Swanke Hayden Connell, the New York City-based architectural practice, filed for protection from its creditors Jan. 9 in federal court in Manhattan.
With a glittering portfolio of projects that included restoration of the centennial Statue of Liberty, New York City's Trump Tower and offices of some of the most prestigious corporations in the world, Swanke Hayden had dwindled in recent years to a small practice.
The final blow to the company apparently came with a $2.297 million dispute over payments due from the developers of a Russian office tower.
The company had revenue of only 14.5 million in 2013, down sharply from 30.6 million in 2012, according to its reports for ENR's Top 500 Design Firms.
Swanke Hayden's original partnership was founded in 1906.
According to a statement filed in bankruptcy court by Richard S. Hayden, who owns two-thirds of the practice, two principals departed last year who had accounted for 50% of its billings. The principals were in charge of municipal/government work and health care.
Swanke Hayden's biggest unsecured creditors include M-E Engineers, New York City ($632,000) and United Reprographic Services ($499,000).
According to Hayden's statement to the court, the company's single largest Russian client refused to make the $2.297 million payment because it claims it was damaged by Swanke Hayden's alleged delays and omissions.
The architect said the firm performed properly and believes it will be vindicated.
But the statement also adds, "There are also unresolved political and economic issues which may play a role in the outcome."
Ironically, Swanke Hayden's website proclaims the completion of the 72-story Eurasia Tower in Moscow a "triumph" that represent the successful culmination of a decade-long immersion in the development of the "New Russia."
It isn't clear that this project is the same as the one involving the disputed payment.