Boston’s large development history is complicated. Once the site of “the Big Dig,” a public project notorious for being the most expensive in the country, the cityscape is now developing at a pace not seen before. Educational institutions such as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are expanding at a clip, vying for predominance in science and medical research. The city’s world-renowned hospitals are channeling funds into expanding the facilities that draw physicians, patients, and researchers from all over the world. The 10 architecture firms on this list are turning around designs for corporate, public, and business clients that distinguish one mega-project from the next.

Top Architects


Michael S. Burke

Building Design and Construction’s Construction Giants,
Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies

1 Federal Street, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02110


Ashland Oil & Refining Company was a successful operation for decades before Warren Brothers acquired the company in 1966 and expanded into construction and construction materials. In 1990, five of its subsidiaries joined together to form AECOM. With more than 50 years of history behind it, the Fortune 500 company pulled in over $17B of revenue in 2016. The ENR New England top overall design firm has 80k employees active in more than 150 countries. AECOM is at the top of the industry, ranked #9 on Building Design and Construction’s Construction Giants. Among AECOM’s many expansion efforts was the firm’s acquisition of Ellerbe Becket, Inc., the architecture firm that designed TD Garden in the West End. In 2016, the company earned more than $220M in regional design revenue.

Featured Projects

AECOM helmed the redesign of Terminal B at Logan International Airport. Originally opened as an airfield in 1923, the transportation hub was in need of an update so the United Airlines zone could handle increased ridership and larger aircrafts. The AECOM design for the $160M project consolidated United Airlines facilities and amenities into a 200k-square-foot space. Terminal B is now much more functional, with 10 newly modified gates that include self-service kiosks, state-of-the-art baggage handling systems, and updated passenger lounge areas to accommodate weary travelers. Well versed in Boston infrastructure and city planning, AECOM is also partnering with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation as an architectural design consultant for the expansion of the Green Line light rail service and the Silver Line bus rapid transit.

Cambridge Seven Associates

Lou Bakanowsky
Ivan Chermayeff
Peter Chermayeff
Alden Christie
Paul Dietrich
Tom Geismar
Terry Rankine

AIA Firm of the Year

1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

About Cambridge Seven Associates

Lou Bakanowsky, Ivan Chermayeff, Peter Chermayeff, Alden Christie, Paul Dietrich, Tom Geismar, and Terry Rankine are the original, seven creatives behind Cambridge Seven Associates. Drawing on their varied backgrounds in exhibit design, planning, industrial design, architecture, and even filmmaking, the partners founded a singular design studio in 1962. The firm has since worked on construction projects around the world, reaching more than $500M in total construction costs. The American Institute of Architects has awarded Cambridge Seven Associates Firm of the year for their portfolio of academic, cultural, corporate, and commercial projects. Boston Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and MBTA Shawmut Station are just two of the company’s projects that shape the city.

Featured Projects

Cambridge Seven Associates collaborated with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners on the design for the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences at One Dalton Street, a Curbed Boston Development to Watch. The $700M, 61-story tower will rise 742 feet and stack 184 luxury apartments above a Four Seasons hotel. It will be the tallest residential tower in the city and, in fact, the tallest tower built in Boston in decades. The crystalline building will delicately bow outward on each of its broad sides. The curved, three-point design is meant to complement the nearby Christian Science Church Plaza and add a distinctive form to the Back Bay skyline. From a brand new structure to one already beloved by the Boston community, Cambridge Seven Architects renovated the New England Aquarium and its Giant Ocean Tank. The original designers of the aquarium, the firm returned to the site after 40 years in operation to create broader viewpoints and bridge access for the four-story, 200k-gallon feature. Cambridge Seven Architects earned a Boston Society of Architects Accessible Design Award for their work on this project.

Payette Associates

Fred Markus
Tom Payette
Kevin B. Sullivan

AIA New England Design Awards,
AIA Honor Award for Interior Architecture,
Architect Magazine’s “The Architect 50”

290 Congress Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02210

About Payette Associates

In just their last 20 years of operation, Payette Associates has earned more than 140 design awards, including eight national honors in 2016. But their roots go much deeper than that. In 1932, engineer Fred Markus opened a practice focused on healthcare facility design. In 1960, Tom Payette joined the firm, eventually ascending to the role of company president. Since 1974, the firm has borne his name. The current president and CEO, Kevin B. Sullivan, FAIA, is a 30-year veteran of the firm and has a Master of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. The firm and its high-profile projects consistently place among the top 10 of Architect Magazine’s “The Architect 50” ranking.

