Last updated on May 21st, 2024 at 02:40 am

Minneapolis is no doubt a prosperous city. As the most populated city in Minnesota, it is rich with people, culture and entertainment. Minneapolis also contributes $273 billion to Minnesota’s GSP as of 2020, according to

The job market increase in Minneapolis is higher than the nation’s average, thanks to the city’s diversified economy. And behind the city’s bustling economy are the busy commercial architects—finding ways for businesses to attract more customers and provide them a better experience. Our editorial team decided to list the best 15 commercial architects in the city to help you find the best architect based on their work history, specializations, and unique ways to elevate businesses.

PKA Architecture

2919 James Ave., South Minneapolis, MN 55408

Principal Lars Peterssen was ready to build his future in supercomputing when he attended a would-be career-changing talk. Inspired by architect/industrial designer Emilio Ambasz, Peterssen realized how analytical architecture could be. In this field, he could do complex problem-solving and create something beautiful. Fast forward, his firm, PKA Architecture, has become an innovative, sustainable, and award-winning firm.

PKA Architecture specializes in high-end modern homes. The firm’s projects have won numerous awards, including the 2020 Blend Award and the 2020 ALA Merit Award. The company is also frequently featured in publications such as Landscape Architecture Magazine and Renovation Style Magazine. The reputation for residential architecture is also why many commercial clients are attracted to this firm. Specializing in boutique commercial projects, the company can bring unique, sustainable, and homey spaces. Take, for example, the Travail restaurant pictured below. This project was featured in MSP Magazine.

RSP Architects

1220 Marshall St. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

With over four decades in business, RSP Architects has only focused on one thing: the results. So whether the client is a Fortune 100 company or a start-up business, the firm can always provide the best outcome. How? The firm likens itself to a cultural anthropologist, understanding in-depth how the design will ultimately reflect the client. This approach has won over numerous clients—including industry leaders—in hospitality, retail, science, technology, even tribal gaming industries. The firm also extends beyond architecture by handling branded environments, experience design, and facility information management.

One of the best outcomes of RSP Architects is the first and only hotel at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. The firm designed this InterContinental hotel to reflect an authentic Minnesota feel. Among the many strategies include an art garden featuring sculptures of local artists and a two-story lobby filled with Minnesota-mined Kasota stone, wood, and leather. This project has garnered a lot of attention, such as winning the 2018 Finance & Commerce Top Project and the 2018 MREJ Awards in the Hospitality Category.

IA Interior Architects

801 South Marquette Avenue Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55402

IA Interior Architects aims to take on the world, one interior architecture project at a time. Always in the perspective of interior architecture, the firm contributes to global design dialogue through transforming spaces. Using a comparative design process, the company puts together concepts and experiences, even at random, to unravel a big idea. To do so, the firm makes sure to involve everyone in its team through extensive inter-office knowledge sharing.

When you look at Yo! Sushi restaurant in Boston, you would be feeling like a tourist while also feeling at home. IA Interior Architects transformed this space by blending in the sushi restaurant must-haves with the elements of American, urban life. The restaurant features an open kitchen with a conveyor belt reaching the tables. At the same time, space also has exposed concrete floors, open ceilings, and thoughtful fixtures and finishes.

Collage Architects, LLC

708 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

What sets Collage Architects apart is its capability to handle programmatic complexities, especially for highly technical companies. The firm can maneuver site constraints, incorporating developer requirements and tenant needs into the commercial space. The firm also has a team of determined and talented individuals, ensuring that architectural plans come out accurate and polished.

A perfect example of challenging work is the historic office renovation of Agosto, a high-tech IT consulting firm in Minneapolis. Collage Architects had the mission of creating a futuristic office that is internet-based, capable of wireless connections, and has that clean “cloud-like” vibe. The result is a highly modern facility filled with open spaces and relationships. The office separations were also carefully placed to engage collaboration.


400 Clifton Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403

Any business—restaurants, offices, airports, and even academic buildings—risks being left behind if it cannot keep up with evolving culture. A lifestyle expert, Alliiance makes sure that will not happen. The firm specializes in suiting brand identity to cultural expectations by adapting technological advancements, changing consumer needs, and new social situations. Take, for example, placing informal gathering spaces in residential environments and integrating a cafe within a bookstore.


So when Alliiance redefined the OTG – MSP Airport Concessions, the firm already had many ideas. A one-stop shop with restaurants, marketplace retail, and concierge services, the area features iPads that travelers can use to place orders, shop, and check flight status.

