Community is what makes commercial spaces come alive. Whether you’re looking to build a corporate working space or a community-serving retail facility or institution, you need an architect that will consider the contextual and communal needs of the people who will inhabit these spaces. In addition, understanding mega-trends and gaining a grasp of how your development is likely to progress in the future can be challenging.
To help you choose the right designer equipped to handle any building requirements you might require, our team has curated a list of the best commercial architects in Boston, Massachusetts. These firms were selected for their accreditations, certifications, and professional affiliations. We also considered the recognition each firm has received in the form of industry awards, client reviews, and press features. We have laid out the range of services the firms offer, their specializations, and the length of time they have been in the industry.
Top Commercial Architects
Elkus Manfredi Architects
25 Drydock Ave., Boston, MA 02210
About Elkus Manfredi Architects
Elkus Manfredi Architects is a full-service design firm providing architecture, master planning, urban design, interior architecture, historic preservation, space planning, programming, and experiential graphic design. Its diverse portfolio of award-winning work includes planning and design for environments of work, living, learning, play, and innovation. The firm is focused on understanding clients’ long-term strategic goals and supporting these goals in all assignments. Elkus Manfredi is a member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and is a signatory to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2030 Commitment, working towards the goal of carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030.
David P. Manfredi is the CEO and Founding Principal of the company. He is a Fellow of the AIA (FAIA), and a member of the Boston Preservation Alliance, International Council of Shopping Centers, Commercial Real Estate Development Association, and Urban Land Institute (ULI). David serves on the Boston Civic Design Commission and the ULI Boston Advisory Board. In addition, he advocates for building and protecting vital, sustainable, durable urban places as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP). He steers Elkus Manfredi in reinventing urban precincts into creative headquarters such as Boston Art. This art consultancy’s new workplace is housed in The Innovation and Design Building and supports a collaborative consultant/client curation process. An efficient, sophisticated hybrid workspace combines offices, a gallery, open art storage, workstations, meeting, and studio space, while an open floor plan, clear sightlines, and glass walls maximize the sense of spaciousness.
64 Pleasant St., Watertown, MA 02472
About Sasaki Associates
Sasaki Associates recognizes how design can improve people’s lives by creating spaces that inspire them. The firm feels that fine architecture should enhance people’s experiences by positively influencing their social behavior and personal drive. The company is concept-driven, allowing it to create detailed concepts and designs that reflect its well-rounded capabilities and thorough attention to detail.
The firm has received numerous accolades for its services and projects; the AIA, Boston Society of Architecture, and the USGBC are just some of the prestigious organizations that have recognized the firm over the years. These same associations also certified the firm and some of its team members, which include accreditations from the AIA, FAIA, and the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ).
Pictured below is Havas/Arnold Worldwide Boston Headquarters for which the Sasaki team employed two concepts. The first, the stitch, links the north and south sides of expansive floor plates, tying together old brick, terra cotta, and steel with glass, concrete, and technology. The reuse of found materials—old railings as marker trays, radiator grilles as light fixtures, reclaimed wood for stair treads—and restrained use of new materials speaks both to the agency’s dedication to authenticity and to its mission of sustainability. The second concept, the vortex, creates a vertical circulation and collaboration core from the roof skylight to the lowest level, anchoring common amenities around central staircases.
Cambridge Seven Associates
1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
About Cambridge Seven Associates
Lou Bakanowsky, Ivan Chermayeff, Peter Chermayeff, Alden Christie, Paul Dietrich, Tom Geismar and Terry Rankine are the original seven creatives behind Cambridge Seven Associates. Drawing on their varied backgrounds in exhibit design, planning, industrial design, architecture, and even filmmaking, the partners founded a singular design studio in 1962. The firm has since worked on construction projects around the world, reaching more than $500 million in total construction costs. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has awarded Cambridge Seven Associates Firm of the Year for their portfolio of academic, cultural, corporate, and commercial projects. Boston Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and MBTA Shawmut Station are just three of the company’s projects that shape the city.
