The 10 Most Creative People in Architecture

Cliff Kuang from Fast Company has ranked the 10 most creative people in architecture. That doesn’t mean they’re the best, just the most unusual and influential visions in the field.

Be sure to check the architect’s works published on ArchDaily!

The complete list after the break.

1. Will Alsop, ALSOP Architects

ALSOP Architects

2. Yansong Ma ,MAD Architects – (projects on AD)

MAD Architects

3. Insuk Cho and Kisu Park, MASS Studies – (projects on AD)

MASS Studies

4. Rem Koolhaas, OMA – (projects on AD)


5. Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries, MVRDV – (projects on AD)


6. Shigeru Ban, Shigeru Ban Architects – (projects on AD)

Shigeru Ban Architects

7. Jacques Herzog and Pierre De Meuron, Herzog & De Meuron – (projects on AD)

Jacques Herzog and Pierre De Meuron

8. Thom Mayne, Morphosis Architects – (projects on AD)

Morphosis Architects

9. Zaha Hadid, Zaha Hadid Architects – (projects on AD)

Zaha Hadid Architects

10. Norman Foster, Foster + Partners – (projects on AD)

Foster + Partners

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "The 10 Most Creative People in Architecture" 12 Jun 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • manuel peña

    creatives or extravagant, i only agree with koolhaas, mvrvd, h&dm and foster , the others is just extravaganza

  • OV

    1. Who is Cliff Kuang?
    2. What gives him the authority to make such a list?
    (Sorry, being a freelance writer doesn’t cut it for me)
    3. Amazing how architects from central and south america are not represented in his list. I think Mr. Kuang needs to do some more research.

    Archdaily, I really enjoy coming to your site. You show an incredible amount of projects from around the world. However, I highly urge you to be more critical and rigorous on what you post.

  • PanamArq

    id say just 10 most unusual, i dont know about influential…

  • Ade

    i dont think it is that bad of a list

  • PanamArq

    also, don’t you think that Frank Gehry would be on a list like this?

    • Scottmft

      I agree…Gehry is the man that opened up the floodgates…every building he does is sculptural and audacious but is still contextually driven is a huge achievement…i guess architecture is now just about image making…

  • mathias


    • hd

      Thank you, Mathias, well said…. enough already…

  • kc

    how can someone be ‘most creative’? =/
    none of these are breakthrough projects (if that is a measure of creativity) that change the way we see our world. The creative list should be of people we don’t really know yet.
    and..somehow none of these projects are beautiful.

    • Scottmft

      Apparently beauty doesn’t exist anymore…i’ve heard it’s an archaic concept…

  • Sofie

    If you mean by “most creative” also “most innovative”, then I think Vincent Callebaut certainly deserves a place in the top 10!

    (This top 10 is apparently only about famous architects, there are enough creative designers, who may not be famous yet.)

  • _panza

    alsopt, mvrdv, koolhaas, HdM and foster OK… but why Mass studies and not BIG (JDS)?? MAD is just a clone of Hadid

  • bs

    MVRDV,MAD, HdM and OMA is ok.. But I agree whith _Panza. Where’s BIG?

    _And What is Foster doing on this list? _The good Sir. Norman Foster hasn’t designed anything good the last decade!

    Come on this can be done much better!

  • David Basulto [tricky]

    Dear OV,

    Fastcompany is the kind of magazine “clients” read. Trust me, they won´t read Domus, Abitare or Arch Record.

    So, we think it is interesting what do the business people think when it comes to creative architects. At some point, is how the rest of the society see architects. And that is important, not just architects complimenting architects.

  • MJ

    OMA & MVRDV & H&dM & lots of garbage.

  • nautilus

    Renzo Piano?
    Peter Zumthor?
    Ando? Hopkins? Atelier 5?

  • PanamArq

    it says UNUSUAL nautilus, and read David’s comment that this is from a business magazine. I am sure that businessmen aren’t very interested in seeing Ando or Zumthor.

  • Magnus

    Alsop, unbeaten.

  • joao

    i’m really scared about the future of architecture.

    “form no longer follows function. it follows image.” – Deyan Sudjic in ‘The Edfice Complex’

    • Scottmft

      definitely…we are awaiting a new definition…function isn’t as clear as it used to be and the formal possibilities are exploding…we need an architecture of the soul…but I’m not holding my breath…

  • Luis
  • Luis

    and that competition too:

  • Luis

    this stuff is a fashion design

  • alejandro

    death to archifashion!

  • Bassil

    Frank gehry, daniel libeskind, Ben van Berkel should have made the list

    Mr, Foster has no place here. I think he might be the best architect in the world right now but he just don’t belong on this List.

  • sander

    This list is more a list of architect’s that get projects with the budget to be extravaganza. The real creative architects are the one’s with small budgets and limited resources not firms like OMA who let there interns and junior architects come up with dozends of concepts and pick one of the with’s suites Rem idea’s best. No only firms who have the resources to develope only one idea can be seen as creative in mine opion.The rest is shooting with a shot gun from one meter distance and hoping jou get lucky.

  • Astor

    All these entries belongs to the past decade. Now architecture is about to embrace something simple and solid and i think lists like this should reflect that. Will Alsop has never been important, Shigeru Ban, Norman Foster is the Bill Gates od architecture and Zaha Hadid is a lost cause long ago. i can think of a few polish or greek offices more interesting than this whole list.

    • Scottmft

      don’t forget Spain…good groundswell there…

  • panamArq

    i just looked at Alsop’s Chips project, it is such a joke! what responsible architect puts letters on the facade of his building?? such bull…..

  • 16:08:78

    Well, Cliff Kuang from Fast Company YOU are WRONG!!!. You see Mr. Kuang doesn’t know a thing about how these firms run their CREATIVE THINKING. Certainly, in contemporary architecture it is not the task anymore of one illuminated man to come up with a great idea, instead the group of people who forms the whole firm undertakes this task. I find this to be true, and so I would suggest to change the name of this article to “The 10 most creative firms in contemporary architecture” to be more suitable for this content.

    Even with this matter corrected, I wouldn’t find some of these firms to fit the theme of this article.


  • citi3000

    It’s just a mean trick. Cooking up a hype called “masters salad”,”master-mayonnaise” is needed to cover up the rotten lettuce.

    This show sucks. hahaha.

  • J

    please tell what is the base of such a list?

  • Henrique Gonçalves

    What a stupid list, as if you make crazy things you’re creative.
    There’s a lot of small details created and developed by architects like Chipperfield and Siza who shows an extraordinary creativity with a plus: works!

  • DCV

    I would add PLOT (JDS+BIG), UN Studio, FOA, and R&Sie

  • David Basulto [tricky]


    Couldn´t agree more!!!! But it´s very biased, as I personally know half that list.

    But also, I urge everyone to check out our AD Futures section. It´s a list of young practices that I´m pretty sure have the potential to be the next-big-thing in the architecture scene.