September 26, 2016 Alumni-Led Firms Rank in Top 50


Firms led by alumni of the College of Architecture and Design have placed in the Top 50 list as ranked by Architect, the journal of the American Institute of Architects.

Hastings Architecture Associates, headquartered in Nashville, placed 8th overall in the Architect list. In addition to overall rankings, firms also are scored in three categories: Business, Sustainability and Design. In these categories, Hastings landed 41st, 13th and 25th, respectively.

The College of Architecture and Design is proud of our alumni who are leading Hastings, including Jim Hastings, founding principal, who earned a Bachelor of Architecture in 1971, and David Bailey, principal, who graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1993.  Heather Mathias (’03, Interior Design), principal, has served on the College of Architecture and Design’s Dean’s Advocacy Board since 2013 and is a member of the college’s advisory council.  A UT Communications graduate, William Hastings also serves as principal at Hastings.

“Proving that smaller firms can compete with the multinationals, Hastings Architecture Associates and Brooks + Scarpa Architects both cracked the Top 10 overall,” stated the article in Architect.

Other firms led by alumni of the college were included in the Top 50 list, as well.

Gensler, a global design firm, was named No. 20 overall (38th in Business, 50th in Sustainability, 21st in Design) in the 2016 ranking. Alumna Robin Klehr Avia (’76, Interior Design) is regional managing principal and chair of the executive committee of the board of directors at Gensler. In May, Avia was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from UT.

Alumnus Josh Shelton is experiencing great success with the nationally recognized design firm El Dorado Architects as the firm celebrates 20 years of business. In the Top 50 ranking, El Dorado was named No. 11 in Design. Shelton graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture in 1995 and now serves as principal at the firm.

Archimania, a firm located in Memphis, earned a No. 20 spot in the Design category. The firm is led by Barry Yoakum, FAIA, (’78, BArch), principal-in-charge of vision and collaboration.

“These alumni are leading their firms to national and international distinction,” said Scott Poole, FAIA, dean of the College of Architecture and Design. “We also see other firms on the list who are populated with our alumni. These kinds of results provide proud moments for our faculty and college.  Our alumni are doing extraordinary things, and we laud their accomplishments.”

View the full list and details about Architect Top 50.

Other firms with Top 50 rankings with ties to the College of Architecture and Design include Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Brooks + Scarpa. The college currently partners with SOM in the UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for High Performance Energy Practices in Urban Environments. Partner in charge of SOM’s City Design Practice, Phil Enquist, serves in the Governor’s Chair position. SOM was named No. 3 overall, No. 22 in Business, No. 10 in Sustainability and No. 6 in Design.

Brooks + Scarpa Architects placed 9th overall, 17th in Sustainability and 4th in Design. The firm is led by Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA, the first BarberMcMurry Professor named by the College of Architecture and Design in 2014.


Illustration courtesy of Architect.