Rochester is the home and birthplace of many of the country’s most iconic companies including Xerox, Western Union, and Eastman Kodak. Today, the city hosts hundreds of established and emerging companies that continue to transform its urban and suburban landscapes.
Helping these developers, businesses, and project owners design spaces and structures that embody their brand’s vision and goals are the best commercial architects in Rochester. The firms listed below are multi-awarded, multi-affiliated, licensed, and are highly recommended by their past clients.
387 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14604
SWBR is an award-winning design firm in the Rochester, New York area offering architecture, interior design, structural engineering, landscape architecture, planning, and graphic design services. For the firm, relationship building and innovative problem solving are the foundation for clients’ success. Founded in 1969, SWBR is dedicated to creating environments that positively impact lives through meaningful design. CEO and President Tom Gears, AIA, leads the firm in transforming communities into places where people can live, work, and play.
SWBR creates innovative and functional corporate designs that maximize the value of square footage, promote sustainability, productivity, health, and wellness. The firm’s corporate portfolio includes company headquarters, law offices, call centers, automotive dealerships, hospitality venues, and banks. In association with New York-based Studio Tack, SWBR recently completed The Lake House on Canandaigua, which was named the top resort hotel in New York by Travel + Leisure magazine.
132 E Jefferson St., Syracuse, NY 13202
Specializing in planning, interior design, and architecture services, Holt Architects offers a comprehensive practice that puts forward its advocacy for modern, technology-based and sustainable designs. Since the firm opened its doors in 1963, it has catered to the needs of the banking, affordable housing, community, healthcare, and education sectors. The firm also takes on commercial design projects. One of its latest projects was for the transformation of the University of Rochester’s Rush Rhees Library. The resulting space provided students and guests with a bright, modern, open layout space that enjoys the collaborative and ergonomic elements of contemporary architecture and design.
Industry organizations such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Southern New York Chapter recognizes the firm’s significant contributions to the region. Aside from the Award of Merit recognition, the institution also honored the firm with its Award of Citation for several projects, such as the SUNY Cortland Moffett Center’s renovation design, First Heritage Federal Credit Union project, and Community Corners work among others. President Paul Levesque II, certified by the AIA, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED AP), leads the firm’s everyday practice.
114 S Union St., Rochester, NY 14607
Multi-awarded and multi-affiliated, CJS Architects is one of the most highlighted companies in the region. Upstate New York’s different building and design institutions also recognized the company’s recent project. These include the 2020 – Educational/Institutional Award for the firm’s Lockport Family YMCA project, the 2019 Best Historic Adaptive Reuse Residential for its Mentholatum design, as well as the Best Adaptive Re-Use Project for The Sinclair architectural work.
The success of the firm can be attributed to the solid background of its principal architects: Craig W. Jense, AIA, NCARB, Dirk Schneider, AIA, DIPL-ING, and Robert E. Stark, AIA, NCARB. Under their leadership, the firm’s 49-year history has produced a portfolio of landmark commercial projects in the city. One of its most complex and culturally-significant projects was the shell and stage renovation of the Eastman Theater, the University of Rochester’s largest performance venue.
277 Alexander St. Suite #407, Rochester, NY 14607
Celebrated for its modern, sustainable, and client-focused practice, Edge Architecture remains one of the most preferred architectural firms in the region. The company is a recent recipient of the 020 – People’s Choice Award conducted by AIA Rochester Chapter. In the past, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) New York Upstate Chapter recognized the firm’s Red Tail Ridge Winery project with the green design institution’s LEED Gold Certification.
Founded over 20 years ago, the firm’s services allow clients to experience a concept-through-completion solution, thanks to its comprehensive architecture and project management services. Allen Rossignol, AIA, LEED AP, established the company with the vision of providing solutions to the commercial, residential, and education sectors among others.
205 St. Paul St. Suite #500, Rochester, NY 14604
CPL is one one the most established architectural firms in Rochester. The company’s design portfolio includes projects that have been commended by the design community for their nod to sustainability and modern, visionary designs. Some of the firm’s projects are featured in industry publications, including the Olean Times Herald and the Monroe County Post.
The firm is an active member of the AIA and it also produces architecture designed to pass the USGBC’s LEED certification. Under the leadership of Richard Henry III, P.E, the company serves a long list of various industries. As a commercial architect with experience in healthcare design, the firm was chosen by Rochester Regional Health to design its Reidman Health Center. The 76,000-square-foot structure features modern architecture that features a multi-paneled, full-glass facade.
SEI Design Group
224 Mill St., Rochester, NY 14614
SEI Design Group provides a comprehensive approach to architecture. Its primary services include planning, architectural design, as well as consulting services to the education, healthcare, hospitality, and commercial markets. The firm’s success can be attributed to the background of its senior principal architects, Brian Cieslinski, CSI, Michael Ebertz, AIA, Matthew Monaghan, AIA, and Victor Tomaselli, AIA.
An example of the firm’s work in Rochester was for accounting firm DeJoy, Knauf & Blood. The firm was commissioned to create the layout and design of the client’s new corporate office in Midtown’s Tower 280. The resulting work is a bright interior with open views of the dynamic urban scenes. The new space also allowed the client to enjoy a collaborative work environment with flexible workspaces.
2 Elton St., Rochester, NY 14607
HBT Architects is one of the most recognized architectural firms in the region. The firm is known for its “forward-thinking” design that centers on creativity, collaboration, and client-centered solutions. This makes the firm an ideal choice for commercial developers and project owners because of the company’s ability to translate branding concepts into feasible architecture.
The same philosophy has helped the firm earn accolades since its founding over two decades ago. This includes the 2020 – Citation Award for Finger Lakes Museum from the AIA Rochester Chapter. Trevor Harrison and Jim Tripp are the firm’s managing partners who lead the firm’s everyday operations.
Greater Living Architecture, P.C.
3033 Brighton Henrietta Town Line Rd., Rochester, NY 14623
Greater Living Architecture, P.C. (GLA) is an architectural design firm recently named one of The Daily Record and the Rochester Business Journal’s 2021 Excellence in Construction & Real Estate. GLA has had a lifelong membership with the AIA and its affiliation with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Architects Joseph O’Donnell AIA, NCARB and Roger Langer AIA have extensive experience in architectural design as well as construction management.
The commercial portfolio is growing with clients from varying industries. One of the firm’s successful projects is the transformation of Savoia Pastry Shoppe’s facade and interior design work to accommodate its growth. The high-end retail store was designed to showcase Italian pastries, cookies, and cakes as its main products. Some other noteworthy projects include a multi-phased expansion with Zweigles, ComTec Solutions, Dioguardi Auto Sales, Victor Chrysler, Dodge, Ram & Jeep. In addition, as part of its legacy for over 50 years, the GLA Residential Design Team led by Chris Keil has developed award winning home designs now sold across the United States.
Peter L Morse & Associates
875 E Main St. Suite #130, Rochester, NY 14605
Peter L Morse has been serving a wide range of industries since he first opened his practice in 1982. The firm’s commercial work under Morse’s leadership is for clients who have helped shape the city’s urban landscapes. Landmark architectures such as the Historic Powers Building, Monro Muffler Brake, Genesee Valley Shopping Center, Menezes Pizza, and Lumiere are just some of the company’s projects in Rochester and nearby New York communities.
The firm offers designs that put emphasis on accessibility renovations, catering to persons with disabilities. This unique service is offered to its residential and commercial clients.