18 Best Architecture Firms in France

These architecture firms are leading the way in France and beyond.

Architizer Editors Architizer Editors

The French have been formative leaders in many respects when it comes to their cuisine, art and fashion. They are viewed as global front-runners in several disciplines, and architecture is undeniably one of them. When we think of France, we often admire the illustrious Gothic churches, the Haussmannian Parisian boulevards, the ornate Baroque palaces, Le Corbusier’s modernist triumphs and the charming countryside towns.

The French built environment is swimming in architectural history, but equally so in contemporary triumphs. It’s not only the Gothic and Renaissance châteaux that make this paysage français so exciting to explore, it is also the architectural innovation taking place today. Revolution is rooted in the French DNA, and the commitment to transforming and creating is not lost in its architectural community. Whether they are reinventing established architectural typologies like school design or invigorating their public spaces through green architecture, the French remain governors of architecture incroyable.

With so many architecture firms to choose from, it’s challenging for clients to identify the industry leaders that will be an ideal fit for their project needs. Fortunately, Architizer is able to provide guidance on the top design firms in France based on more than a decade of data and industry knowledge.

How are these architecture firms ranked?

The following ranking has been created according to key statistics that demonstrate each firm’s level of architectural excellence. The following metrics have been accumulated to establish each architecture firm’s ranking, in order of priority:

  • The number of A+Awards won (2013 to 2022)
  • The number of A+Awards finalists (2013 to 2022)
  • The number of projects selected as “Project of the Day” (2009 to 2022)
  • The number of projects selected as “Featured Project” (2009 to 2022)
  • The number of projects uploaded to Architizer (2009 to 2022)

Each of these metrics is explained in more detail at the foot of this article. This ranking list will be updated annually, taking into account new achievements of France architecture firms throughout the year.

Without further ado, here are the 18 best architecture firms in France:

18. GARDERA-D

© GARDERA-D

© GARDERA-D

GARDERA-D is a multidisciplinary architecture firm established in Paris and in Biarritz, France. The agency explores a wide scope of investigation and responds to a varied demand for projects, ranging from architecture (housing, workplaces, teaching, equipment …) to interior design and object design.

Each project is approached and studied in a specific way, according to an approach based specifically on a particular attention to usages of buildings and the search for an optimum level in the relationship between architecture and location.

Some of GARDERA-D’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped GARDERA-D achieve 18th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 6
Total Projects 8

17. STUDIO 02

© Luc Boegly Photographe

© Luc Boegly Photographe

Based in Vannes since 2007 and claiming the ocean scenery as an inspiration, Studio 02 has found its place among the most prolific architect duos from the new generation. From the Binic nautical pole and the Plomodiern town hall to the overlays at the Baud Cultural Center, Romain Grégoire and Thomas Collet, set their enthusiastic vision of modernity, of a rational architecture, elegant and sophisticated made to please the client.

Faced with the context of each project, Studio 02’s style feeds itself from successive transformations, affirming the idea that no construction can simply just be abstract or monumental. Their architecture has clearly chosen a playground: clear lines, shades and trails… of these living buildings with hung images.

Some of STUDIO 02’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped STUDIO 02 achieve 17th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 6
Total Projects 8

16. Atelier Stéphane Fernandez

© Atelier Stéphane Fernandez

© Atelier Stéphane Fernandez

Atelier Stéphane Fernandez is based in Aix en Provence. From urban to historic landscape, from built to unbuilt landscape, our approach is to bring a much more complex reality to architecture. Because of this, our workshop works in collaboration with various disciplines (landscape architects, designers, photographers and writers) in order to produce the most complete but above all the most sensitive approach possible to the project. For us, each project is a tool for knowledge before it is a tool for transforming reality.

Some of Atelier Stéphane Fernandez’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped Atelier Stéphane Fernandez achieve 16th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

A+Awards Finalist 1
Featured Projects 7
Total Projects 5

15. Mikou Design Studio

© Mikou Design Studio

© Mikou Design Studio

Mikou Design Studio is a place of creation and experimentation in architecture and its interdisciplinary cross-fertilization. We work in a continuous workshop spirit with a multidisciplinary team of architects, engineers, graphic artists, scenographers and town planners from very different cultural backgrounds.

