What exactly is a Commercial Architect?

Commercial Architect vs. Licensed Architect Who Designs Commercial Buildings

Who/what is a commercial architect?

In a previous post entitled “What exactly is a Residential Architect?” we discussed the difference between what people sometimes call a residential architect and a licensed architect who does residential design.

Ditto for the commercial realm. There is no special “Commercial Architecture” degree or license. Architects are trained to design buildings, and at the end of the day, commercial buildings are still buildings. Any licensed architect should be able to design a commercial building. Some do it better or have more experience than others. C’est la vie.

What is a commercial building?

So, when people talk about a commercial architect, they are really referring to a licensed architect whose area of expertise is designing buildings used for a commercial or business purpose—retail and office buildings, factories, warehouses and the like.

To reiterate, it is more accurate to refer to the type of architecture as commercial architecture, rather than the type of architect as a commercial architect.

Phases of Design

Commercial architecture, like residential architecture, includes new construction projects, as well as additions and alterations to existing structures, and these projects usually follow roughly the same progression of steps. Typically, they go through these six phases: programming, schematics, design development, construction documents, hiring a contractor and construction phase services or construction administration.

Of course, not all commercial projects are the same—in some cases, several of these steps may be combined, or there may be additional ones depending on the complexity of the site, intended use or design. For more information about the design process, click here.

JLA is here to help

If you are a business owner and need help with your commercial construction project, contact Jonathan Lee Architects for a design consult.