We often cover architectural competitions for major skyscrapers or urban renewal projects here at The Urban Developer, and we’ve noticed a pattern – a small squad of multi-disciplinary global practices shortlisted for the vast majority of work.
So, we thought it prudent to shine a light on some lesser-known practices both globally and at home.
We’ve scoured the globe to locate some fantastic firms, and here is our – by no means exhaustive – list of ten firms we think you should keep your eye on!
Berlin-based Arno Brandlhuber is the founder of brandlhuber+, operating since 2006.
Brandlhuber's work is frequently political, reaching beyond architecture and urbanism to comment on issues of private and collective property, economics and social cooperation.
Among the award-winning architect's better known buildings are the Neanderthal Museum and the Haus Brunnenstrasse 9.
Brandlhuber has held the chair of architecture and urban research at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg since 2003.
Hogg and Lamb is an architectural design practice based in Brisbane, with experience in award-winning residential and commercial projects.
Hogg and Lamb have been working in the architecture industry since the early 1990s and have a back catalogue featuring hundreds of projects in Australia and the United Kingdom.
Alumni of celebrated Brisbane firm Donovan Hill – the pair worked together at the firm for more than 11 years – Michael Hogg and Greg Lamb established Hogg and Lamb in 2016.
Barcelona-based architect Carme Pinós of Estudio Carme Pinós, is one of the world’s leading architectural voices, with projects spanning public architecture, social housing, urban refurbishment, furniture and object design.
Pinós is particularly interested in social housing and has designed public housing in Barcelona and France and is known for avoiding the usual homogeneity of public projects.
Pinós has won several awards including the Berkeley-Rupp Architecture Professorship prize and has taught at Columbia and Harvard.
Pinós has been selected to design Melbourne's 2018 MPavilion.
FALA Atelier, based in Porto, is led by Filipe Magalhães, Ana Luisa Soares, and Ahmed Belkhodja.
Established in 2013, the atelier works with methodic optimism on a wide range of projects, from territories to birdhouses.
The trio described themselves as "a naïve architecture practice" working in different scales, "from territories to birdhouses", merging "formal languages, references, quotations, and themes and ruled only by an obsession for clarity."
Zurich-based architect Christian Kerez is internationally renowned as a trend-setter since creating his agency in 1993.
Kerez's buildings are important examples of structurally and conceptually striking architecture. His insistence on realism comes from his days as an architectural photographer.
His most notable projects include a chapel in Oberrealta, the Liechtenstein Art Museum, an apartment building in Forsterstrasse, schools in Breiten and Leutschenbach, and the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art.
Paris-based pair Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal founded their namesake practice in 1987.
The firm’s attitude toward sustainability – minimising building and construction by the thoughtful reuse of existing material – informing its utilitarian approach to architecture.
After finishing their architectural training, Lacaton & Vassal spent time in Africa, which informed their role as architects. Lacatan and Vassal say that the first task of the architect is to think, and decide whether or not to build.
Lacaton & Vassal’s work includes commercial, educational, cultural and residential buildings and the firm is well-known for stretching budgets to create the unexpected.
The Barcelona-based Flores and Prats was founded by architects Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores in 1998.
Flores and Prats are dedicated to fusing theory and architectural practice, with the academically-focused pair maintaining teaching positions at the school of architecture in Barcelona while running their practice.
Flores and Prats’ work includes restorations, a museum, a church and a social housing project, Building 111.
The work of Flores and Prats is widely-celebrated, winning the Grand Award for the best work in architecture at the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2009, the City of Barcelona prize in 2016 and exhibiting at the Venice Biennale 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey established O’Donnell + Tuomey in 1988.
Both are professors at University College Dublin and have taught at schools of architecture in the UK and USA including AA, Cambridge, Princeton and Harvard.
The practice has developed a reputation for cultural, social and educational buildings including the Irish Film Centre, Ranelagh School, Letterfrack Furniture College, Glucksman Gallery Cork, Timberyard Social Housing, the Lyric Theatre in Belfast and the Saw Swee Hock Student Centre at the LSE.
Belgian architecture firm OFFICE KGDVS was founded in 2002 by Kersten Geers and David Van Severen.
Since the firm's establishment, the duo have earned a reputation as one of Belgium’s most successful and renowned practices.
The firm has become known for its idiosyncratic architecture, in which utopian and unrealised projects are also customary.
Swiss architect Valerio Olgiati has been perfecting his minimal, solid and even archaic forms for decades, focusing the viewer’s attention to light, structure, and materials.
Working from his office in Flims, a small town in the Swiss region of Graubünden, Valerio Olgiati has created an impressive portfolio of work including the Paspels School, Das Gelbe Haus, Atelier Bardill and the National Park Centre at the Swiss National Park, among others.