Every project is an excuse for re-questioning and redefining the meaning of a brief, a function, and an urban, social and human context, in order to invent new ways of living, places for sharing and gathering that are more sensitive and more sensual, and which stimulate feelings. Our aim is to get away from preconceptions of form and function in order to transmit more and better.

Some of Mikou Design Studio’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped Mikou Design Studio achieve 15th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 7
Total Projects 14

14. Nomade Architectes

© Adam Mørk

© Adam Mørk

Raphaël Chivot, Matthieu Laviolle and Vincent Le Garrec – open-neck shirts and no Rolexes – are self-made men. An early schoolboy encounter was important; a sail together across the Atlantic, decisive. An agency was born first from camaraderie, then friendship: Nomade… all clear on the horizon and open-mindedness at a maximum.

Which means, no borders. Between Paris and Vannes (its two locations) the agency specializes in all projects. And it works everywhere. Nomade moves and grows. Ideas swarm in the inventive minds of some thirty faithful co-workers who have taken to organizing themselves around centers of interest, from design to the worksite via research, communication and even computer science.

Some of Nomade Architectes’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped Nomade Architectes achieve 14th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 7
Total Projects 15

13. LCR ARCHITECTES

© Mathieu Ducros

© Mathieu Ducros

LCR ARCHITECTES was founded in 1992 by architects Philippe Lapeyre, Jean-Claude Coustillières and Xavier Ratynski. The team is mainly made up of architects, but also graphic designers, draftsmen and a construction economist among others. Accustomed to carrying out major operations in fields such as culture, education, the tertiary sector, student housing, health, research, collective housing, transport, industry and banking for the most part, this multidisciplinary and expert team guarantees a contextual proposal as well as a real proximity with the contracting authority. It extends its activity to the national level particularly on the theme of student housing, schools and tertiary buildings.

Some of LCR ARCHITECTES’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped LCR ARCHITECTES achieve 13th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

A+Awards Winner 1
Featured Projects 5
Total Projects 9

12. GMAA – GM Architectes Associés

© GMAA - GM Architectes Associés

© GMAA - GM Architectes Associés

Founded in 1990, GM Architectes Associés (GMAA) is managed by five partners and has a highly motivated team of more than thirty architects based in Geneva, Paris and Rhône-Alpes. GMAA is active in a wide range of fields, including new architecture, renovations, interior refurbishments, urban planning and landscape architecture.

Our team welcomes with enthusiasm every new challenge. For each specific project, great importance is given to a continued research of innovative solutions to allow the synthesis of environmental, legal, financial and technical requirements. Furthermore, all of our projects take into account human relationships and the way in which residents and users will be able to grasp the building. Throughout each project our clients (private, corporate or public institutions) are our partners.

Some of GMAA – GM Architectes Associés’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped GMAA - GM Architectes Associés achieve 12th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

A+Awards Winner 2
Featured Projects 7
Total Projects 10

11. Coldefy

Thomas Coldefy and Isabel Van Haute are the duo of Coldefy & Associates Architects Urbanists, leading the diverse international team based in Lille, France. The firm is characterized by their dynamism and creativity, animated by an international tropism that drives them to participate regularly in professional events around the world as well as in large international competitions.

Some of Coldefy’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped Coldefy achieve 11th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

A+Awards Winner 2
Featured Projects 6
Total Projects 8

10. Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

© Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

© Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes

Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes is an architectural studio based in Paris and in Vienna. Founded in 1993, the studio has built a strong reputation for exploring the dynamics between architecture and engineering.

Some of Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes achieve 10th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 9
Total Projects 25

9. LAN Architecture

© LAN Architecture

© LAN Architecture

LAN (Local Architecture Network) was created by Benoit Jallon and Umberto Napolitano in 2002, with the idea of exploring architecture as an area of activity at the intersection of several disciplines. This attitude, which has now become a methodology, allows the agency to explore new territories in search of a vision involving social, urban, ecological and functional issues.

