Home to over a dozen shopping district areas, where retail shops can vary from vintage shops to high-end designer boutiques to grocery stores, and even sometimes includes automobile stores, Houston is known to be the style capital of the south.
On this list are just some of the architects who have contributed to the districts’ number of retail structures. These firms include architects who are associated with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certified professionals. The skills and professionalism of these firms have led to features in several industry publications and numerous industry awards.
BRAVE / Architecture
4200 Montrose Blvd., Suite #400 Houston, TX 77006
High-quality custom design, innovative technology, and methodical construction detailing are provided by this collaborative firm. Ever since its establishment in 2002, BRAVE / Architecture has honed its collaborative work style to the point of being recognized by various publications such as Design Cost Data Magazine, Cite Magazine, Texas Architect, and The Wall Street Journal among many others. The firm has also won local, national, and international awards from industry organizations like the Texas Society of Architects (TSA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). In 2018, the AIA recognized BRAVE/Architecture as Firm of the Year for its unique practice model and outstanding body of work.
These features and awards are due to the firm’s work on projects like the Austin branch for Design Within Reach. Carrying a completely open floor plan that is organized by subtle flooring pattern changes and varying ceiling heights, the shop’s interior is lit by natural light beaming through surrounding full-height windows that also maximize viability into the store’s extensive furniture, art, and lighting collection.
Boucher Design Group
6802 Mapleridge St., Suite #200, Bellaire, TX 77401
A winner of Houston Business Journal’s 2019 Retail Landmark Award, Boucher Design Group was established in 2013 with a team of architects and designers who possess diverse backgrounds and skill-sets that facilitate creating solutions for clients. Founder Marc Boucher holds over 35 years of experience in the field. Combining this diverse team and an experienced leader, the firm has created projects like the Yale Marketplace.
A 61,000-square-foot neighborhood shopping center is located between The Heights and Garden Oaks on the northeast corner of 610 and Yale in Houston, Texas. A pedestrian and eco-friendly site, it includes a food truck area, shaded outdoor seating, bicycle parking, charging stations for electric cars, and previous pavers throughout the site for stormwater detention.
Browne McGregor Architects, Inc.
520 Post Oak Blvd. Suite #880, Houston, TX 77027
From designing commercial projects like medical offices, healthcare facilities, and science and technology, this 26-year old firm’s projects have turned it into one of Houston’s leading architecture firms. Currently, this reputation is safeguarded by partners Cory Porter, Jim McGregor, and Charles Browne—team leaders who guide the crossing of ideas and expertise among the firm’s team designers and architects. Years of exposure in other project niches have led to Browne McGregor Architects, Inc.’s demonstration of skill in crafting corporate office, hospitality, mixed-use, and retail projects.
One of these notable projects is the Houston Wine Merchant—one of the firm’s retail projects in S. Shepherd Drive in Houston. Designed by Cory Porter and Charles Browne, it is a freestanding 2,125 square foot building set on an urban in-fill site. The structure is made of split-faced limestone aggregate and concrete blocks with exposed structural steel and is designed with an open ceiling and rustic walls—features that are reminiscent of a wine cellar or cave and compliments the wines and liquors sold by proprietors Scott Spencer and Mary Cook.
20445 State Hwy. #249. Ste. #200, Houston, TX 77070
CDA has been in the industry since 1974. After years of fostering long term relationships with some of the most recognized and prominent developers and clients in the nation, CDA Architects provides architectural services to a wide range of clients and developers in the commercial, retail, grocery, educational, hospitality, industrial, and medical fields. The firm is best known for designing grocery stores which have been essential to many of the other markets the firm has ventured into.
Thanks to its work, CDA Architects has been featured in Houston Chronicle and Houston Business Journal. This firm is currently handled by president Ray Duerer. A professional who has led projects for various markets, Duerer has worked on projects from 1,500 square foot interior build-outs to 15 acre retail centers with over 1 million square feet of buildings, and a very large number of grocery store projects.
3221 Milam St., Suite #1, Houston, TX 77006
Founded in 2009, CONTENT Architecture possesses a team of professionals who have diverse backgrounds. This experienced team is the foundation of the firm’s ability to approach projects from many angles in an effort to develop the best possible solutions. This design approach has brought the firm recognition from publications like Modern Luxury Houston, Luxe, Dwell, and Texas Architect. Over years of crafting projects that have gained the firm such features, it created Lemon Laine’s Houston branch. A playful, elegant environment, it has a custom arched entry door that differentiates the store from its retail context and introduces an intimate and domestic quality that is central to the brand.
