Overview

The architectural scene in the booming city of Austin reflects a commitment to sustainability, the natural landscape, and contemporary elements. Architects are especially curious as to how they can incorporate adaptive re-use elements. Because the city is growing rapidly, commercial space is constantly being developed and designed, especially office space, hotel and residential space, and retail. The following list ranks the best commercial architects in Austin. These are architects who specialize in creating commercial space based on the requirements and aspirations of the diverse clients they serve. From company campuses and summer camp facilities to multi-use developments, the designs on this list are remarkable. The firms on this list deliver the highest quality spaces with innovative and sustainable designs that have won them industry recognitions.

Top Architects

10
Cornerstone Architects

Architects:
Rodney Palmer
Bob Wetmore

Awards:
National Commercial Builders Council Awards of Excellence,
Merit Award,
Grand Award Spa

Address:
7000 Bee Cave Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78746

Contact:
512-329-0007 |
info@cornerstonearchitectsllp.com

About Cornerstone Architects

An architectural design firm that specializes in custom commercial and residential buildings, Cornerstone Architects works on behalf of clients worldwide. The firm was founded in 1989, with an approach that seeks to blend architecture and interior design in order to create truly cutting-edge, award-winning designs. Cornerstone Architects has received many awards over the course of its history, such as several Awards of Excellence from the National Commercial Builders Council, a Grand Award for Belterra Amenity Center and Gateway Community Church, a Merit Award for Northwest Hills Medical Center, and Project of the Year for Fiori Day Spa. Water Enjoyment, Austin Home, American Style Villa, and Modern Home Tour Austin have all featured Cornerstone Architects.

Featured Projects

A key project is Austin Sunshine Camps, located in Zilker Park. Cornerstone designed Zilker Lodge, a 21k-square-foot indoor space. There are five meeting rooms, a commercial kitchen and restrooms, a covered pavilion, and children’s play area. Surrounded by a beautiful Texas naturescape, the lodge also has dormitories with bunks, and shower space for 120 people at a time. It has become a popular event spot for all sorts of community groups in Austin. Another interesting project is The Barn at The Reserve at Lake Travis. They redesigned old horse stables and arenas into an entertaining activities center. The original structure was preserved with modern rustic elements added. Big-screen TVs line the walls of former horse stalls, and the barn has been outfitted with a new pop-up roof. New floor-to-ceiling windows add lots of light to the gathering space of the community.

9
Antenora Architects

Architects:
Michael Antenora

Awards:
AIA National Honor Award,
Texas Society of Architects Design Award,
AIA Austin Design Award,
Engineering News Record Best of the Best Projects

Address:
3410 Far West Boulevard, Suite 330, Austin, TX 78731

Contact:
512-462-1848 |
info@antenoraarchitects.com

About Antenora Architects

Founded in 1997 by Principal Michael Antenora, Antenora Architects specializes in services focused on architectural interiors, historic preservation/re-use, planning, and graphics. For the last 20 years, the firm has built a national reputation for professionalism, innovative design, and business integrity. Antenora Architects strives to design each space in a holistic way, to achieve the right balance for each client’s unique needs. The firm focuses on various project types, including commercial, public/institutional, restaurant/hospitality, residential (single and multi-family), and mixed-use. They have been recognized as a thought leader and design innovator for their work with adaptive reuse and restaurant/hospitality projects. Their work has been recognized with awards at the local, state, and national level, including the 2017 (American Institute of Architects (AIA) National Honor Award, 2016 Texas Society of Architects Design Award, 2016 AIA Austin Design Award, 2016 Engineering News Record Best of the Best Projects and Texas & Louisiana Best Project Winner, 2016 Architect’s Newspaper Best of Design Awards for Adaptive Restoration, and 2016 ABC Central Texas Chapter ‘Excellence in Construction’ Award. Their work has been published nationally and internationally in publications such as Architecture Digest, Texas Architect, Austin Home, Austin Business Journal.

Featured Projects

In a $2.2M project, Antenora renovated a building within the adaptive re-use development Penn Field. Created for The Design Center of Austin, the heart of the building is an atrium big enough to host gatherings and is lined with a double-height wall of glass. There is also space within the building for a local theater company. The design incorporated some of the vintage elements of the old building. The space was designed to be flexible overall for different gallery layouts. Antenora also worked on a mixed-use project for the old Varsity Theatre. They adapted the bottom levels of the old theatre to better serve ground-level restaurants and second-story offices. They even reconstructed the vintage original “blade” signage and put it on the Guadalupe Street facade.