Some of LAN Architecture’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped LAN Architecture achieve 9th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 9
Total Projects 25

8. Hamonic+Masson & Associés

© Hamonic+Masson & Associés

© Hamonic+Masson & Associés

Hamonic+Masson & Associés was founded in 1997 by architects Gaëlle Hamonic and Jean-Christophe Masson who were later joined by Marie-Agnès de Bailliencourt. The firm intervenes in all sectors including housing, public facilities, retail, offices, infrastructure and urban design in France and internationally. It is presently participating in the debate on height that has become such a hot topic throughout France.

The practice was founded in 1997, was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe prize in 2001, and in 2002 was awarded the Nouveaux Albums de la Jeune Architecture (NAJA). The firm became recognised by the general public in 2003 by designing the Maison Métal in Paris’ Parc de la Villette. It was an event that placed Hamonic+Masson at the crossroads of art and architecture, a flexible place that allows for some adventurous undertakings. We have since staged events such as co-curating the French Pavilion at the 2008 Venice Biennial, and opened a series of exhibitions at venues such as the Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine.

Some of Hamonic+Masson & Associés’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped Hamonic+Masson & Associés achieve 8th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 10
Total Projects 14

7. PPA architectures

© PPA architectures

© PPA architectures

PPA architectures is based in Toulouse, France is commited to fabricating urbanity through projects whose programs and contexts are analyzed and questioned from the point of view of use and construction. The agency tries to adjust to specific, generous and comfortable architectural and urban proposals a neutral, constructively flexible and frugal formalization. This intention, ambitious and pragmatic, relies on a collaborative, multidisciplinary and open work methodology to adapt to the contemporary conditions of a useful urbanism and architecture.

Some of PPA architectures’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped PPA architectures achieve 7th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 10
Total Projects 20

6. H2O Architectes

© H2O Architectes

© H2O Architectes

h2o architectes is an office of creative architectural design also specializing in the restoration of ancient monuments. It is lead by three architects: Charlotte Hubert, Jean-Jacques Hubert and Antoine Santiard. Established as a firm in 2005, h2o works on a wide scope of projects and scales including historical monuments and sites, urban planning, architecture and design.

Some of H2O Architectes’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped H2O Architectes achieve 6th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 10
Total Projects 17

5. NBJ architects

Created in 2000 by Elodie Nourrigat and Jacques Brion, N+B architects became NBJ Architectes in 2013. NBJ Architectes projects are inscribed in different scales, whether architectural or urban. Invested in the diffusion of architectural culture, they organize the annual Festival des Architectures Vives which invites young architects to intervene in the courtyards of private mansions in Montpellier and in the city of La Grande Motte.

Some of NBJ architects’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped NBJ architects achieve 5th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

Featured Projects 10
Total Projects 39

4. FREAKS freearchitects

© Jules Couartou

© Jules Couartou

FREAKS freearchitects is a Paris-based architecture firm lead by three architects favouring prospection, research and experimentation through projects and building process practices from small scale art installations to large scale architecture competitions. Although nowadays their built projects are mostly located in France, FREAKS’s partners have lived and experienced a wide range of abroad working contexts such as San Francisco, Tokyo, Beijing, Berlin, Mumbai, Singapore, Istanbul…

Some of FREAKS freearchitects’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped FREAKS freearchitects achieve 4th place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

A+Awards Finalist 1
Featured Projects 13
Total Projects 18

3. Atelier Zündel Cristea

© Atelier Zündel Cristea

© Atelier Zündel Cristea

Officially established in January of 2001, today AZC includes around thirty people organized into four areas: design, research, construction and administration of projects. Our teams are made up of young architects from all over the world, as the diversity of our own respective Swiss-American and Romanian origins has brought us to an understanding of the interest in crossing cultures and transgressing boundaries.

