small firms

10 Small Architecture Firms to Watch in 2020

Great things come in small packages! Discover the small offices bringing A+Award-winning designs to life.

Eric Baldwin Eric Baldwin

Enter the 8th Annual A+Awards for a shot at international publication and global recognition. Submit your projects by May 8th, 2020 for the world’s largest awards program for architecture and building products.

In architecture, the size of a practice typically shapes the work they take on. While design transcends typologies and locales, scale is uniquely tied to the structure of an office and how they produce ideas and drawings. Smaller firms usually need to be more nimble, and, in turn, their work strongly reflects the people who make up each design team.

Thanks to its online public voting system and cross-disciplinary jury, the A+Awards program gives every firm an equal opportunity to gain recognition, regardless of their size, location or existing standing in the industry. Make sure your firm enters its latest project for the 8th Annual A+Awards before the Final Entry Deadline on May 8th, 2020, to be in the running for global recognition:

Enter the 8th Annual A+Awards

The following A+Award-winning offices — each with less than 25 staff — have proven that the A+Awards can be a spring board for success on a global scale. Exploring form, space and community engagement, these innovative firms produce work that squeezes the maximum potential out of their creative team members. Often wearing multiple hats to building partnerships for collaboration, the offices each leverage their size to create work that is greater than themselves. Keep a close watch these practices and their expanding portfolios in 2020 and beyond:

ikon.5 architects

School of Art & Design at New York State College of Ceramics by ikon.5 architects, Alfred, NY, 2014 A+Award Jury Winner in the Art Galleries category

ikon.5 architects is a design firm formed 2003, with a portfolio of projects serving higher education, non-profit organizations, cultural institutions and business corporations. Each of their projects is designed to be rooted in its place and informed by the ideas, values and traditions of the people they work with. As a broad-based practice in architecture and interior design, they aim to create an architecture that inspires and endures. They are also committed to sustaining natural resources and to maximizing environmental stewardship in their designs.

Explore ikon.5 architects’ portfolio >

The Living

small firms

Hy-Fi by The Living, New York, NY, 2015 A+Award Jury Winner in the Pavilions category

David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang created The Living in 2004. The studio combines research and practice, exploring new ideas and technologies through prototyping. The studio’s work embraces the complexity at the intersection of ideas, technologies, materials, culture, humans, non-humans, and the environment.

Focusing on the intersection of biology, computation, and sustainability, the studio has articulated three frameworks for harnessing living organisms for architecture: bio-computing, bio-sensing, and bio-manufacturing. The studio welcomes rapid change, embraces design with uncertainty, develops rules rather than forms, and designs with unknowable forces.

Explore The Living’s portfolio >

SCOB Architecture & Landscape

small firms

OneOcean Marina Port Vell by SCOB Architecture & Landscape, Barcelona, Spain, 2016 A+Award Popular Winner in the Marinas and Ports category

Sergi Carulla and Oscar Blasco are both architects and landscape architects. In 2005 they founded SCOB architecture and landscape studio, where they have been developing projects that combine both disciplines. Their work has been nationally and internationally recognised through several contests, awards and specialised magazines. They are professors of the Master in Landscape Architecture of the Catalonia Polytechnic University (UPC) and the Italian Centre of Architecture in Milan.

Explore SCOB Architecture & Landscape’s portfolio >

Graham Baba Architects

Washington Fruit Company Headquarters by Graham Baba Architects, Yakima, WA, 2017 A+Award Popular and Jury Winner in the Low-Rise Office category

As a Seattle-based firm, Graham Baba Architects been recognized for the successful place-making of commercial, residential and arts spaces. Whether through the renovation of existing buildings or in new construction, the firm believes authenticity can be found in every building by use of honest materials celebrated in their natural state. They work to creates places that tell a story, places that people are drawn to and spaces that encourage social interaction and community.