8
Furman + Keil Architects

Architects:
Gary Furman FAIA
Philip Keil AIA

Awards:
AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award,
AIA Austin Honor Award

Address:
708 Rio Grande Street, Austin, TX 78701

Contact:
512-479-4100 |
hello@fkarchitects.net

About Furman + Keil Architects

Since its founding in 1995 by firm Principal Gary Furman, Furman + Keil Architects has been dedicated to serving residential and commercial clients in the Austin area. Building sustainable, timeless structures that strike a fresh balance between local tradition and creative design is key to the firm’s success, which has expanded its scope in recent years to include small-scale commercial projects. Led by native Texan Furman — honored as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (2011) — and Philip Keil, winner of the AIA Austin’s FAIA Community Service Award (2016) and past president of AIA Austin (2014), the firm has won myriad awards, such as the AIA Austin Honor Award (2016). Publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, Austin Home, Urban Home, Texas Monthly, Austin Monthly, American Architects, and Luxe Interiors + Design have also featured the firm.

Featured Projects

Two key projects include the Greater Texas Foundation, completed in 2011 and housed in the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building in Bryan, TX, and Easy Tiger North, a combination bake shop and beer garden concept from the ELM Restaurant Group, whose soon to open second location at The Linc includes a drive-through coffee bar, 250 seat outdoor pavilion, ping-pong tables, a dog park, and an outdoor stage that hosts live music. The firm is also slated to begin working on a new retail/office space, scheduled to begin construction in fall 2017, on the vibrant East Eleventh Street corridor in the East Austin district. Featuring 3,100 square feet of street level retail space, as well as 5,700 square feet of office space, the building will also serve as the firm’s new home.

7
McKinney York Architects

Architects:
Heather H. McKinney
Al York
Michelle Rossomando

Awards:
AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award,
Texas Society of Architects Architecture Firm Award

Address:
1301 E. 7th Street, Austin, TX 78702

Contact:
512-476-0201 |
wwood@mckinneyyork

About McKinney York Architects

Winners of more than 30 design awards for its work, and many more nationally for its residential and commercial innovations, McKinney York Architects seeks to create places that inspire, serve, and draw people together. The firm, which has served the Austin area since 1983, creates unique designs that reflects their clients’ personality and needs. Led by founding Principal Heather H. McKinney, a guiding force behind the firm’s design voice and past president of the Texas Society of Architects (2010), Principal and creative thinker Al York, and Principal Michelle Rossomando, along with partners Will Wood and Brian Carlson, the firm has an expertise in tackling unusual projects and a reputation for timeless design. McKinney York Architects recently earned the 2007 AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award and the Texas Society of Architects 2013 Architecture Firm Award, the highest honor a Texas architecture firm can receive. In addition, the firm’s work has appeared in Wired, The Wall Street Journal, HGTV, The Globe and Mail, NPR, Architectural Record, Architecture, Southern Living, and Texas Architect.

Featured Projects

An exceptional commercial project is Hostel 512. The design included both dorm rooms and private rooms. In addition, there is a communal kitchen, plus numerous amenities and relaxation areas. There are built-in games outside, as well as picnic tables to take advantage of outside. The design is open and inclusive, tying back to the hostel’s goal of community. Another unique design is their Urban Roof Deck for the McGarrah Jessee branding agency. The unused roof deck was converted into a three-zoned space, allowing for different events. One area is a lawn, one a shade canopy, and one a sculpture terrace — all embodying the theme of helipad, which was inspired by the “Volkscopter” at a rural vintage shop. A drainage bed made of reused rubber tires lines the perimeter.

6
Bercy Chen Studio

Architects:
Thomas Bercy
Calvin Chen

Awards:
“Emerging Voices” prize from the Architectural League of New York,
Architizer A+ Award Jury & Popular Winner in the Sustainability

Address:
1111 E. 11th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78702

Contact:
512-481-0092 | info@bcarc.com

About Bercy Chen Studio

Founded in 2001 by Partners Thomas Bercy and Calvin Chen, Bercy Chen Studio is an architecture and urban planning firm based in Austin. Bercy Chen Studio collaborates with clients to create innovative designs based on environmentally sustainable and financially viable business models, in both the private and public sectors. The partners’ backgrounds — Bercy hails from Belgium while Chen is from Taiwan via Australia — create a design philosophy with a unique perspective that has garnered national and international recognition for the firm. Bercy Chen Studio won the prestigious “Emerging Voices” prize from the Architectural League of New York in 2006 for their innovative designs. That same year the firm was chosen as one of the top 10 emerging design firms worldwide and was profiled in Architectural Record’s December 2006 “Design Vanguard” award issue. The firm is a member of the City of Austin’s Green Building Program and USGBC with certified 3-star projects. Publications and media profiling the firm and its work include HGTV, Entrepreneur, Dwell, Austin Home, Hill Country Houses, GA Houses, and Icon.