Cambridge Seven Associates is responsible for the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, a curved, glass-clad, LEED Silver high-rise five-star hotel with full amenities on the lower floors and luxury condominiums above. The tower’s residential units feature operable bay windows reminiscent of the area brownstones but articulated in a new 21st-century expression. The building’s unique form allows separate and private access for residents and hotel guests; the lobby, café, and restaurant enliven the adjacent streetscape.
69 Canal St. 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02114
About Handel Architects
Handel Architects is an architecture and planning firm with a long reach and an expansive portfolio. President Gary E. Handel, FAIA, founded the firm in New York City in 1994. The company of more than 150 designers and staffers has now expanded to offices in San Francisco and Hong Kong. Their presence in the Northeast is indisputable, with over 250 design awards and a constantly growing portfolio. Since 2000, the firm has designed projects recognized by the Boston Society of Architects, the Boston Preservation Alliance, and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects. The AIA, the Congress for New Urbanism, and the Concrete Industry Board have also awarded Handel-designed projects in Boston proper, like the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences and the Boston Conservatory-Hemenway Building.
Handel demonstrates its creativity and value for innovation in its design for the Winthrop Center. Though technically one tower, the massing of the building splits into two as it rises, and each form is treated differently on the skyline. Winthrop Center will be over 1.8 million square feet of residential, office, and retail space, designed to LEED Platinum standards. The office component of the project will be certified Passive House, the most rigorous energy efficiency standard in the world, making Winthrop Center the largest Passive House office building in the world.
10 Post Office Square Suite #700N, Boston, MA 02109
Arrowstreet is an award-winning architectural and design firm of over 95 architects, interior designers, planners, and graphic designers. The firm was established in the 1960s and hasn’t slowed down since. Arrowstreet is known for its consistent capacity to reimagine well-established design patterns and practices. Year by year, the firm challenges itself in reinventing new ways to create building typologies. Doing so enables the firm to garner major awards including the Boston Preservation Alliance’s President’s Award for Excellence in 2020 and the Gold Chicago Design Awards for a retail project in 2016.
The firm is headed by Amy Korte. Amy acquired a BFA in Environmental Design from the Parsons School of Design The New School and a Master’s in Architecture degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design. She takes active leadership roles in local organizations such as the Boston Society of Architects and ULI Boston.
Arrowstreet’s experience in the retail market varies from boutiques to mixed-use developments. One of its most impressive projects is Congress Square in downtown Boston. Prominent features of the design include a new elevator core being built in a former light well, enabling a more open floor plate with expansive sightlines. A dynamic custom curtain wall addition offers seven additional floors of office and amenity space, and a custom-designed, sculptural fiber-reinforced plastic provides a unique depth and texture as it floats above the existing cornice line. These new features carefully integrate with the existing cityscape, preserving the historic quality of the original buildings’ classic architecture.
Bruner / Cott & Associates
225 Friend St. Suite #701, Boston, MA 02114
About Bruner / Cott & Associates
Bruner / Cott & Associates employs architecture to pay homage to the natural environment in which a space is designed and to improve the users’ living experiences. True architecture—the firm believes—is centered on the integration of endurance, creativity, and an area’s history. Partner and principal Jason Forney, a FAIA, is a member of the Boston Society of Architects’ nominating committee and editorial board and co-chair of the higher education subcommittee of the AIA’s Committee for Architecture in Education. His work has received awards at the national, regional, and local levels including the AIA COTE Top Ten and Building of the Year recognition from The Architect’s Newspaper. He has expanded the firm’s services to include a greater range of projects for an increasingly diverse range of clients.
