Nearly every company in the world relies on commercial architecture to provide an efficient, profit-maximizing place to do business. The design of these spaces has a very real effect on how successful a company can be at serving consumers and maintaining well-organized operations. As such, commercial architecture is arguably the most economically-important class of design.
In this introduction, we provide a brief overview of some of the challenges, processes, and top solutions in the world of commercial architecture. Read on to learn more about what work goes into creating well-designed commercial spaces, and what tools and strategies are used to achieve the best results.
Commercial Architecture Definition
To start off this introduction, we’ll give a simple commercial architecture definition:
Commercial architecture is a category of design that is focused solely on buildings and spaces that are used for commercial purposes. Consequently, there is a lot of diversity in the types of places that qualify. These include corporate offices, retail outlets, and other facilities where business is conducted.
There are a few ways that commercial architecture differs from other classes of architecture, such as residential. The largest differentiator is the fact that the design must focus on the needs of the occupying business. It must efficiently accommodate operations, as well as consider the behavior and perception of consumers.
Commercial architecture should meet the following standards of success:
- Accommodate all business operations in the most efficient way possible. This includes product display, storage, deliveries and shipments, customer service, administration, and staff activity.
- Provide an environment that enables employees to maintain high productivity and meet performance goals.
- Appeal to consumer behavior and psychology to maximize positive and profitable interactions.
- Use value-engineering practices to achieve the best balance of cost efficiency and facility quality.
- Seize opportunities for operational cost reduction with solutions that minimize energy and maintenance needs.
- Accurately reflect the company’s brand and values in both interior and exterior design.
Software, Tools, and Technology Used in Commercial Architecture
The process of designing and building commercial architecture has become highly advanced, thanks to the invention of numerous technologies. From versatile software programs to construction robotics, these incredible tools streamline the course of bringing commercial architecture to life. Here at PionArch, we make use of some of the industry’s most cutting-edge software and tools to effectively plan beautiful, efficient spaces.
Advanced Design Programs
Among the most commonly used commercial architecture software and tools are BIM and CAD programs. BIM (building information modeling) software allows architects to create a 3D model of a building, giving a realistic look at the structure’s planned dimensions, features, and utility systems. These highly-detailed models can even be used after construction to monitor a building’s usage and performance.
CAD (computer-aided design) software is mainly used for drafting architectural drawings and plans, including the blueprints that will be used for reference during construction. PionArch’s CAD program of choice is Revit. We also use other innovative programs, such as Fohlio and Buildertrend, to present design concepts and manage our projects.
21st-Century Building Tools
When it comes to hands-on work, commercial architecture building technology is progressing quickly. Site-assessing drones and artificial intelligence programs are all now being used to complete projects faster and within lower budgets. They are leveraged to perform more thorough site assessments and feasibility studies, ensuring that projects start off with the most accurate information possible.
Additionally, tech is now leveraged to create “smart” commercial facilities that are more humane and in sync with their occupants and surroundings. Architects and interior designers are starting to incorporate systems that use sensors and automation to monitor business activities and enhance the efficiency of operations and services.
Commercial Interior vs Exterior Architecture
How does one compare commercial interior vs exterior architecture? They both need to address the needs of the occupying business, but they do it in different ways. Sometimes, they both have to perform the same functions, such as steering consumers toward desired behaviors or perceptions of the brand. The two zones must ultimately work together to form a cohesive design of optimal performance.
Commercial interiors are typically where the primary business operations take place. These spaces need to give employees all the tools needed to do their work effectively, such as adequate storage areas, well-organized administration offices, and the right furnishings or installations for serving customers.
Designing for Consumers
Commercial architecture interiors should work to provide consumers with a pleasant experience that creates positive associations with the brand. Ideal aesthetics are consistent with the brand’s image and values, and when possible, influence consumers in ways that benefit the business (i.e. increasing spending, encouraging group visits, etc.). Design choices like floorplans, lighting, and even color schemes can have a large impact, in this respect.
Overall, facility purpose and type needs to be the focus of every commercial interior. If a space is designed too generally and without care to accommodate functions specific to the business, then it will underperform. A cafe, for example, will have its own unique interior needs, as would a financial office or a retail store.
Welcoming New Ideas
The best-designed commercial interiors embrace innovation. They push the boundaries of conventional design and transform the ways that businesses operate, both internally and when interacting with consumers. Companies with creative interior designs can build reputations as forward-thinking brands that define industry trends and actively pursue better methods of working.
Commercial Exteriors: The Face of a Business
The exterior of a commercial building is the image a brand presents to the rest of the world. For consumers who have yet to come inside, it serves as the sole representative of the business. This gives the exterior considerable influence over whether or not passersby will be enticed to become customers.
As such, commercial exteriors must be designed with marketing in mind. An appealing, brand-consistent look that invites curiosity is the goal. The design should clearly signal that the residing business can meet the specific consumer need(s) that the brand specializes in. Doing so will maximize success in attracting consumers and increasing brand awareness.
Exteriors Impact Bottom Lines
Marketable aesthetics are not the only priority in commercial exterior design. Practicality and cost-effectiveness are also at the top of the list. Exteriors should be designed for durability, reducing the need for maintenance or renovations. Both of these add significantly to operational costs, making them big financial concerns.
At a minimum, exterior renovations can reduce the number of attracted customers and impact customer experiences. At worst, exterior renovations can require businesses to close for an extended period. Architects that design exteriors to be resilient provide major cost benefits for their clients in the long term. This makes it wise to invest in higher quality materials and construction practices.
Enhancing Commercial Architecture with Sustainable Design
Sustainable design in commercial architecture has become a growing concern among the world’s businesses. There are a number of reasons for this.
Consumers Value Environmental Responsibility
The consumers of today care more deeply about the environment than past generations. This is partly due to increased awareness about the impact of pollution and harvesting finite resources.
As a result, a large portion of today’s consumers hold brands to a higher standard of responsibility. They respond negatively to brands that don’t adopt more eco-friendly practices, and respond positively to brands that do. Companies that take action to reduce their carbon footprint and preserve the environment are finding that it is an effective strategy for winning consumer loyalty and improving their brand reputations.
The Government is Tightening Regulations
Governments at the state and federal levels are increasingly rolling out new sustainability regulations that commercial facilities must follow. They are requiring that commercial buildings use greener materials and cut down their use of electricity, water, and other resources. And because some of the new regulations have set deadlines for compliance, business places are quickly trying to catch up.
Sustainability Lowers Overhead Costs
Adding sustainability features to a facility can reduce the amount of money required to keep it running. Installations that lower energy and water consumption thereby lower utility bills, which can be staggering for large facilities.
From solar panels to smart lighting and water recycling systems, a wide variety of eco-friendly solutions are being used by businesses to minimize their spending. Even recycling has become a welcome part of the commercial building process, as it can help companies save money on construction materials.
Leading Commercial Architects in Massachusetts
For over 15 years, the team behind PionArch has been uplifting Massachusetts with fresh, innovative commercial architecture. Our designs have helped businesses in Boston and other areas upgrade their performance and increase their standing in their respective industries.
We invite you to take a look at some of our past work in the commercial sphere. View our commercial portfolio to see a variety of successful projects spearheaded by PionArch, including offices, restaurants, and charity headquarters.
If you would like to learn more about the design services that we offer and corresponding prices, please review our design fees and commercial costs. Because we believe in providing needs-based services, our packages offer the flexibility required to fit within your project budget.
Our team is available to discuss the unique needs of your commercial project. We are happy to offer our expert advice and help you determine the best approach to building or renovating your facility. Reach out to us today to start the conversation about how PionArch can make your building a major asset to your business.