Featured Projects

The Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex (ISEC) is part of a long-term plan to expand the Northeastern University Huntington Avenue Campus and connect Roxbury with the Fenway. Unable to expand the main campus, the ISEC is designed to occupy 234k square feet of an infill plot. The LEED Gold-certified project features ribbed facade panels, energy recovery systems, and high-efficiency lighting strategies that contribute to a 75-percent reduction in energy consumption versus a typical laboratory building. The Architect’s Newspaper awarded the firm a Best of Design Honorable Mention for Digital Fabrication for their work on the complex. Payette Associates also received an Honor Award for Excellence from the Boston Society of Architects. For another research facility project, Payette Associates has designed Boston University Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering. The $150M building rises out of what was once a parking lot on Commonwealth Avenue. The nine-story structure adds 170k square feet of neuroscience and synthetic biology labs, as well as spaces for computational research, and more. The Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) facility will help Boston University — and the city — distinguish itself as a center for the advancement of research and treatment for brain-related injuries and illnesses.

Shepley Bulfinch

Henry Hobson Richardson
George Foster Shepley
Francis Vaughn Bulfinch
Carole Wedge

AIA Firm Awards,
IIDA New England Design Awards, Boston Society of Architects Honor Award for Design Excellence

2 Seaport Lane, Boston, MA 02210

About Shepley Bulfinch

An ENR New England Top Design Firm, with over $36M in regional revenue in 2016, Shepley Bulfinch has contributed designs to the Boston landscape since 1872. That was the year Henry Hobson Richardson won a competition to plan Boston’s now famous Trinity Church. Two years later, he established a Brookline architecture firm, where he employed George Foster Shepley. Another 50 years would pass before Shepley and a civil engineer, Francis Vaughn Bulfinch, would become partners in the company. The company stayed under Shepley-family management until 1990. The current company president, Carole Wedge, FAIA, LEED AP, rose to her position in 2004. Today, Shepley Bulfinch employs a staff of over 200 and has completed projects in 41 states. The firm — an American Institute of Architects Firm Award-winner — also maintains regional offices in Houston and Phoenix.

Featured Projects

Shepley Bulfinch designed the Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab for Harvard University. The 15k-square-foot, two-story building stands next to the Harvard Innovation Lab, another Shepley Bulfinch design. The $17M project earned multiple honors: an IIDA New England Design Award in the Research/ Lab category, an Honor Award for Design Excellence from the Boston Society of Architects, and an ENR New England Best Project Award for a Higher Education/Research project. Educational institutions are as much a part of the fabric of Boston as the city’s revered medical facilities. For the Boston Children’s Hospital Clinical Building, Shepley Bulfinch designed an 11-story building, the largest in the hospital’s history. The building houses one of the country’s top-ranked pediatric cardiac centers. The architecture firm’s first project for Boston Children’s Hospital was completed in 1914.

Perkins + Will

Lawrence B. Perkins
Philip Will, Jr.
Robert Brown
Rick Kuhn

AIA Design Awards,
ENR National Top Design Firm

225 Franklin Street, Suite 1100, Boston, MA 02110

About Perkins + Will

Perkins+Will is an interdisciplinary firm that leverages research from its proprietary laboratories to design progressive and efficient plans. Founded in 1935, Perkins+Will began as a small Chicago office run by partners Lawrence B. Perkins and Philip Will, Jr. The firm annually earns hundreds of design awards and is an ENR national Top Design Firm, as well as the top architecture practice in Higher Education Design, according to Architectural Record. Since 2012, Robert Brown, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP has served as managing director of the Perkins + Will Boston office and also leads the practice in local civic, commercial, and corporate projects. Brown was at one time president of the Boston Society of Architects and is currently a trustee of the Boston Architectural College. Brown collaborates with Design Director Rick Kuhn, AIA, NCARB, a 30-year industry veteran. Together, they have led the firm to earning more than $38M in regional annual revenue.

Featured Projects

The Wentworth Institute of Technology commissioned Perkins+Will for the design of the Center for Sciences and Biomedical Engineering. The project earned an Education Facilities Award from Boston Society of Architects and a Education Design Showcase Green Judges’ Choice Award. A 40k-square-foot renovation and expansion gave the Wentworth Institute of Technology much needed space to consolidate its biomedical engineering program and shift to a lab-based instruction model. The structure contains more than 10 labs for varied disciplines and 36 faculty offices. Perkins+Will also designed a sports complex for preparatory school Phillips Andover Academy. The first phase of the project, the Snyder Center, was conceived as a 97.9k-square-foot complex following a feasibility study conducted by the design firm. The building can accommodate NCAA-regulated track meets, 12 squash courts, and room for 2,500 spectators. In total, the master plan calls for 250k square feet for a sprawling sports complex.


