WRNS Studio Named #1 Architecture Firm in the U.S.

Adobe Campus in Lehi, Utah, by WRNS Studio
Adobe Campus in Lehi, Utah, by WRNS Studio
Adobe Campus in Lehi, Utah, by WRNS Studio

San Francisco—In its September issue, Architect magazine named San Francisco- based WRNS Studio the number one architecture firm on the magazine’s 2013 ARCHITECT 50 list. Firms were ranked in three categories: business, sustainability, and design excellence. For the first time in the list’s five-year history, the magazine had a panel of judges review design portfolios submitted by each firm; the portfolio counted toward 60 percent of each firm’s design excellence score.

In the story accompanying the ARCHITECT 50 list, the editors wrote, “Last year was, without question, a good one for WRNS Studio. The 60-person firm had one of the highest net-revenue-per-employee numbers in this year’s survey, but it was the breadth and execution of projects, combined with a strong commitment to sustainability and design excellence, that earned WRNS the overall top ranking.”

“We did well through the recession and last year because our client base is so broad,” said WRNS partner Bryan Shiles, AIA, in the article. “We have a robust education and institutional portfolio on one hand, and on the other, we built Adobe, which has been very good in terms of leveraging our cache in the high-tech world.”

The design judges praised the way “each project, particularly through its materiality and form, captures and addresses the specific environment and program, resulting in a delightfully variegated portfolio.”

The rankings considered criteria such as net revenue per employee, firm profitability, percentage of a firm’s profits invested in research, commitment to pro bono work, number and type of teaching positions that a firm’s employees held at architecture schools, percentage of gross square footage of projects that were LEED certified or the equivalent, percentage of projects that pursued potable water reduction beyond code requirements, and number of design awards won, among other factors.

WRNS Studio is a 60-person architecture and planning firm with offices in San Francisco and Honolulu. The firm’s diverse portfolio includes education, healthcare, civic, recreation, transportation, and urban design projects, ranging from the Hayes Valley Playground in San Francisco and the Tahoe City Transit Center in Tahoe City, California, to large-scale projects such as the Jill and John Freidenrich Center for Translational Research at Stanford University and a new corporate campus for Adobe in Utah. Current work includes the Global Health & Clinical Sciences Building at UCSF Mission Bay and the expansion of Intuit’s Mountain View campus. Other clients include The Trust for Public Land, the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, San Francisco State University, and UC Berkeley. WRNS Studio was recently honored with the AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects Award and several AIA design awards.

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