Explore Graham Baba Architects’ portfolio >

Cumulus Studio

small firms

Devil’s Corner by Cumulus Studio, Apslawn, Australia, 2017 A+Award Jury Winner in the Mixed Use category

Cumulus Studio is an architecture and interior design practice with offices in Hobart, Launceston and Melbourne. The three offices operate as one combined studio, providing flexibility in the size and scope of work undertaken and ensuring a cohesive and collaborative approach to all projects.

The studio consists of 21 designers, including 14 registered architects, and specializes in tourism, residential, commercial, heritage, urban design and interior architecture. Cumulus Studio formed out of a desire to investigate ideas collaboratively and an understanding that great ideas are developed through sharing and workshopping with others.

Explore Cumulus Studio’s portfolio >


The Camps at Coos Bay Lagoon by R&A Architecture + Design Inc. / OFFICEUNTITLED, Coos Bay, OR, 2017 A+Award Popular Winner in the Unbuilt Hospitality category

OFFICEUNTITLED describes itself as a young, energetic architecture and design firm focused on creative solutions across multiple scales and typologies, including commercial, hospitality, residential, and mixed-use. Established in 2013 as R&A Architecture and Design, and rebranded in 2019 as OFFICEUNTITLED, the practice leverages the leadership of its four principals. In 2017, their project “The Camps at Coos Bay Lagoon” was recognized with an A+Award.

Explore R&A Architecture and Design / OFFICEUNTITLED’s portfolio >

Skylab Architecture

The N M Bodecker Foundation by Skylab Architecture, 2018 A+Award Popular Winner in the Architecture +Collaboration category

Established two decades ago in Portland, Oregon, Skylab Architecture is a band of makers — curious, industrious and experimental. The firm describes itself as a group of architects, designers, creators and entrepreneurs working together across a wide range of landscapes and locations. They are “futurists, making today what we believe will inspire and connect people tomorrow.” The firm’s strikingly faceted N M Bodecker Foundation in Portland netted the office a 2018 A+Award.

Explore Skylab Architecture’s portfolio >


small firms

Precht is dedicated to architecture, design and all creative fields. The team is “motivated to come up with innovative, ecological and elegant answers to social, urban, functional and formal issues.” They are a group of creatives led by wife and husband duo Fei & Chris, and their studio is located in the mountains of Austria. From this remote location they design projects around the world. They are passionate about creating a healthier and more ecological future rooted in green architecture.

Explore Precht’s portfolio >

People’s Architecture Office (PAO)

The Courtyard House Plugin by People’s Architecture Office, Beijing, China, 2015 A+Award Jury Winner in the Architecture +Low Cost Housing category

People’s Architecture Office (PAO) is an international practice with offices based in Beijing, China and Boston, USA. Founded in 2010 by James Shen, He Zhe and Zang Feng, the firm is a multi-disciplinary studio focused on social impact through design particularly in the areas of housing, urban regeneration, innovative learning environments, and creative workspace design. People’s Architecture Office is the first architecture firm certified as a B-Corporation in Asia and serves as a model social enterprise.

Explore PAO’s portfolio >

BKK Architects

small firms

Cirqua Apartments by BKK Architects, Melbourne, Australia, 2018 A+Award Popular and Jury Winner in the Low Rise Multi Unit Housing category

BKK Architects was established in 2000 and is led by Simon Knott, Tim Black and George Huon. The practice focuses on ideas, design thinking and delivering complete solutions to clients. BKK specializes in design and problem solving rather than specific building typologies. Their clients include institutional bodies, government entities, small and large developers, the corporate and retail sectors, as well as private and public housing.

Explore BKK Architects’ portfolio >

Got a project like the ones above? Enter it in the 8th Annual A+Awards for a shot at international publication and global recognition. Submit your projects by May 8th 2020 for the world’s largest awards program for architecture and building products.

Enter the 8th Annual A+Awards

Eric Baldwin Author: Eric Baldwin
Based in New York City, Eric was trained in both architecture and communications. As Director of Communications at Sasaki, he has a background spanning media, academia, and practice. He's deeply committed to trying as many restaurants as possible in NYC.
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