Alliiance is an award-winning architecture, planning, and interior design practice based in Minneapolis. Its expertise has produced outstanding projects in aviation, academic, community, lifestyle, science and technology, and workplace markets. 

Shelter Architecture

275 Market St. Ste 292, Minneapolis, MN 55405

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Shelter Architecture committed resources and relocated staff to New Orleans to help the massive rebuilding efforts. An empathetic firm, the company also works with groups such as Habitat for Humanity and Architecture for Humanity. More so, the firm is committed to sustainability by pledging to Architecture 2030. So, the company prioritizes empathy-based designs: accessible, liveable, responsible, and pleasing to use. 

Our favorite empathetic design of Shelter Architecture is the Dwan Maintenance Building in Bloomington. To provide staff members a much better work experience, the firm shied away from a typical golf course maintenance building (a utility garage). As seen below, the new maintenance building now features a light-filled and open feel. And to protect the building from stray golf balls and fierce sunlight, the firm thoughtfully placed a screen wall that allows controlled light and still accommodates the view. 

Cushing Terrell

226 N. Washington Ave. Ste. 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Established in 1938, Cushing Terrell is the only design firm on this list that has reached 80-plus years, setting itself up for success now and into the future. There is no stopping them anytime soon as this veteran firm continues to grow, expanding its depth of knowledge in areas important to the needs of the modern world, including sustainable design, energy solutions, and affordable housing. 

Evident in its history, the firm understands how businesses across many sectors evolve. The firm’s commercial design experts provide solutions that maximize commercial operations and building performance, helping clients manage challenging situations, such as a pandemic, and be prepared for what tomorrow may bring.

This established firm has attracted prominent clients from across the country and around the world. For instance, Cushing Terrell worked on a multi-phase tenant improvement of Google’s 10.5-floor building in Austin. The firm assembled its best professionals — architects, interior designers, structural and MEP engineers — to suit the business needs of the technology giant. As a result, the vibrant building now features creative office workspaces, cafes, event spaces, fitness areas, and many other amenities that enhance the user experience.

LSE Architects

100 Portland Ave. S Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55401

A significant portion of LSE Architects’ portfolio is in the hospitality industry—race tracks, stadiums, casinos, and hotels. These extensive facilities are in various cities, including Cass Lake, Larchwood, Missoula, Rock Island, and Bayfield. The firm employs a “Seller/Doer” model where the partners are involved throughout the process with high-profile clients and projects. Add to that is the valuable expertise of the firm’s principals, Mohammed Lawal, Quin Scott, and Ron Erickson—who have a combined 90 years of experience.

The Jumer’s Casino & Hotel at Rock Island is one of the most impressive projects of LSE Architects. This $77 million worth facility features an enticing 48,000 square feet of gaming floor, a 500 seat event center, and a 205-room hotel. It is also a certified teamwork product of Scott (Project Manager and Architect of Record), Lawal (Lead Designer), and Erickson (Principal in Charge). And to the client’s delight, LSE Architects managed to complete the project ahead of schedule and save around $10 million.

Studio M Architects

530 N. 3rd Street Suite 230, Minneapolis, MN 55401

Adam Meyer was just a little over 30 when he started Studio M Architects. Since then, he has been awed by the heights that this firm has reached. The company, specializing in chain store development, has been entrusted with 114 stores of The Tile Shope, 30 Best Buy locations, and 11 Uberrito eateries to name a few. 

Studio M Architects is fond of creating stand-out retail spaces, bars, and themed restaurants like the Bus Stop, pictured below. To help in visualization, the firm takes advantage of 3D printed models, renderings, graphic design, and brand development materials. A small but solid team also strengthens the company. Meyer is a project manager, a vice president, an interior design director, creative director, architectural drafter, an interior designer, and a Revit technician.

PlanForce Group

4931 West 35th Street Suite 200 St., Louis Park, MN 55416

PlanForce Group has one mission: to make every square foot count. Calling it the “Power of Design,” the firm creates spaces that translate to business results. Even within the same strategic vicinity, the company understands how a specific building or area could leverage a business over its neighbors. For PlanForce Group, a profitable building has a perfect site, flexible spaces, logical flow, unique features, and modern upgrades.

With such a business-centered approach, the over 30-year old company has amassed clients in various sectors. Let’s take a look at the Best Defense Armory & Range, for example. Recovering from a devastating fire, the owners of this gun store and shooting range hoped to regain and improve business. Among the many efforts of PlanForce Group include exterior improvements and conversion of the space for an indoor gun range. In addition, the firm also designed a new public retail space, a private club room, and two shooting ranges.