Featured Projects

Some of their most well-known work is the vertical mixed use project The East Village in the Revitalization District of Austin’s East 11th Street. The development includes 11 office and retail spaces, plus 20 residential condominiums. There are solar screens on the southern and western exteriors. Because of the screens and other green aspects, the building earned a 3-Star Green Building rating. The storefronts on the ground floor have floor-to-ceiling windows to give the illusion that the building is floating on cubes of glass. Bercy Chen is currently proposing an ambitious project, the Nahua Tower. If greenlit, it will be built in collaboration with the Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin. The project would serve as an annex to the current cultural center, as well as an extension of MACC’s facilities and residential condominiums. The design is inspired by pre-Columbian pyramidal architecture and uses copper and onyx.

5
Baldridge Architects

Architects:
R. Burton Baldridge

Awards:
AIA Design Awards

Address:
1010 West Lynn Street, Unit B, Austin, TX 78703

Contact:
512-441-1700 |
info@baldridge-architects.com

About Baldridge Architects

At Baldridge Architects, the belief that well-designed space can go beyond merely providing shelter and amenities — doing more than simply facilitating commercial or institutional goals — guides the firm’s practice. The firm, initially best known for its residential work, splits its time between commercial and residential projects, taking care to craft and execute each project deliberately and curate space, light, mass, and texture. Going beyond trends to provide a sense of transcendence and permanence, the firm’s nine architects work with clients to fashion enduring designs that are classic and timeless. Their work has been featured online and in print in publications such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Record, dwell, Design Bureau, Luxe, Conde Nast Traveler, and Metropolis. The firm has also won myriad awards, including several AIA Design Awards in recent years.

Featured Projects

One of their biggest current projects is Arrive, a 77k-square-foot development housing 83 rooms, apartments, a coffee shop, a restaurant, and parking. Baldridge notes that this is their most ambitious hotel design to date. The facade, constructed of concrete and masonry, undulates and captures a dynamism that reflects the spirit of Austin. Through the structure’s cantilevering and tessellated mass, shade is preserved on the sidewalks. In 2010, Baldridge donated their architectural services to Casis Elementary to construct an outdoor classroom. The open-air space was to be used in conjunction with their growing garden program. The structure provides workspaces for up to 40 students, as well as plenty of storage. A vine supporting enclosure is also a feature of the project, as well as a rain collection system.

4
STG Design

Architects:
Jim Susman

Awards:
Society of American Registered Architects’ Design Honor Award for Adaptive Reuse,
AIA Austin’s Design Award,
IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter Design Excellence Award for Sustainability

Address:
828 W. 6th Street, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78703

Contact:
512-899-3500 |
info@stgdesign.com

About STG Design

Founded in 1976, STG Design is a leading firm with an integrated approach to architecture, interior design, and planning. Networked across Austin, Houston, and Nashville, the firm’s Austin office is led by Principal Jim Susman. The staff’s considerable experience with both local and international projects, and commitment to design across multiple disciplines, allows for successful planning and responsible design solutions. With a philosophy of designing from the inside out by catering to each client, the firm leverages its experience to provide strategic direction for projects of all sizes. The firm has received numerous awards, including the Society of American Registered Architects’ Design Honor Award for Adaptive Reuse (2017), AIA Austin’s Design Award (2017), and selected as the No. 4 top architecture firm and the No. 1 top commercial interior design firm by the Austin Business Journal (2017). The firm’s work has appeared in publications such as Architectural Record, Building Design + Construction, and Interior Design magazines.

Featured Projects

STG is currently working on a 280k-square-foot high-rise called 48 East in the Rainey Street District. The 35-story, 246-unit building will offer beautiful protected views of sunrise and sunset. There will also be about 11,250 square feet of retail space on the ground level. The exterior facade on the bottom levels has a reflecting material that shimmers off the street-side. Another noteworthy design is Lamar Central, a 165k-square-foot, LEED-certified building. Designed with the pedestrian in mind, the building offers canopies for people to walk comfortably by. With both commercial and retail space, Lamar Central was built with sustainable materials, and a rainwater run-off system was installed to provide water for the landscaping features. There’s also an access-controlled bike room, plus showers and a changing room for tenant employees.

