Home to countless historic architectural gems and vital structures, Jacksonville is known for a combination of classic and modern architecture—a reflection its stature as one of the state’s earliest regional centers. Several of its century-old structures have been repurposed into sleek and modern office headquarters, restaurants, and museums.
We decided to highlight five of the area’s best commercial architects behind some of Jax’s best commercial spaces. Each of these firms has its own unique range of services. Our editorial team created this list after reviewing a number of firms and prioritizing experience, background, and noteworthy distinctions.
ELM | Ervin Lovett Miller
1035 Kings Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32207
ELM provides architectural planning and landscaping services throughout the U.S. and on an international scale. The firm has been in the industry since 2001 and employs a highly personalized, multidisciplinary approach. It has taken on both large- and small-scale projects and operates via an open studio manned by a team of experienced and seasoned professionals. Aside from residential work, the firm also takes on urban design, commercial structures, recreation and hospitality work, and other cultural projects. ELM employs a variety of designs, as you’ll see in its portfolio. From retail and healthcare facilities to hospitality and other unique commercial spaces, ELM can take on any project regardless of complexity. The firm assists its clients throughout the entire process from inception to completion. That includes programming and space planning of the interiors.
The project featured above is an excellent example of the company’s skills and expertise. The company was tasked with developing three individual buildings of varying scales. ELM provided comprehensive planning, architecture, landscape architecture, signage, design guidelines, and tenant interior improvements. The result is this exquisite dining and shopping destination. In terms of design, the firm primarily drew inspiration from the area’s popular coastal architecture.
kasper architects + associates
10175 Fortune Parkway, #701, Jacksonville, FL 32256
kasper architects is a full-service architectural firm that also works on interior design projects. Otherwise known as ka+, the firm uses a highly hands-on approach and is known for its innovative and creative solutions. It has been servicing the area since 2004 and is manned by a talented team of eight registered and experienced architects, who are joined by a support staff of designers and drafters. Maximum efficiency is the result of this ongoing collaboration. Together, the team offers its clients an intricate and excellent understanding of real estate development, building engineering, and construction. The firm has had the opportunity to work with some noteworthy clients in the area, including the Diocese of St. Augustine, Pet Paradise, Toyota, and the University of North Florida.
Since its inception, the firm has worked on the architecture of over 1,500 commercial spaces. Its portfolio includes a broad range of healthcare, educational, and tenant improvements. It has also taken on multiple retail, hospitality, automotive, and industrial spaces.
2716 St. Johns Avenues, Jacksonville, FL 32205
JAA Architecture works throughout northeast Florida and has been in business since 2005. It operates out of its office in Jacksonville and specializes in residential, commercial, and industrial projects. JAA takes on 200 projects annually and since its inception has been the recipient of five awards. It is well-respected for its design’s functionality and aesthetics, as well as its expertise in an extensive variety of architectural themes from classical to contemporary styles. It is also well-versed in some of Florida’s most popular vernaculars, in addition to the latest modern designs. Pictured below is the firm’s work for the Strings Sports Brewery.
For this project, the firm was tasked with working on over 7,800 square feet of space and an additional 2,300 square feet of its covered patio. Located in the historic district, the project sits in a building built in 1938. The main goal for this space was to maintain its existing elements while updating it with modern finishes.
Studio 9 Architecture
315 E Bay St. Suite #303, Jacksonville, FL 32202
Recognized as one of North Florida’s most respected firms, Studio 9 Architecture offers a full range of residential and commercial services as well as interior design work. It provides innovative solutions and is also noted for its efforts in the sustainable design movement. Since its inception, it has worked on nearly 400 projects and over a million square feet in terms of interior design. It commits itself to simplicity, with its work often featuring straight lines, minimalist details, and the use of modern materials and elements. Aside from its residential projects, it has also taken on several commercial and corporate endeavors, in addition to larger-scale projects such as retirement communities. The company is respected for its ability to come up with innovative solutions and complete all of its spaces within the agreed-upon budget.
Depicted above is one of the firm’s best projects. Completed for Sbraga & Company Restaurant, the firm was tasked with working on this space’s extensive interior design. It spans 6,650-square-feet and was completed back in 2015 in collaboration with Eimer Design. Our editorial team was impressed by its excellent contemporary theme coupled with various cultural influences from Northeast Florida.
Doherty Sommers Architects Engineers (DSAE)
370 15TH Avenue South, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250
Founded in 2003, Doherty Sommers Architects Engineers operates out of its headquarters in Jacksonville Beach. It provides a complete range of design services, which includes architecture and all disciplines of engineering. The firm is licensed to operate across Florida but also in the states of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Utah, and Maryland. Its portfolio includes a range of aviation, corporate, and educational projects. Our editorial team was also impressed by its various fitness, medical, multi-family, tenant improvements, and religious spaces. The project below is one of its best retail projects.
Completed for Bono’s, for this project the firm opted for exposed bricks coupled with various rustic finishes. We were impressed by its inviting bar and dining spaces.