architecture. Chartered by the Royal Institute of British Architects, this group uses leading-edge technology in its work. The partnership was established in 2007 by Ran Ankory and Maya Carni, an alumnus of the Architectural Association School of Architecture, London. The firm provides design planning, project management, and build services.

S.A. works with homeowners from concept through completion, and offers all clients sustainability packages beyond current building regulations in order to significantly reduce its carbon footprint. Clients are able to describe an ideal house and their desired interactions with it, while the company compiles the descriptions into a highly detailed brief. 3-D Building Information Modelling is utilized to provide realistic visualizations, and increases the client's control and execution over the project while also saving time and money.

Last but not least, at #5 is SPF:architects. This award-winning Los Angeles design firm was founded in 1990 by Zoltan E. Pali and Judit M. Fekete-Pali. Their collaboration has since won over 90 national and regional accolades, including the A.I.A LA Presidential Award. While the former creator is known for a minimalist approach, the latter focuses more on the relationship between art and architecture, and in the process, the two have created landmark works.

The firm's practice is rooted in a holistic philosophy that strives to challenge architectural and urban planning conventions. SPF:architects is capable of handling all phases of project development, from research to schematics, design development, and contract negotiation. Notable projects include the $300 million renovation and expansion of the Getty Villa Museum, and the extensive historic renovations of two iconic LA venues, Hollywood Pantages and the Greek Theatre.