Robert Corning
Jill Rothenberg

Engineering News-Record Top 10 Global Design Firms

226 Causeway Street, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114

About Stantec

Stantec earned over $136M in New England design revenue in 2016, and the firm consistently places among the Engineering News-Record’s top 10 global design firms. The international practice employs 22k workers across 400 office locations operating on six continents. Though Stantec got its start in Canada in 1954, the company now has two offices in Boston. They are led by Robert Corning (senior principal, community development) and Jill Rothenberg (principal). Stantec is a frequent recipient of national and regional design awards.

Featured Projects

The Stantec design for the MassArt Tree House Student Residence for freshman was inspired by the 1909 painting “Tree of Life” by Gustav Klimt. The facade of the 20-story building is made of composite aluminum panels arranged at various depths, painting with light and shadow. The students, who occupy four- and five-person suites, benefit from a common kitchen, game room, and lounge, plus a gym and laundry room. The unique building was a finalist for the Americas in the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Best Tall Building competition and earned an additional six design awards. Stantec also collaborated with Renzo Piano Building Workshop to design the expansion of Boston’s beloved Isabella Stewart Gardner museum. The deceptively simple structure required detailed strategies for achieving the desired natural lighting and gallery space without damaging the experience of museum-goers in original building. The glass expansion appears weightless, with most of its structural features and mechanical infrastructure hidden away. The expansion earned a Boston Globe People’s Choice Award for Boston’s Most Beautiful New Building.

Elkus / Manfredi Architects Ltd.

Howard F. Elkus
David P. Manfredi

Boston Preservation Alliance Preservation Achievement Award,
Engineering News Record New England Merit Award,
Boston Properties University Merit Award

25 Drydock Avenue, Boston, MA 02210

About Elkus / Manfredi Architects Ltd.

According to Engineering News-Record, Elkus / Manfredi Associates had three of New England’s top starts in 2014 with the $117M contract for Barry’s Corner in Lower Allston, a $90M contract to design the Six Ten building for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the $387M Seaport Square project, which topped the list. Howard F. Elkus FAIA, RIBA, LEED AP, and David P. Manfredi FAIA, LEED AP, founded the firm in 1988, and the private company has gone on to design some of Boston’s most prolific institutional buildings, including the Paramount Center at Emerson College and The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. In 2016, the company earned more than $64M in annual revenue from New England projects.

Featured Projects

The MBTA tapped Elkus / Manfredi Associates for an accessible redesign of the Charles/MGH “T” station, a hub that connects straphangers with Beacon Hill, the Charles River, and Massachusetts General Hospital. The design relocated the station entrance and created new pathways that better integrated the station for all of its riders. For their work, the Boston Society of Architects / Massachusetts Architectural Access Board gave the firm a design award for public architecture, and the Boston Preservation Alliance recognized the project with a preservation achievement award. The Elkus / Manfredi Associates design for Liberty Wharf earned a Preservation Achievement Award for new construction in harmony with Boston’s built environment from Boston Preservation Alliance and recognition from Retail Traffic Magazine for Superior Achievement in Design and Imaging in the best new open-air environment category. The mixed-use, harborside development in the Seaport District encompasses an 18k-square-foot, two-story building topped with a roof deck, and another four-story building. The second structure contains 50k square-feet of restaurants and offices. Generous glazing and a broad boardwalk connect the interior spaces with the outdoor vistas and vibrant waterfront.

Handel Architects

Gary Handel FAIA
Blake Middleton FAIA
Glenn Rescalvo FAIA
Frank Fusaro AIA
Michael Arad AIA

AIA New York Design Award,
Boston Society of Architects Design Award,
Boston Preservation Alliance Preservation Achievement Award

31 Milk Street, Suite 1016 Boston, MA 02109

About Handel Architects

Handel Architects is an architecture and planning firm with long reach and an expansive portfolio. President Gary E. Handel, FAIA, founded the firm in New York City in 1994. The company of more than 150 designers and staffers has now expanded to offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong. Their presence in the Northeast in indisputable. Since 2000, the firm has designed projects recognized by the Boston Society of Architects, the Boston Preservation Alliance, and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects. The American Institute of Architects, the Congress for New Urbanism, and the Concrete Industry Board have also awarded Handel-designed projects in Boston-proper, like the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences and the Boston Conservatory-Hemenway Building.