Outstanding projects like these are credited to the highly skilled and experienced principal Jesse Hager. A graduate of the University of Washington, Hager was named the 2017 Ben Brewer award recipient for the Young Architect of the Year by AIA Houston. He also won the 2017 Award for Young Professional Achievement in Honor of William W. Caudill FAIA by the Texas Society of Architects.
909 Fannin St., Suite #200, Houston, TX 77010
Gensler is a global firm that has left a mark on several locations including Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the Americas. So far, it has 48 locations and has served over 3,500 active clients for virtually every industry. As a global brand, it has been featured in various publications including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, the Washington Post, Building Design + Construction, and Interior Design Magazine among many others. The 55-year old firm has built several notable projects but its most notable might be its work on the Totally Carpet Showroom in Houston. Unlike typical showrooms, the gallery-inspired space keeps carpet samples thoughtfully out of sight but within easy reach for showing.
A multi-purpose gallery showroom, it features an epoxy-painted concrete floor that is half-white and half-black and thus serves as a contrasting backdrop during sample showings. This unique space occupies two of the building suites—one is the main street gallery while the other is the interior lobby-facing salon. Thanks to projects like these the firm was included on the 2018 Top 100 Giants in Retail Design.
5151 San Felipe St., Suite #1700, Houston, TX 77056
A Houston-based automotive, commercial, and interiors architecture firm founded by Fred H. Goree, Goree has been in the industry since 1963. Over the years, it has designed thousands of automotive projects and has earned the reputation as a leader in designing automotive facilities. So far, Goree has worked with many brands and has several notable projects across the country. This includes its work on Audi’s Central Houston facilities—the first Audi facility in Texas to reach seven stories high.
The vertical design has become the firm’s model for several other facilities across the country. Along with its success in the automotive division, Goree also provides commercial, interiors, and brand services—branches that have seen growth under the leadership of company president, Steven Craney who continues to guide the firm in providing first-class services to clients while delivering exceptional projects.
1111 North Loop West, Suite #800, Houston, TX 77008
Heights Venture Architects began as a one-man firm in 1979. During this time, it primarily focused on the grocery store market until the next 20 years when it expanded into a more diverse clientele. In 1999, a new partnership formed the current Heights Venture which now has a client base that includes retail, shopping center, education, restaurant, fitness, medical, office, fuel center, and residential clients—many of which are included in the firm’s long list of repeat clients who have been privy to the firm’s commitment to high-quality design and exceptional attention to detail. So far, this distinguishable feature of consistency with the firm has gained it opportunities to work with several big names including Bed, Bath & Beyond, Bang & Olufsen, Fabulife, Hypoxi Studio, Caliber Collision, and Auto-Lab of Texas.
Heights Venture currently has 34 employees with its eight registered architects—Scott Roselius, Robert Holton, Eric Abeln, Michael Kravetz, Jerry Tipps, Lance Lilly, Will Lonsdale, Phillip Meador in its Houston and Dallas offices. Alongside this highly capable team is the firm’s four partners and pillars for admirable work ethics—Scott Roselius, Robert Holton, Blake Sloan, and Eric Abeln. Combined, these experts have more than 110 years of architectural experience in the design and development of various building types. Thanks to their experience, the firm has won honors like the VM + SD Store Design Awards, a LEED Gold Certification, and the Houston Business Journal’s Landmarks Awards.
IBI Group, Inc.
455 East Medical Center Blvd., Suite #500, Webster, TX 77598
A firm that has been featured in Houston Chronicle and Houston Business Journal, IBI Group, Inc. has maintained a reputation for having a committed team that can be depended upon to produce quality work. In 1995, the firm began as Bay Architects, and was in operation under that name from until 2011, when Bay Architects joined the IBI Group of firms as the Texas studio of IBI Group, Inc. Together, they provide a unique blend of expertise in architectural services.
So far, the firm has completed an array of projects that consists of additions and renovations completed for new schools, higher education, civic, worship, commercial, and mid-rise office facilities. Its most notable work was performed for Desigual’s airport retail shop. Located in the Departures area of the Central Concourse/International Terminal of Hobby Airport, this 900-square-foot-store highlights the brand’s flashy, attention-grabbing colors.
111 Travis St., Houston, TX 77002
With professionals who carry a wide range of credentials and a database of experts the firm works with on a daily basis, Identity Architects has been designing projects for clients in the retail, hospitality, healthcare, and office markets for 17 years. Some of these clients include Starbucks, Walgreens, At Home, and Rolex.