Bruner / Cott & Associates’s commitment to delivering architecture that reflects a region’s history is embodied in the Landmark Center which was originally built in 1929. The new design cut two six-story atria into the structure, creating a “figure-eight” floorplan and filling the space with natural light. Yellow brick and Indiana limestone set the background for the new atria, interwoven with materials original to the building. The six upper floors are now offices with 80-foot deep floor plans. Below, big-box stores at ground level reinforce an active streetscape. An eight-theatre multiplex is in a new wing, rebuilt entirely from the ground up.
200 High St. 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02110
Based in Boston and New York City, SGA is an award-winning architecture, interior design, planning, branded environments, and virtual design and construction practice. Winner of the Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” award for architecture and the Boston Real Estate Times’ 2020 “Architectural Firm of the Year,” SGA embodies a tech-forward design that redefines how life science, academic, urban, mixed-use, corporate, and commercial projects are visualized and delivered. The strength of their experienced team is speed to the market, problem-solving, fast-track public approvals, and seamless integration of design, development, and construction process. SGA’s team-first approach and trademark creativity have resulted in over 450 million square feet of successful, innovative commissions.
SGA collaborated with Living Proof to build a new Boston-based headquarters that support the business including an open office, conference, open collaboration areas, a development and chemistry lab, photo and video studio, education center for training, and test salon. The open work area is situated at the window line to take advantage of the building’s natural daylight. The open collaboration space utilizes biophilia by introducing tall grasses as a way to provide a visual and acoustic buffer to the adjacent work station area.
The Architectural Team
50 Commandant’s Way at Admiral’s Hill, Chelsea, MA 02150
About The Architectural Team
Celebrating its 50th year, The Architectural Team, Inc. (TAT), has been recognized for its thought leadership and diverse portfolio in architecture, interior design, and master planning. Creating lasting transformation in the communities it serves, the 95-person firm has earned more than 200 awards for design excellence across a broad range of building types and programs. These include new construction of large-scale urban mixed-use developments, multifamily, commercial, waterfront, and hospitality developments, assisted and senior living facilities, and community centers.
TAT is also proud of its national reputation in the areas of historic preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse and the hundreds of projects that have transformed neighborhoods across the United States, artfully restoring and reimagining neglected buildings for new uses while simultaneously preserving history. Building on its established reputation as a trusted partner in design, The Architectural Team looks forward to another 50 years of design innovation, client service, and creative collaboration.
1000 Massechusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
Founded in 1955, SMMA is an employee-owned, multidisciplinary design firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island. The firm offers integrated architecture, engineering, interior design, and planning services to clients in New England and beyond. Specializing in urban design, SMMA has earned decades-long relationships with corporate and commercial clients while remaining true to its founders’ ethos of treating design as a highly collaborative process.
In Boston’s historic South End, SMMA was asked to reimagine 321 Harrison Avenue—originally an office-only building—as a world-class laboratory and office hub. Drawing on their depth of experience in multi-use lab/office design, SMMA’s design team adapted the entire eight-floor space for lab and office facilities to meet the needs of a wide range of life science and biotech tenants. 321 Harrison recently added five new lab tenants and is well-placed to attract even more of the Boston area’s most innovative science companies.
560 Harrison Ave. Suite #301, Boston, MA 02118
About Machado Silvetti
In 1985, AIA-certified partners Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti founded Machado Silvetti. This architecture and urban design firm have created exemplary buildings in the U.S. as well as abroad. This internationally-recognized architectural firm does projects in various markets. These include education, museums, housing, commercial, urban places, and master planning. It builds, renovates, and expands distinctive structures and spaces.
It earned esteemed awards such as the Topaz Medallion for Architectural Education Individual Recipient from AIA and Honorable Mention in Unbuilt Landscape. In addition, several publications such as Glass Magazine, Architect Magazine, Architectural Journal, and Wall Street Journal have all mentioned the firm in various publications.