Featured Projects

115 Winthrop Square will bring 1M square feet of residences, offices, and storefronts to the Financial District. The 750-foot-tall building will rise from an angular base up into a graceful, glass tower. An all-weather, public venue known as “The Great Hall” will occupy a ground floor space dressed in stone, metal, and glass finishes in the style of an oversized, European arcade. The 65-foot entryway will be framed by an interior mezzanine and topped with steel arches that overlap in an organic pattern. The Handel-designed Millennium Tower — the tallest residential building in Boston — has already risen out of Downtown Crossing. The 60-story luxury condominium includes 18, luxury penthouse units and more than 200K square feet of retail space. Other Handel projects in Boston include the $220M Millennium Place residential tower and the Preservation Achievement-award-winning restoration of the 1912 Filene’s building.

CBT Architects

Richard Bertman, Charles Tseckares, Maurice Childs (+)

IIDA New England Legacy Award, ENR Top Start, Architect Magazine’s Top 50 for Sustainability

110 Canal Street, Boston, MA 02114

About CBT Architects

Thirteen principals steward the international firm, among them founders Richard Bertman, FAIA, LEED AP, and Charles Tseckares, FAIA. The third founder, Maurice Childs, passed away in 2005. The trio incorporated in Brookline in 1967 and expanded to a second office in Boston within the following year. Today, the firm consists of nearly 200 architects, planners, and interior designers working out of offices on Canal Street in Boston, and in Abu Dhabi. The firm earned six design awards in 2017 — the year of its 50th anniversary — including an International Interior Design Association New England Legacy Award. CBT Architects had an ENR Top Start in 2014 with their $250M contract for the Avalon Bay development. The firm also ranks among the Architect Magazine’s Top 50 for Sustainability.

Featured Projects

Atlantic Wharf, Boston’s first sustainable high-rise building, is one of CBT Architect’s most awarded designs. The American Institute of Architects New England chapter recognized the project with a Citation for Design Excellence, while the National Association for Industrial and Office Properties and the Boston Society of Architects honored the design for its sustainability. Also lauded by the Urban Land Institute and the International Facilities Management Association, the mixed-use tower adds 30 stories of glass-wrapped offices above several floors of apartment units behind a brick facade. The Urban Land Institute recognized the CBT design for 111 Huntington Avenue with Global Award for Excellence. The three-piece project encompasses a 30-story office tower, a 400-foot winter garden, and a five-story structure housing offices and retail spaces. The plan fully integrates the new structures into the surrounding neighborhoods of South End and Back Bay, via newly drawn pedestrian pathways.


Douglas C. Gensler
Jeanne M. Nutt
Robin Klehr Avia
Joseph Brancato

ENR #1 Green Building Design Firm in Commercial Offices,
Building Design + Construction Giants #1 Office Sector Architecture Firm

One Beacon Street, Third Floor, Boston, MA 02108

About Gensler

The ENR #1 Green Building Design Firm in Commercial Offices and the Building Design + Construction Giants #1 Office Sector Architecture Firm, Gensler also rises to the top of both publications’ overall lists. The firm maintains that strong workspace design can enhance the performance of a company and its staff. With 46 worldwide offices of their own and a client list that includes 40 of the top 50 companies on the Fortune 500 list, Gensler has had many opportunities to test that theory. Regional Managing Principals Robin Klehr Avia, FIIDA, and Joseph Brancato, AIA, have led office projects for Microsoft, Condé Nast, and Young & Rubicam. The Boston office, which opened in 1993, is also overseen by co-Managing Principals Douglas C. Gensler, AIA, NCARB, and Jeanne M. Nutt, IIDA.

Featured Projects

The Hub on Causeway is a $950M mixed-use development rising out of the site of the original Boston Garden. The towers will house loft-style offices, luxury residences, hotel property, and high-end entertainment venues. Gensler designed a glass and steel canopy that will blend with the building’s facades and recall the neighborhood’s original railway hubs, and will join the buildings and connect the plaza directly to North Station. The effect will be a city within the city, just next door to TD Garden. For William James College, a rapidly expanding educational institution, Gensler designed a new campus. The glass facade bathes students and workspaces in natural light. In simpatico with the building’s green exterior, Gensler employed sustainable design strategies to minimize the campus’s impact on the environment.