As a firm with a no-doors policy, it has a collaborative work ethic that allows for more ingenuity, creativity, and an exchange of knowledge that helps the firm spot gaps between the big picture and the smaller details in a project. Currently, this collaborative firm is handled by co-partners David Kastendieck and Keenon Rayner.
Powers Brown Architecture
2100 Travis St., Suite #501, Houston, TX 77002
An award-winning firm that practices architecture, interior design, programming, and urban design, Powers Brown Architecture has a reputation for specialized design and technical superiority that helps the firm produce award-winning work that has gained recognition from local, national, and international organizations. Some of this recognition includes features in Houston Chronicle, Houston Business Journal, Texas Architect, and Engineering News Record (ENR) where it has consistently ranked among the top 200 Architectural Firms in the U.S.
Over the years, the firm has worked with various regional, national, and international brands which include Lily’s Bath and Biscuits, Embassy Suites, Native Roots, and Star Cinema among many other brands.
STOA International Architects, Inc.
6001 Savoy Drive, Suite #100, Houston, TX 77036
Not many architectural firms practice Feng Shui during their projects. STOA International Architects, Inc., however, is one of those few firms that address the psychological, behavioral, economic aspects of building design through Feng Shui spatial values. Since its establishment in 1983, the firm has combined traditional Feng Shui practices with modern green design methods which the firm calls Green TEA (Total Environmental Alignment). This approach aligns the energy and spiritual experience of Feng Shui with the modern idea of energy-efficiency. This approach is guided by current CEO Chao Chiung Lee, a LEED accredited professional and Feng Shui master who has been teaching interactive workshops at Rice University since 1999, among many other universities around the world.
Over the years of collaboration between this experienced leader and its highly skilled team, the firm has designed projects for several markets including healthcare, higher education, K-12, mixed-use, municipal, public works, residential, senior living, and retail. Among these, its most notable project is the Royal Springs Shopping Center. A 33,680 square foot shopping center in the heart of the Atascocita area, it has a 7,300 square foot anchor restaurant and a 26,380 square foot multi-tenant retail area.
Studio RED Architects
1320 McGowen St., Houston, TX 77004
Studio RED Architects was founded in 2004. Brought into the industry by a group of industry veterans who are passionate about architecture that is resourceful, inspired, and boundless, the firm specializes in creating cultural arts, community, worship, hospitality, residential, civic, healthcare, and education spaces that have also witnessed the firm’s renovation and planning abilities. Over time, Studio RED Archtiects’s work has gained recognition from publications like Houston Chronicle, Houston Business Journal, and ENR Texas & Louisiana among many other publications. The firm’s clients include the likes of Blue Martini, Brennan’s Restaurant, and Moody Gardens among other brands.
It has completed several projects since its inception but its most notable work was provided for Shasa. A shop with a seven-week design and construction schedule, this 3,500 square foot fashion retail store has a contemporary design and finishes and uses sustainable materials and energy-efficient lighting.
2555 Central Parkway, Houston, TX 77092
Flexibility and speed are this firm’s pillars when designing projects for the industrial, medical, and retail sectors. Alongside a work ethic that helps the firm tailor the proper services and staff required for a specific project, this 37-year old firm has built strong partnerships with a multitude of widely respected civil, structural, MEP, and landscape architecture firms that have a similar work ethic.
Combining years of experience and a healthy circle of fellow architects Seeberger Architecture has been featured in magazines like the Houston Chronicle and Houston Business Journal. That recognition has earned it projects like the Broadway Shopping Center, The Houston Furniture Bank, and other retail centers. Its most notable work might be Academy’s National Sporting Goods which has over 60 stores operating in 12 states.
14333 Grisby Rd., Houston, TX 77079
For 82 years, MG Architects has been serving clients in Houston where most of its work goes into the financial sector. The firm has gained a national presence and clients from coast to coast. As specialists in designing beautiful, and functional banking environments, MG Architects has worked with clients such as Alliance Bank, Texas Gulf Bank, Amegy Bank, and Westbound Bank alongside many others. Among these institutions, its most notable work was completed for Security Bank.
The building supports Security Bank’s goals by maximizing building and site usage, indigenous landscaping, responsible water management, and energy-efficient design. Combining modern details with a traditional style, the building has dark stained, heavy oak timber beams that trim two vaulted clerestory areas that introduce natural light into an already serene space. This space has suave leather furnishings and a large bookshelf that flanks the fireplace and shows off more cattle to reinforce the ranch atmosphere. This project is an IBAT Best of Community Banking Award Winner that also won the 2015 Golden Eagle Award.