3
GSC Architects

Architects:
Tom Cornelius
Joe LaRocca
Phil Scott

Awards:
AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award,
Texas Society of Architects Architecture Firm Award

Address:
901 S. MoPac Expressway, Building III, Suite 400, Austin, TX 78746

Contact:
512-477-9417 |
info@gscarchitects.com

About GSC Architects

GSC Architects is led by three principals, Tom Cornelius, Joe LaRocca, and Phil Scott. Cornelius earned his Bachelor of Environmental Design degree from Texas A&M University and his Master of Architecture Degree from the University of Texas at Austin, while LaRocca studied architecture at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Scott received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Texas Tech University. They are committed to an integrated, “problem-seeking” approach that aims to maximize natural and purchased resources. GSC was awarded the top honor “Firm Achievement Award” from the Austin Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for their contributions to the community and the profession, and for their distinguishing designs. They have become an active firm in the Austin community, working with people in all industries, from medical to corporate and ecclesiastical.

Featured Projects

An ambitious project was their design for the campus of Advanced Micro Devices, a global technology company. Set on 59 acres in Hill Country, the design was created to capture the essence of the nature surrounding it. Committed to sustainability and a beneficial working environment, the design is LEED Gold certified. Features include a raised access floor, an underground rainwater collection tank, and original native plants re-vegetated on the site. Another unique Austin-centric design was their work for the Waller Creek Boat House. The 10.8k-square-foot public facility overlooks Lake Austin from the north shore. A clubhouse on the second floor houses space for events, and there is also an expansive outdoor viewing deck. The design for the roof of the rowhouse was inspired by the hull of a boat with an arching wood and steel structure.

2
Miro Rivera Architects

Architects:
Juan Miró, FAIA
Miguel Rivera, FAIA
Ken Jones, AIA

Awards:
Texas Society of Architects Firm Achievement Award,
AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award,
AIA National Small Projects Award

Address:
505 Powell Street, Austin, TX 78703

Contact:
512-477-7016 |
info@mirorivera.com

About Miro Rivera Architects

Award-winning architectural firm Miro Rivera Architects specializes in commercial, industrial, and residential architecture, as well as urban and interior design. The firm’s approach to commercial work reflects a clear commitment to design excellence and is based on the belief that architecture should engage in a positive dialogue with the community. The firm has received more than 80 design awards and was recently chosen as the winner of the 2106Texas Society of Architects Firm Achievement Award. It was also a recipient of The International Design Awards (2009), was selected as Best New Venue in the 25th Annual Pollstar Awards, and received a Top Ten Selection in Project of the Year 2010 by Architecture of Israel. The firm’s work can be seen in leading publications including USA Today, Austin Home, Ambiente y Color, Architect, and more.

Featured Projects

Miro Rivera designed the striking Austin Independent School District (AISD) Performing Arts Center (PAC). The building was the first district-wide Fine Arts facility in the district’s 134-year history. A state-of-the-art venue located in the heart of Austin, it serves more than 84-thousand K-12 students at more than 100 schools. The AISD PAC has a 5-star sustainability rating, and an LEED Gold rating from the United States Green Building Council, and won an Austin Green Award. Another ambitious project is the award-winning Chinmaya Mission, an eight-acre campus that combined the vast Shastra principles of Hindu design with a contemporary sensibility. It houses the Hindu spiritual organization, and the design emphasizes geometric patterns, symmetry, and directional alignment. There are 12 classrooms, plus room for congregation and social gatherings.

1
Page

Architects:
Bob Burke
Arturo Chavez
Mattia J. Flabiano
Michael J. Mace
Thomas McCarthy
Lawrence W. Speck
James M. Wright

Awards:
AIA Austin Design Awards

Address:
400 W. Cesar Chavez Street, Suite 500, Austin, TX

Contact:
512-472-6721 |
aus@pagethink.com

About Page

An international presence in the architecture community, Page has its roots in Austin. Founded in 1898 in Austin, the original two-person studio has evolved into stationing offices all over the world. Since its founding, Page has received several prominent commissions in Austin, from Austin National Bank on Congress to the Littlefield building. More recently, they have worked on establishing themselves in the community even more, working on the Austin Convention Center and a six-block district around City Hall. Astoundingly, From 1984 to 2013, Page has won 30 AIA Austin design awards. From the beginning, the firm has partnered with the University of Texas by teaching there. This tradition has continued to today and other Page offices in different cities have engaged in education as well.

Featured Projects

An example of Page’s excellent commercial designs is Four Points Centre. A 440k-square-foot project, this mixed-used development has space for research and development, office, retail, residential, and hotel components. All of these are situated around a 181-acre nature habitat. It was the first speculative office development to achieve an LEED Gold S&C rating in Austin. Limestone, metal, and glass buildings were designed within the natural landscape to create the least disturbance possible. Another featured design is the Mueller Cinema, which is within Mueller’s new Town Center District. Since the cinema is located on the second level, the staircase is centralized through the facade to bring visitors through the lobby and upstairs. The 60k-square-foot building has six screens, as well as ground floor space for 10 to 12 retail shops, as well as the movie theater’s bar and lobby.

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