Norfolk is the third most populated city in Virginia and is one of the oldest cities in its metropolitan area. Norfolk is often described as a mix of historic, urban, and cultural hubs and is best known for housing unique structures and sites such as the Chrysler Museum of Art and the Naval Station Norfolk.
This list showcases ten of Norfolk’s best and most prominent commercial architects. Our editorial team curated this list based on the firms’ extensive experience and backgrounds, in addition to their stellar portfolios. Several of these firms also offer unique services, and each demonstrates an affinity for complex architectural vernaculars.
676 Independence Parkway Suite 100, Chesapeake, VA 23320
Woolpert takes great pride in its national rankings and was recently named by the Engineering News-Record as one of its Top 500 Design Firms in 2021. This firm provides a comprehensive range of architecture and engineering services and is highly regarded for its specialized expertise in commercial spaces. Woolpert has been in business since 1911 and operates out of over 40 office locations spread across the country. The team consists of more than 1,300 talented employees and was ranked 21st in Zweig‘s Hot 100 Firms.
Shown here is the company’s work for the Keystone Shopping Mall. Composed of two levels across two buildings, the structure relies heavily on a glassed archway that serves as a crossing. The bridge also provides access to several office spaces to the north. Our editorial team was impressed by the parking lot reconfiguration and landscape coordination.
120 Atlantic St. Suite 100, Norfolk, VA 23510
Headquartered in Norfolk, Hanbury has been in business since 1979. It specializes in planning, architecture, and interior design and extends its services across the United States and abroad. The firm is widely respected and has been recognized multiple times for its services and commitment to the highest standards. Composed of a talented and experienced team of professionals, Hanbury maintains a highly inclusive environment and hands-on approach.
The project showcased here is the firm’s work for 223 S. Wilmington Street. The space spans over 3,000 square feet and sits in a historic, 100-year-old building. For this project, the firm’s team was tasked with modernizing the space while maintaining its historic appeal. Some features we loved were the preservation of the wood floors and beams, new skylights, and brightly colored furniture.
4525 Main Street Suite 1400, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Composed of a highly skilled group of architects, engineers, and planners, Clark Nexsen provides a broad range of services and is regarded for its highly collaborative approach. It consistently delivers its projects on time and within budget and is often noted for its competitive pricing. The firm was first founded in 1920 by Pendleton Clark, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the highest distinction the organization bestows upon its members. Clark Nexsen has since become a fully integrated architecture and engineering firm with nearly 400 employees and ten offices. The firm is also noted for its sustainability efforts and multiple distinctions from the AIA.
The project shown here is one of the firm’s own offices in Asheville. It spans 5,000 square feet and was completed in 2016. The space reflects the firm’s commitment to modernity. It features a clean white and gray palette and an efficient open floor plan.
Work Program Architects
400 Granby St. Suite 301, Norfolk, VA 23510
Founded in 2010, Work Program Architects provides a comprehensive range of services. The company is an open studio, maintaining a highly hands-on approach that encourages collaboration between its staff and clients. Work Program Architects specializes in educational and municipal work, civic landmarks, and commercial work. The firm makes use of a multidisciplinary approach that has resulted in stellar projects and spaces. Uniquely, the company has its own in-house licensed educator to help its team members improve their process.
The firm is led by principals Mel Price and Thom White. Price holds an architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame and served as former Chair of the AIA’s National Small Firm Exchange. White graduated with honors from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Both make sure that each of the firm’s projects receives the benefit of their experience.
1317 Executive Boulevard Suite 200, Chesapeake, VA 23320
RRMM Architects is headquartered in Chesapeake, VA with additional offices in Arlington, Richmond, Roanoke and Rockville, MD. They are experts in a variety of procurement methods including CM@Risk, Design-Build and Design-Bid-Build as well as PPEA. The company’s portfolio includes spaces completed for a variety of market sectors, including K-12 education, higher education, federal, municipal, retail, healthcare, library, and community projects. The firm emphasizes the importance of working closely with its clients throughout the process to ensure that their needs and visions are incorporated into their new spaces.
