10 Architecture Firms You Need to Know

Forget Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Norman Foster. Sure, they’re still doing important work, but the old guard of “starchitecture” – a group of designers of iconic buildings that have become flamboyant signatures for cities across the globe – is no longer at the forefront of design. The new wave of architecture, championed by emerging firms worldwide, is characterized by a more deconstructivist attitude, a willingness to try anything, and an aversion to getting set in any one style. Here are a few names worth following, and what they’ve recently accomplished.

MAD (China)


Photo credit: MAD’s Fake Hills courtesy of CentralArchitecture

Headed up by the iconoclastic architect Ma Yansong, MAD creates buildings that are as reactionary and aggressive as their name might suggest. Their early conceptual projects, such as the global spaceship “Chinatowns,” are more provocations than literal plans, but with Fake Hills, they brought their twisted spatial thinking into reality.