U+B Architect & Design

2609 Aldrich Avenue South Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55408

U+B Architect & Design is perfect for clients looking for a flexible commercial architect. As a problem-solving firm, the company has its way of working around challenges by exploring design, materials, and building processes. The firm also avoids a signature style to pave the way for unique designs due to collaboration with the client. Lastly, the company is flexible to work around a specific budget; that is why it can handle projects, whether big or small.

A display of U+B Architect & Design flexibility is the project for Kruskopf & Company. The client wanted to have work environments that promote creativity and collaboration. The U+B team fulfilled that goal by filling the interiors of the area with light and color through translucent and transparent walls. Kruskopf & Company’s Principal, Sue Kruskopf, was pleased that the commercial architect did not follow the typical industrial aesthetic and opted for a fresh and lively workspace, just as needed. This project won the AIA Minneapolis Merit Award/FAB Grand Award.

Locus Architecture

4453 Nicollet Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55419

Locus Architecture has a unique way of involving the client in the project. Instead of just planning and meeting, the firm gets the client to help with the actual design and build. Equipped with 50 years of knowledge in traditional and alternative building, the company provides lectures and leads clients with visioning exercises. The clients also get to join the field, such as in the hunt for the perfect material.

This Birchwood Cafe renovation featured below is a genuine collaboration between Locus Architecture and client. As a result, the 1926 building was fully renovated while keeping the same neighborhood appeal, just the way that the patrons liked it. The firm also included many sustainable features into the restaurant, utilizing solar panels and daylight harvesting.

Hay Dobbs

2324 University Avenue W. Suite 200, Saint Paul, MN 55114

One of the distinctive principles of Hay Dobbs is using history to unravel the design opportunities of today. For example, the firm has learned that libraries today—whether rural or urban—should not be confined to tangible resources and private spaces anymore. Instead, 21st-century learning requires a blend of physical and digital materials. And along with private rooms, the firm designs libraries with social areas to promote teamwork and collaboration. The firm also takes on a multi-disciplinary approach by integrating the best practices from other sectors like civic, corporate, and public environments.

Deciding between 12 other firms, Anoka Ramsey Community College selected Hay Dobbs to design the renovation of the library and the College Services Suites on the Coon Rapids Campus. Completed this year, the brand new library welcomes the community with technology and collaborative spaces, perfect for today’s learning.

Andy Campbell Design Company

111 E. 26th St. Suite B, Minneapolis, MN 55404

A prominent trait that defines Andy Campbell Design Company is practicality. This boutique architectural studio understands that each second and cent is precious for any business. Therefore, all time and cost spent on a project must not go to waste. Focusing on commercial projects in Minneapolis, the company works around construction complexities on time and within budget.

As seen in its portfolio, Andy Campbell Design Company manages to produce pleasing, functional, and stand-out spaces. One example is the PinKU restaurant. With only an extended narrow area of 750 square feet as canvas, the firm incorporated many authentic Japanese themes through large-scale graphics, small details, and lighting fixtures.

Wells & Company Architects

PO BOX 3961, Minneapolis, MN 55403

Specializing in small commercial remodels, business owners can get the best value from Wells & Company Architects. The firm’s projects are well-designed, thoroughly planned, and skillfully constructed—all while being budget-friendly. With such great respect for the industry, the company understands how architecture is a valuable business tool, adding value in many ways, such as through functional spaces.

The irresistible offers of Wells & Company Architects have attracted commercial and retail clients, including restaurants and clothing stores. Featured here is an example of the company’s commercial remodel of the Rodeo Drive clothing store. 


  • Shahe Demirdjian

    Shahe is an Editor at General Contractors with around four years of experience as a writer and editor in the construction space. Shahe has always had a huge interest in commercial/residential construction and real estate. On top of his experience at General Contractors, he has two years of experience as a Construction Partner Specialist at BuildZoom and six years of experience as a licensed real estate agent. In his work, he takes advantage of his expertise to take complex technical jargon from those realms and transform them into accessible, engaging content, blending his business administration expertise with a degree from Arizona State University with his experiential insights. Expertise: Architecture, Home Design and Build, Home Remodeling Key Highlights: Arizona Real Estate - Licensed Salesperson Education: Arizona State University - Bachelors in Business Administration