Designing a Super-firm

As consolidation comes to architecture, Scottish firm RMJM gains global competitive advantage with its acquisition of New Jersey-based Hillier

"Starchitects" like Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano may dominate the headlines. But it's the super-firms that dominate the global building industry. Rampant mergers and acquisitions are resulting in firms that are powered by an unusually large collection of architects. The recent acquisition of New Jersey's Hillier Architecture by Edinburgh (Scotland)-based RMJM, followed by the July 6 acquisition of Baltimore-based RTKL Associates by Arcadis, whose global headquarters is in Arnhem, Netherlands, exemplifies an emerging trend in which architectural firms are shelling out big bucks to super-size themselves.

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