Houston has plenty to offer residents, guests, and businesses. The exciting city has over two million residents that support the area’s robust economy. Many are attracted to visit, then stay in the city thanks to its award-winning culinary scene and world-class arts. The city is home to James Beard award-winners and it attracts foodies from all corners of the world. Art lovers can watch opera, ballet, and symphony in the city’s gorgeous theaters. For all of these reasons, the city is listed as one of the best destinations in America.
The more people come to the city, the better it is for business. Entrepreneurs starting a company in the city can rely on these 15 outstanding architects for help. Specializing in commercial architecture, they are all award-winning and their work has been published in the press. Each is a member of the American Institute of Architects; each boasts a rich portfolio. Their expertise includes retail, restaurants, hospitality, and mixed-use projects.
Michael Hsu Office of Architecture
1906 Ashland Street, Houston, TX 77008
Michael Hsu Office of Architecture believes that design is for everyone. The firm designs spaces that connect people with nature and manifest a sense of wellbeing. Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has a strong sense of materiality and believes in the active collaboration of client, designer and artisan. The spaces designed by the studio engage local, regional and global communities.
Michael Hsu Office of Architecture was founded in 2005 to unite people through design. The firm is a nationally award-winning, fully integrated architecture and interior design practice. Its work is rooted in hospitality and includes a range of project types such as large mixed-use developments, adaptive reuse projects, public realm design, architectural branding, single family homes, hotels, restaurants, workspaces, and bespoke furniture design. Projects can be found throughout Texas and across the country. Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has offices in Austin and Houston and staff representing the firm in Dallas and Denver.
For MKT, the firm adaptive reused a series of industrial warehouses into a dynamic mixed-use environment on the Heights hike and bike trail. The space is now a lively destination with curated retail, dining options and boutique office space. The project is the recipient of an American Institute of Architects (AIA) Austin Design Award, a Houston Business Journal Landmark Award, a Urban Land Institute (ULI) Houston Development of Distinction Award, an AIA Houston Award, and a Texas Society of Architects Design Award.
The firm has been featured in a wide range of local and national publications including Metropolis, dezeen, Architectural Record, Wallpaper, Texas Architect and Paper City.
Lake | Flato
1224 East 12th Street, Suite 430, Austin, TX 78702
Lake | Flato aims high when creating designs. Intending to enhance places, the firm welcomes feedback from the people involved in the project. It employs the right balance of restraint to craft restaurants, retail centers, and office spaces. The firm is an expert in the hospitality, educational, and institutional sectors as well.
One of the firm’s well-crafted projects is the Museum of Fine Arts—the Houston Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation Center for Conservation. The contemporary facility houses several light-filled studios on top of the museum. The second floor is cantilevered, exposing four-bay studios to the street, revealing the activities inside and connecting people to the arts. The firm also consciously oriented these studios to the east and west to protect the artworks from direct sunlight. Clerestory windows and shaped roofs provide design and function; these allow indirect light to come inside while enhancing the sleek look of the space. This stellar facility gained plenty of recognition including the 2020 Texas Society of Architects’ Design Award. It has been featured in multiple publications including Forbes and ARCHITECT.
Lake | Flato’s genius designs are highly influenced by partners Ted Flato and David Lake. Flato is a Stanford University graduate with a reputation for creating healthy built environments. Lake is an urban development advocate who started his career in Ford Powell & Carson. Both Lake and Flato are Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.
6909 Portwest Drive, Houston, TX 77024
In business for half a century, Kirksey Architecture considers its team members its best assets. The firm is composed of visionary architects with specializations in different aspects of architecture. These specializations include brand integration, interior architecture, sustainability, and building performance. The firm has built many commercial, hospitality, community, and government facilities locally and globally. It fosters a firm within the firm approach. Kirksey teams have specific functions, further increasing their expertise in the field. Each is led by a director, all under the supervision of chairman and founder John Kirksey, FAIA. Kirksey is a University of Texas alumnus who designs healthy, high-performing facilities. His vision is to produce facilities that positively impact the environment and communities.
A sample of the high-performing buildings designed by the firm is Motiva Conference Center. The firm provided branding and graphics and interior design services for the Houston project. It created a contemporary facility with state-of-the-art conference centers. The 26,000-square-foot project features a warm and bright reception area, a stunning staircase with 30 feet water feature, and a furnished patio. The fabulous design won the AIA Houston Design Award, Interior Architecture category in 2019.
Kirksey Architecture’s eye-catching designs have graced the pages of Dallas Business Journal, Engineering News-Record (ENR) Texas & Louisiana, and Architectural Digest.
