Many followers consider Rem Koolhaas to be the coolest, hippest, and most cutting-edge architect on the planet. But, like all things cutting-edge, Koolhaas is difficult to classify. Since the late 1970s, the Dutch designer has earned acclaim as an author, a theorist, an urban planner, a cultural researcher and a professor at Harvard. He has amassed an array of projects ranging in size from small, The Bordeaux House (1998), to large, the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, China (begun 2004), to extra large, the Euralille complex, located in Lille, France (1994).

Moshe Safdie (b 1938) grew up in Israel, moved to Canada with his family at 15, studied architecture at the McGill University and later opened an office in Montreal. Safdie attracted early acclaim as the designer of Montreal's revolutionary ‘Habitat’ for Expo 67, a housing system based on prefabricated modules stacked around prefabricated or site-built utility cores. The firm provides a full range of urban planning and architectural services, as well as interior design.

Ben Van Berkel (born 1957) is a Dutch architect. He studied architecture at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and at the Architectural Association in London, receiving the AA Diploma with Honours in 1987.
In 1998, Van Berkel and Bos re-launched their practice as UNStudio, the UN standing for ‘United Net’. UNStudio presents itself as a network of specialists in architecture, urban development and infrastructure. With UNStudio, Van Berkel has built several projects. He is an articulate, careful speaker and, in his practice, a rigorous, almost mathematical designer.

Herzog & de Meuron Architekten, BSA/SIA/ETH (HdeM) is a Swiss architecture firm, founded and headquartered in Basel, Switzerland in 1978. The careers of founders and senior partners Jacques Herzog (born 19 April 1950), and Pierre de Meuron (born 8 May 1950), closely parallel one another, with both attending the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. They are perhaps best known for their conversion of the giant Bankside Power Station in London to the new home of the Tate Modern.

Snøhetta is an international architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design office based in Oslo, Norway and New York City. Snøhetta has two principals, Craig Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen. In addition, there are four partners, architect Robert Greenwood, architect Ole Gustavsen, architect Tarald Lundevall and landscape architect Jenny Osuldsen. Ole Gustavsen fulfils the role of Managing Director for the company. In 2006, Snøhetta had approximately 80 designers working on projects in Europe, Asia and America.

Massimiliano Fuksas is an Italian architect, born in Rome in 1944. He received his degree in Architecture from the La Sapienza University in Rome, 1969, where he opened his first office with his wife. From 1994 to 1997 he was a member of the urban commissions of Berlin and Salzburg. For many years he has dedicated special attention to the study of urban problems, particularly the suburbs. Through his architecture one can see that the studio expresses devotion to the study of urban problems in large metropolitan areas.

 

An international figure in architectural practice and urban design, Daniel Libeskind is well known for introducing a new critical discourse on architecture and for his multidisciplinary approach. His practice extends from building major cultural and commercial institutions—including museums and concert halls—to convention centers, universities, housing, hotels, shopping centers, and residential work. He also designs opera sets and maintains an object design studio.

Lord Foster runs Foster & Partners, England, which is certainly one of the most celebrated architect offices in the world of the last century. Not only prolific, the practice has consistently pushed boundaries, especially in terms of materials and technology, but also of form and building envelope.

FOA

Founded in 1992, Foreign Office Architects (FOA) is an international architecture practice led by Farshid Moussavi and Alejandro Zaera-Polo. The firm is based in London and provides masterplanning, architecture and interior design services for the public and private sectors. FOA's name refers to the fact that its principals, Alejandro Zaera Polo, 38, and Farshid Moussavi, 37, are Spanish and Iranian, and its office has projects in Japan, the United States, the Netherlands and Spain.

A leading contemporary woman architect, Zaha Hadid, is known for intense, avant-garde, sometimes deconstructivist designs. Born in Baghdad, she studied at the Architectural Association in London and was a partner in the Office of Metropolitan Architecture with Rem Koolhaas. Heading over 250 people strong firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, headquartered in London, she ranked 69th on the Forbes list of ‘The World's 100 Most Powerful Women’ in 2008.