The photo here shows the firm’s most recent project in Norfolk, Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Waitzer Hall. This new building opened in 2021 and serves as an iconic gateway to the EVMS Campus.
Andre Marquez Architects
6371 Center Dr., Norfolk, VA 23502
Established in 1993 in Virginia Beach, Andre Marquez Architects was founded by Joel André and Georgie Márquez. They moved to the company’s current location in Norfolk in 2002 and since then have expanded the firm’s expertise to entail every phase and aspect of the commercial design process. Joel André holds an architecture degree from the Pratt Institute in New York and is licensed to practice in New York, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. Georgie Márquez is active in several local and national organizations and also holds an architecture degree from the Pratt Institute. Our editorial team was impressed by the firm’s building design, predesign, interior design, and master planning work.
The project here depicts the firm’s work for Roger Brown’s located in Old Town Portsmouth. It entailed the conversion of an old Woolworth store into this 16,000-square-foot sports bar. The project includes a banquet room, lobby, billiard room, and exterior dining patio.
Riddick Fiedler Stern PC
261 W. Bute St., Norfolk, VA 23510
Riddick Fiedler Stern, also known as RFS Architects, is a full-service design firm that takes great pride in its comprehensive strategies and creative vision. The firm is well regarded for its thorough attention to detail, in addition to its expertise in a wide variety of architectural building types. The firm was founded by Don Riddick in 1982. His specialized expertise in commercial and residential additions has strongly influenced the firm’s work. The company currently consists of 15 to 20 highly qualified design professionals. Riddick has retired but maintains regular contact with the leadership team of RFS.
The project shown here was completed in Suffolk. For this project, the firm’s team provided architectural design services under a design-build contract. The space is a multiphase shopping center development that spans 13,000 square feet. Some notable features include rear façades, a metal roofing system, and veneer brick.
501 E Main St. 16th Floor, Norfolk VA, 23510
Founded in 2014, GARC extends its architectural services throughout Norfolk and commits itself to the highest standards. Since its establishment, it has built a solid clientele. The firm’s work showcases its talent across a wide range of designs. Its methods are well-tested and research-oriented, resulting in spaces that exceed expectations. The firm’s user-centered design approach can be seen at all process phases: vision design, schematic design, permit drawings, construction drawing, bid and award, and construction administration. GARC has completed projects all across the United States, as well as in Southeast Asia and China.
The project shown here was completed in Virginia Beach in 2019 for Ruff House Play & Stay, a sister location of The Bayside Kennels. For this project, the firm employed a colorful palette and a contemporary feel.
The Design Collaborative
424 W 21st St., Norfolk, Virginia 23517
The Design Collaborative has operated in Norfolk since 1976. It offers complete architectural and design services to both local and regional clients. The firm’s portfolio displays a wide range of project types for a variety of markets. It is led by its principals Richard J. Fitts and Edward Lazaron, who make sure that each of the company’s projects benefits from their experience and expertise. Under their leadership, the firm has established solid partnerships with some of the area’s best and most prominent designers, engineers, and consultants. The firm’s portfolio depicts several retail centers, offices, mixed-use buildings, and automotive dealerships. It also showcases the firm’s talent for residential work, from subsidized housing and townhouses to apartments and ground-up construction work.
Shown here is the firm’s work on the Prism Plaza Office Building, located in Virginia Beach. The firm designed the building’s impressive façade, using glass and modern finishes.
Tymoff + Moss Architects
512 Botetourt St, Norfolk, VA 23510
Tymoff + Moss Architects has been in business since 1995 and operates out of the historic Freemason District of Norfolk. The firm is capable of handling projects of any size or complexity and emphasizes the importance of close collaboration with its clients throughout the process. John Tymoff and Barry Moss founded the firm with the intention of keeping it as an open studio that fosters collaborative design. Thanks to their guidance, the firm is noted for its creative solutions to otherwise difficult spaces. Showcased here is one of the firm’s notable projects.
Named The Savoy, this structure is a hotel with over a century of history, located in the heart of Norfolk. Our editorial team was impressed by the firm’s success in modernizing the structure while preserving its traditional and historic appeal.