Studio RED Architects
1320 McGowen Street, Houston, TX 77004
Studio RED creates multifaceted designs. Its inspired designs are functional, resourceful, and pleasing to the eyes. These characteristics are seen in every service the company offers including architecture, interior design, planning, and renovation. The firm puts a premium on sustainable practices as well. Based in Houston, this 17-year-old firm has helped many clients in different sectors including commercial, hospitality, and healthcare. It has also built many educational, civic, and cultural centers in both Houston and Denver.
One of the firm’s multifaceted designs is the Houston Farmers Market. A 2021 AIA Houston Design Award Winner, this project features a simple, no-nonsense design that serves its purpose. The firm has designed open spaces for retailers, taking advantage of the fantastic Texas weather. These open areas ease the flow of foot traffic. The open parking spaces for both bikes and cars encourage plenty of customers to visit. At the front, a huge neon sign is prominently displayed, immediately catching the attention of customers, especially at night.
Leading the firm are founding partners Pete Ed Garrett, Trung Doan, and partner Brady Vinje. Garrett, FAIA, graduated from the University of Houston with more than 30 years of industry experience. He has won several awards for his projects in the private and public sectors. Doan, AIA, is a master’s degree holder from the University of Oklahoma. His excellence in the academe translates into every complex project. Vinje, AIA, has more than 24 years of industry experience. Taking over the firm’s business administration department, Vinjie’s contribution to the firm is invaluable.
1100 Louisiana Street, Suite One, Houston, TX 77002
Established in 1898, Page is a 123-year-old firm and it is considered an institution in the industry. Based in Houston, the firm has reached clients in different parts of the US and the world. Its time-tested services include interior design, architecture, urban design, strategies, and analytics. The firm is currently composed of 600 plus strong members skilled in accomplishing even the most complex projects. For more than a century, the firm has been putting together a massive portfolio that displays its expertise in commercial, civic, and aviation projects.
A signatory in the AIA 2030 Commitment to produce carbon-neutral facilities, Page champions adaptive reuse. A sample of its adaptive reuse projects is 811 Lousiana. Based in Houston, the project is an aging building renovated to compete with trendier facilities nearby. The firm relocated the old building’s main entrance to another side to update the building’s address to 811 Louisiana. This number is significant; it’s a hotline number for a service protecting underground utilities. This gives the building a new identity connected to its oil and gas industry roots.
Heading the firm’s thoughtful designs is John N. Cryer III, FAIA. The firm’s senior principal, Cryer is a Louisiana State University alumnus with more than 49 years of industry experience. He is an expert in complex technical projects. He is also a member of the National Academy of Construction and a past president of the Board for Preservation Houston.
Powers Brown Architecture
2100 Travis Street, Suite 501, Houston, TX 77002
Powers Brown Architecture is a Houston-based firm with a powerful team. Serving clients locally and internationally, the firm has a team of skilled personnel headed by Jeffrey Brown, founding principal. Brown, FAIA, has affiliations with professional organizations like the Ontario Association of Architects and the Nova Scotia Association of Architects. Practicing for more than 25 years, he has exhibited technical expertise and creativity as a designer. His industry accomplishments earned different recognitions including the Irving Gill Distinguished Architect Award.
With a solid team, the firm has accomplished multiple projects for the commercial, educational, and civic sectors. One of these is the award-winning multi-residential project, Arabella. Winner of the 2019 Houston Business Journal Landmark Award, this project features a 34-story residential building in the heart of River Oaks, Houston. The brief was to create an iconic structure; the firm delivered. This towering building amazes in height and form. The idea was to create a vertical subdivision with a luxurious reception area, an indoor pool, and a fabulous clubhouse. This sophisticated residential high-rise delivers impact in its exterior façade. Its cantilevered floors create depth for the whole structure.
The firm’s stunning work has been featured by various publications including the Houston Business Journal, REBusinessOnline, and Dallas Morning News.
3200 Southwest Freeway, Suite 900, Houston, TX 77027
HOK is a big design firm operating on three continents. Aside from the US, the firm has offices in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. This global design firm delivers exceptional services through its 1,600-strong staff who are experts in architecture, engineering, and planning. Its team members use their technical expertise to deliver creative solutions that enhance communities and respond to the needs of the environment. Established in 1955, the firm has built many offices, educational and health centers, and recreational and mixed-use facilities around the world.
A sample of the firm’s exceptional projects is BP Center for High-Performance Computing. Located in Houston, the facility features a contemporary design that looks into the future. Inspired by supercomputers housed inside the facility, the exterior façade is made with curtain walls and concrete panels that mimic pixelated images. To protect the supercomputers, the firm’s layout placed them on the side with the precast concrete shell. Offices were placed on the north side, next to the glazed panels. This strategic planning optimizes the power usage effectiveness (PUE) of the whole facility. For its outstanding work on this project, the firm won several awards including the AIA Texas Design Award.