One of the firm’s notable projects is The Atelier 505, a mixed-use development that contains theater and arts facilities to expand the Boston Center for the Arts, commercial and retail spaces, and over 100 residences. The volume of the building steps back from Tremont Street, exposing the building’s copper dome to the street. This stepping back also creates a triangular public plaza, animated by landscaping, paving patterns, café seating, shopfronts, display windows, and lobby entrances. This plaza is a simple stage-like surface for activities that spill from the building.
226 Causeway St. 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02114
Stantec is a top-tier global design and delivery firm that designs with the community in mind. Its local knowledge, coupled with its world-class expertise, allows the firm to meet clients’ requirements in more personalized ways. Its designers, engineers, scientists, and project managers innovate together at the intersection of community, creativity, and client relationships. From urban mixed-use to destination resort environments, new towns to residential complexes, Stantec carefully weighs the needs of residents and the environment to build inclusive, sustainable communities for people of all income levels.
Gord Johnston, the president and CEO of Stantec, has over 30 years of private and public sector experience in the design and project management of infrastructure projects throughout North America and abroad. He has served on the board of directors for the top-tier American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Canada, as past president of the Consulting Engineers of Alberta, and as chair of the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association Biosolids Committee. With visionary management by Gord, Stantec has been recognized with four Project of the Year awards from the American Public Works Association (APWA). A testament to the firm’s technical expertise is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Expansion.
The concept for the design was to create a glass extension that appears to float above the ground, allowing visitors to see within it the 110-year-old replica of a 15th-century Venetian palace that is the original museum. The solution to achieving the openness and transparency of the space was to tuck the structural features and much of the state-of-the-art building systems into carefully concealed spaces within the walls, ceilings, crawl spaces, and acoustical voids.
225 Franklin St. Suite #1100, Boston, MA 02110
For more than 85 years, Perkins&Will has explored the power of design and how it can inspire joy, uplift lives, and strengthen the spirit of community. This core concept has guided the company’s practice for decades to produce spaces where architecture delivers a transformative experience to its users and the communities that they serve. The firm currently serves a long list of market sectors and operates from 25 studios around the world.
As a reputable company with a multi-awarded practice, the firm is recognized by the AIA, IIDA, and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). With Tom Reisenbichler at the helm, the Dallas studio of Perkins&Will has positively impacted the social fabric and urban landscape of the community. The firm’s work on The Exchange reinforces its core values of sustainability, health, and wellness.
A reinvigorated public space in the heart of the city, The Exchange is a place for meeting, collaborating, celebrating, and sharing that attracts people from their tower offices and the neighborhood. The firm gave the park new life by creating a place where anyone can feel like they are outside, yet are comfortable in any season or weather. This sensation of being outside is reinforced by a material and furniture palette that draws the exterior setting into the space.
332 Congress St. Floor 6, Boston, MA 02210
About Merge Architects
Merge Architects is a young architectural firm that innovates through creation. Elizabeth Whittaker, who won the Core Studio Prize, the Faculty Design Award, and the John E. Thayer Award for her overall academic success, launched the firm in 2003. The firm capitalizes on ordinary opportunities for innovation, offering unique production techniques that mix digital creation with handmade.
Merge Architects collaborates closely with its clients and diverse teams of fabricators, artists, artisans, and engineers. It works with these experts to create architecture that focuses on the bigger picture, redefining the city’s urban and social limits. The firm’s work includes multi-family residential, commercial, institutional, retail, furniture design, and graphics.
Merge worked with Ten Percent Happier, a web-based company focused on teaching self-improvement through guided mindful meditation, to create their new Headquarters in downtown Boston. The existing footprint is divided into two main spaces by a thin hallway, which naturally buffers the front-of-house that supports communal and meditation programs from the private back-of-house, which consists of open office, meeting rooms, podcast recording rooms, and breakaway lounges. The sculptural, spur-shaped meditation room was designed to expand and contract in response to shifting meditation group size, type of meditation, and time of day. An acoustic fabric wall system conveniently opens, closes, and shapes the space as required.