Commercial Architecture

What is commercial architecture?

Commercial architecture is the design and construction of structures fit for commercial purposes. Commercial buildings are designed by commercial architects to serve the needs of business, government, educational and hospitality clients and are dedicated to develop appealing and functional spaces that meet the needs of commercial organizations. Whether you’re looking to design a new space or renovate an existing one, there are several different types of commercial architecture to choose from. In this article, we will explore the different types of commercial architecture and how your commercial architect can assist you to create successful communities for a wide range of businesses.

Types of commercial architecture

Commercial architecture includes a diversity of building types. These can be single use buildings or mixed use, with multiple types combined into a single development. Below are some of the common types of commercial architecture.

  1. Offices

Office blocks are the most common type of commercial architecture. They are designed for businesses of all sizes and often host multiple companies in a single space . Office buildings are typically multi-story structures with open floor plans, designed to provide flexible space that can be retrofitted for a variety of office layouts.

  1. Retail

Retail spaces are designed for businesses that sell goods and services to the public. These spaces are often located in shopping centers or standalone buildings, and are designed to attract and engage customers.

Commercial architects will use design strategies such as large windows, clear signage, and attractive interior design to attract potential customers to the space. Successful retail architecture can help to increase foot traffic and sales, making it a vital aspect of any retail business.

  1. Hospitality

Hospitality projects are designed to provide accommodations and services to the public, including hotels, resorts, and restaurants. Hospitality architecture focuses on creating a welcoming and comfortable environment for guests from around the world.

Good quality design elements such as comfortable seating, warm lighting, and tasteful decor can help to create a memorable experience for guests and can offer exposure to local arts, history and cultures.

  1. Industrial

Industrial buildings are designed for businesses that manufacture or store products. Industrial architecture aims to accommodate the efficient and safe execution of an industrial process.

These processes will be unique to any industry and our commercial architects often work in collaboration with specialist consultants to come up with design solutions that accommodate the specific technology required on an industrial project.

  1. Institutional Buildings

Institutional buildings are designed for government and public entities such as schools, universities, and hospitals. These buildings are often large and complex, designed to accommodate a wide range of activities and services.

Institutional architecture focuses on functionality and accessibility and often serves as a hub for cultural development. These buildings often play vital rolls in society such as developing communities and provide essential spaces for the running of a town or a city. A good example of this is the San francisco city hall. (

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Commercial structural engineering

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Mixed use developments

Commercial projects are often developed to accommodate several of the types mentioned above onto a single site. commercial architects will use their expertise to arrange the project to allow for a diversity of options for potential tenants and will use building materials that will allow for quick and easy alterations to allow for future readiness. A popular example of mixed use commercial architecture are Planned unit developments.

Planned Unit Developments.

Planned Unit Development (PUD) is a type of commercial architecture that is gaining popularity. PUD is a comprehensive design and development plan that combines residential, commercial, and industrial land uses in one area, rather than having them separated. PUD projects allow for the efficient use of land and create a sense of community by providing a mix of services and amenities in one area.

A PUD project often incorporates green spaces and walking paths, which makes it more attractive to residents and businesses alike. One of the key features of PUDs is their flexibility. They can incorporate a wide range of design features that are tailored to the needs of the specific project. For example, a PUD might include a mix of commercial and residential buildings such as retail stores, offices, and restaurants, as well as apartments, and single-family homes.

Landscape architecture often makes up an important part of a PUD project and architects will work alongside the landscape architect as they aim to create sustainable environments that enhances the overall quality of life for residents

One of the challenges of a PUD and any other mixed use commercial project, is that they require a significant amount of planning and coordination among various stakeholders. At level, our commercial architects will collaborate with developers, clients, local governments, and community organizations across the stages of design development and construction to ensure a well designed project.

The benefits of a well-designed PUD can be significant, including increased property values, improved quality of life, and a sense of community pride.

To Build or to Retrofit? that is the question.


Retrofitting is an increasingly popular trend among commercial clients. Retrofitting involves modifying and upgrading the design of existing buildings to improve their functionality, sustainability, and energy efficiency.

This approach offers several benefits, including lower cost on energy, increased occupant comfort, and a reduced impact on the environment. Retrofitting can also extend the lifespan of the building by many years, enhance its value, and improve its overall performance.

Working with an experienced commercial architect is crucial when undertaking a retrofitting construction project. The architect can evaluate the existing site conditions, recommend appropriate retrofitting measures, and create a comprehensive design plan that takes into account the building’s unique characteristics and the clients needs. An architect will also use creative interior design strategies to ensure client can expect the building to function as intended

A client may not have the resources to pay for a complete new office or building, which makes retrofitting an ideal way of imprinting their business identity on an existing building.

Commercial architectural design

Commercial architecture is an essential aspect of building design that directly impacts the success of your business. Whether you are opening a retail store, office, law firm, or consulting business, the design and construction of your building must cater to your specific business needs and the jobs you need to carry out.

Specialized commercial architecture designs may also be necessary, depending on your business’s specific needs. For example, data centers, warehouses, and manufacturing facilities require unique design features to accommodate their unique mechanical and logistical requirements. These designs will be overseen by professionals, that have a good understand of the specific business practices and who work alongside the architects to advise on the correct process or technology to be accommodated.

Commercial Architects

Whether your requirements are for residential, industrial or cultural architecture, working with experienced commercial architects is critical to achieving your desired building design. When it comes to the style of architecture at Level Engineering we offer a wide variety that gives you the freedom to have complete satisfaction with the design.

We look at aspects like what do you like in architecture? do you want to be unique or affordable? Are you driven by square footage cost or do you want to make a statement in your community?

Level Engineering is committed to providing clients with a broad range of commercial architecture styles that cater to their unique needs and preferences.

We recognize that each client has their unique vision and requirements for their commercial building, and we work collaboratively with them to create a design that meets their needs. Unlike our competitors, we offer a personalized approach to commercial architecture and strive to provide a unique, customized building design that aligns with our clients’ goals.

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Picture of Scott Zurn, P.E.

Scott Zurn, P.E.

Founder and CEO of Level Engineering & Level Design Partners. With more than 4 decades of experience, Scott Zurn has contributed to all aspects of the building industry, serving both public and private sectors. He’s achieved tremendous success in commercial and residential markets, held leadership roles such as building official, city engineer, and director for local governments, and accomplished hundreds of millions of dollars in successful commercial building and civil infrastructure as a designer, project manager, and leader. As the Founder of the Level brand, Scott is dedicated to ensuring the entrepreneurial success of design professionals, as well as creating positive environmental impacts through design work. Read Scott’s full bio here.

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