HOK’s Texas office is managed by Jay Tatum AIA, LEED AP BD+C. He is a proud alumnus of Texas Tech University with over three decades of experience in the field.
BRAVE / Architecture
4200 Montrose Boulevard, Suite 400, Houston, TX 77006
Established in 2002, BRAVE/architecture is a multidisciplinary firm that combines methodical construction and technology to create superior designs. Its expertise encompasses commercial, cultural, civic, and educational projects. It is led by FAIA Fernando L. Brave, a LEED AP who focuses on Green Architecture. He has more than 20 years of industry experience and degrees from the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the University of Houston. Over the years, he has honed his expertise by handling various projects in and out of the US. Under his leadership, the firm has provided outstanding master planning, interior design, and space planning services. The firm has won multiple awards as a result.
One of the firm’s award-winning projects is ReCenter. It won the Architecture Design Award from the AIA Houston Chapter in 2020. This 50,000-square-foot project is a mixed-use facility helping homeless men recover from addiction. The center was designed to inspire these men to live productive lives. The company produced a cohabitation space with the best living environment. It has 62 residential units with kitchens and bathrooms, a common living and dining area, a spacious kitchen, and outdoor amenities. The vegetated roof inspires residents to grow their own food. This contemporary facility has a straightforward design with a lot of heart.
Jackson & Ryan Architects
2370 Rice Boulevard, Suite 210, Houston, TX 77005
Jackson and Ryan is a firm built on partnership. It is headed by principals Guy Jackson and Jeffrey Ryan, both AIA members and graduates of Rice University. Both are outstanding in the field. Jackson has more than 35 years of experience and has been inducted into the Rice University Athletic Hall of Fame. Ryan is a CRS Foundation Scholar at Harvard University. These partners combine their expertise to deliver the best commercial architecture services in Houston and the surrounding area.
Through Jackson and Ryan’s partnership, the firm has accomplished many award-winning designs including the 1885 St. James Place. This Houston-based project involves the construction of a 14-story office building with an astonishing decorative exterior masonry. The building has a contemporary interior, two penthouse floors for exclusive tenants, and a six-level parking area. Nine of the floors are dedicated to office spaces, rendering it a multi-use facility. The project was accomplished through sustainable practices, earning it a Silver LEED certification. This outstanding project earned the 2018 Golden Trowel Excellence Award.
Other projects of the firm have graced multiple publications including Archinect, PR News Wire, and, more recently, PaperCity Magazine.
Munoz + Albin
224 W 25th Street, Houston, TX 77008
Jorge Muñoz and Enrique Albin lead Munoz + Albin in producing original designs with a multicultural perspective. Both AIA members, Muñoz and Albin have a wealth of experience from accomplished international commercial and residential projects. Their multicultural perspective helps tremendously in resolving the challenges that come with each project. Their expert services are offered to clients in the US, Europe, South America, and the Middle East.
Established in 2000, the firm has consistently delivered award-winning projects on schedule and within budget. A sample is the Lyric Center Market Garage located in Houston. This mixed-use project totaling 31,000 square feet features restaurants, bars, and a multi-level garage. The seven-level parking garage can contain up to 800 vehicles. The garage’s exterior façade features LED-lit panels that put the building at the center of attention. This stunning design won the Architecture Less Than 50,000 SF award from the AIA Houston Design Awards in 2021.
The firm’s one-of-a-kind designs have also graced multiple publications including Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, and Texas Architects Magazine.
700 Louisiana Street, Suite 350, Houston, TX 77002
Founded in 1977, Ziegler Cooper is one of Houston’s top architecture firms. The firm recently won the Pinnacle Award for Large Firm of the Year from the IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter. Its continuous success comes from its vision of creating positive spaces that uplifts people’s lives and the human spirit. For over 44 years, the firm has continuously exhibited excellence in every commercial architecture and interior design service it provides.
An expert in urban design, the firm has built many high-rise structures in urban centers. One of these is Drewery Place located in Houston. This 27-story contemporary structure is a multi-use development that houses apartments, restaurants, retail, and parking spaces. Residents enjoy the tower’s stunning outdoor pool, sky lounge, and fitness center. Each unit has floor-to-ceiling glass panels offering gorgeous city views. The massive project totals 354,000 square feet.
Ziegler Cooper’s exceptional designs have been featured in different publications including Realty News Report, Archinect, and Houston Business Journal. Behind the firm’s success is Scott Ziegler, AIA, the firm’s senior principal. Ziegler is a Rice University master’s degree holder, and he has over 45 years of experience in the field, with special expertise in urbanism.