Consequently, the efficiency and creativity of our firm are bolstered by a constant effort in observing what’s going on elsewhere, in striving to work outside our country, in taking an interest in differences. Each of our projects are embodied by a strategy of qualitatively occupying sites, without preconceptions regarding their geographic location, their programmatic requirements, or their scale.

Some of Atelier Zündel Cristea’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped Atelier Zündel Cristea achieve 3rd place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

A+Awards Winner 1
Featured Projects 13
Total Projects 50

2. archi5

© archi5

© archi5

archi5 was founded in 2003 by the fruit of its founders’ common agency experience and the approach they share to architecture. A context-based approach to projects is key: the site, the programme, the social and cultural challenges are all examined, analyzed and compared. This data are then transformed into questions.

The projects offer a dynamic and comprehensive response to those issues to the highest standard that has come to be archi5’s trademark. This approach is visible, legible in every building. It confers meaning and form and is perceptible in the projects’ applications, spaces and environmental impact. It is the essence of our confidence in architecture, its capacity to enhance humankinds’ environment.
The agency uses its acumen and know-how to instill this ethos throughout and to guarantee its continuity.

Some of archi5’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped archi5 achieve 2nd place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

A+Awards Winner 5
A+Awards Finalist 3
Featured Projects 16
Total Projects 32

1. Dominique Coulon & Associés

© Dominique Coulon & Associés

© Dominique Coulon & Associés

Located in the heart of Strasbourg, Dominique Coulon & Associés is a firm of architects of national and international renown. For more than 25 years, the agency has earned a reputation for the quality of the public facilities it designs. It has worked on a wide and varied range of programmes, including a media library, music school, auditorium, school complex, swimming pool, sports facilities, a residential home for the dependent elderly and housing.

Dominique Coulon and his associate Steve Lethos Duclos allow their intuition to lead the way as they seek to develop contextual projects that combine contrast and complexity and where the outer envelope hints at inner richness.

Some of Dominique Coulon & Associés’s most prominent projects include:

The following statistics helped Dominique Coulon & Associés achieve 1st place in the 19 Best Architecture Firms in France:

A+Awards Winner 1
A+Awards Finalist 3
Featured Projects 32
Total Projects 40

Why Should I Trust Architizer’s Ranking?

With more than 30,000 architecture firms and over 130,000 projects within its database, Architizer is proud to host the world’s largest online community of architects and building product manufacturers. Its celebrated A+Awards program is also the largest celebration of architecture and building products, with more than 400 jurors and hundreds of thousands of public votes helping to recognize the world’s best architecture each year.

Architizer also powers firm directories for a number of AIA (American Institute of Architects) Chapters nationwide, including the official directory of architecture firms for AIA New York.

An example of a project page on Architizer with Project Award Badges highlighted

A Guide to Project Awards

The blue “”+”” badge denotes that a project has won a prestigious A+Award as described above. Hovering over the badge reveals details of the award, including award category, year, and whether the project won the jury or popular choice award.

The orange Project of the Day and yellow Featured Project badges are awarded by Architizer’s Editorial team, and are selected based on a number of factors. The following factors increase a project’s likelihood of being featured or awarded Project of the Day status:

  • Project completed within the last 3 years
  • A well written, concise project description of at least 3 paragraphs
  • Architectural design with a high level of both functional and aesthetic value
  • High quality, in focus photographs
  • At least 8 photographs of both the interior and exterior of the building
  • Inclusion of architectural drawings and renderings
  • Inclusion of construction photographs

There are 7 Projects of the Day each week and a further 31 Featured Projects. Each Project of the Day is published on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Stories, while each Featured Project is published on Facebook. Each Project of the Day also features in Architizer’s Weekly Projects Newsletter and shared with 170,000 subscribers.

Top image: Simone de Beauvoir Footbridge by Dietmar Feichtinger Architectes, Paris France


 

We’re constantly look for the world’s best architects to join our community. If you would like to understand more about this ranking list and learn how your firm can achieve a presence on it, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at editorial@architizer.com.

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