2118 Lamar Street, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77003
Method Architecture takes an ego-free approach in the services it provides. Ego-free means listening to and understanding the clients’ needs. Licensed in 27 states, the firm operates as a small firm to make sure that attention to detail is given in each project it handles. This kind of service and dedication is evident in every hospitality, corporate, industrial, and mixed-use project it accomplishes.
One of the firm’s recent projects is the Buffalo Bayou Brewing Company in Houston, TX. Completed in 2020, the project is a winner of the Retail/ Restaurant category in the RedNews Awards as well as a Finalist for the Houston Business Journal Landmark Awards. It’s a brewery and restaurant in one. The 28,000-square-foot craft beer wonderland features an eye-catching archway shaped like a buffalo head. The main level houses a taproom purposefully designed to allow beer enthusiasts a full view of the brewery. On the second floor, a restaurant and bar are found, together with an outdoor patio. The dining area also features interior windows that provide guests with a “tank-to-table” experience. On the third floor, a rooftop patio showcases a skylight that offers a bird’s eye view of the entire brewery operations.
Method Architecture’s well-thought-out designs are a product of great team and leadership. Method Architecture is a minority-owned firm with 75 employees across four offices in Texas. In 2022, Method acquired Austin-based GSC Architects. Together, the firm combines a legacy of exceptional design with an ego-free approach to project delivery.
3815 Montrose Blvd. Suite 210, Houston, TX 77006
At the forefront of GSMA’s designs is its goal to serve communities. This goal pushes the entire team to collaborate and pour their expertise and creativity into producing outstanding commercial, residential, and civic structures. This consequently leads to projects lauded by various industry institutions.
A sample of the firm’s multi-awarded projects built to serve the community is New Hope Housing: Harrisburg. The project earned five awards, one of which is the 2018 Design Award from AIA Houston. It’s a 92,000-square-foot mixed-use development project built to connect with the neighborhood. Located next to a rail line and in an intersection, retail spaces were positioned at street level. The four-story affordable housing project houses offices, and 175 single-occupancy units. For sustainable practices employed during the project, the building earned a LEED Platinum certification.
Leading the firm’s community-sensitive designs is Ann Rosenwinkel, AIA, LEED AP BD&C. Rosenwinkel holds a degree in architecture from Rice University. Alongside Ann is Stephanie Pedigo, AIA, LEED AP, an expert in affordable multifamily housing and known as a champion of the homeless. She is a Master of Architecture graduate from Texas A&M University.
Abel Design Group
777 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 350, Houston, TX 77056
Abel Design Group operates through collaboration. Founded in 2001, the firm operates with the help of seasoned staff who are each experts in different aspects of architecture. Their expertise includes building design and repositioning, master planning, and interior design. Each member is dedicated to meeting its clients’ goals and turning their visions into reality. Its team is a force that helps expand the company and accomplish projects in 13 states and 16 countries.
Designing for a gamut of industries, Abel Design Group has designed many offices, retail centers, and restaurants. One of its corporate projects is The Cannon Houston. Providing architecture and building repositioning services for the project, the firm converted a 1950s manufacturing building into an industrial coworking facility with spaces for complementary tenants. The cherry on top is its excellent recreational amenities including a game room, a theater, and an outdoor gathering space. This award-winning project earned two awards including the 2020 Design Excellence Award: Corporate Large category from IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter.
Leading the firm’s collaborative team is Jeffrey Abel, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP. Abel is the firm’s managing principal with a degree from the University of Texas and 20 years of industry experience. Under his supervision, the firm has been featured in multiple publications including the Houston Chronicle, PR News Wire, and Metal Construction News.
11 Greenway Plaza, 22nd Floor, Houston, TX 77046
PBK’s numbers say it all: in over 4 decades, it has won more than 450 design awards and completed 18,000 projects all over the US. With 19 offices in America, it has over 550 client-focused professionals ready to serve clients in the commercial, healthcare, and education sectors.
One of the firm’s award-winning educational projects is the Alief Center for Advanced Careers. A center for learning, the contemporary facility has been designed to inspire anyone who enters. The innovative design features graphic designs, a cool industrial scheme, and curtain walls that make the space brighter and modern. The main highlight is the Interactive Observation Lab with a surgical amphitheater for students’ practical education. The facility also features functional moveable glass partitions allowing easy mobility for large equipment. The 215,000-square-foot structure earned the TASA/TASB Award for Architectural Excellence: Design, Community, Planning, School Transformation.
The company’s continued success is partly due to Dan Boggio’s excellent leadership. Boggio, AIA, LEED AP, is the firm’s founder and chairman with a degree from Lawrence Technological University. He uses his over 40 years of experience in the field to keep PBK one of the leading firms in the United States.