Situated along the Grand River, Grand Rapids is Michigan’s second-largest city and the county seat of Kent County. This city was formerly regarded as America’s Furniture Capital because of its high-quality self-manufactured home furniture. Today, it is the economic and cultural center of West Michigan, the state’s fastest-growing large city and one of the Midwest’s fastest expanding cities.
With a dynamic community and a developing economy, the city has become an excellent location for business growth. The area’s best commercial architects are now increasing in size in order to design the most refined commercial spaces. This list includes the Best Commercial Architects in Grand Rapids, Michigan—a group of professionals chosen for their experiences, projects, media coverage, and award-winning work.
560 5th Street NW, Suite 305, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504
In 1980, Don Bergmann, together with Brian Dougherty, John Murray, and Gary Olin, had a vision to start a civil and transportation design firm that delivered innovative solutions for the built environment, with an emphasis on client experience. As a result, Bergmann Associates (now Bergmann) was founded. The firm grew to incorporate specialists in planning, the environment, architecture, and interior design, and expanded across the Northeast, Midwest and MidAtlantic regions of the U.S. The Grand Rapids office opened in 2017 and has quickly become one of the firm’s fastest growing locations.
Bergmann prides itself on being a business with national skills and reach while still maintaining strong local relationships. LD+A Magazine, Modern Steel Magazine, and Healthcare Design Magazine are among the few publications to feature the firm.
The firm’s work ranges from big structures and commercial complexes to vital transportation infrastructure and community planning: all to achieve success for their customers and lay the groundwork for the future. One of its recent commercial projects is the Jackson YMCA’s new healthy living campus in downtown Jackson, MI. Bergmann was selected in 2018 to provide conceptual master planning to kick off the capital campaign, and in 2020 was selected as architect/engineer for the project. The team is focused on creating a space that reflects the needs of the community and is designed to deliver programs and support with accessibility for all in mind.
440 Bridge Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Tom Nemitz founded Cornerstone Architects in 1989 to deliver creative design and full-service architecture. Cornerstone has since been providing outstanding customer service, innovative designs, and projects that work. As a result, the firm has received several awards, including the 2018 State History Award for Restoration/Preservation and the 2015 AIA Grand Rapids Design Award. Cornerstone Architects creates work plans based on years of honed skills, knowledge, and experience to fit the specific demands of each project. Keeping the unique client’s goals in mind while maintaining clear and precise communication helps ensure a smooth and effective design process.
Cornerstone Architects believes that each project evolves from a design solution based on distinct client goals and the unique conditions of each project. The firm tries to make each project special, whether it’s due to the diverse nature of various individual owners, the character of an institution, or simply the site’s uniqueness. A great example of this is the 545 Michigan – Midtown Grand Rapids. This project has a perfect office space with on-site parking included in the rent. The on-site amenities also include two restaurants. The architecture of the building ensures that it matches its surroundings while maintaining the essence of a commercial establishment.
AMDG Architects, Inc.
25 Commerce, SW Suite 300, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Founded in 1992, AMDG began as a collaboration between four architects who were grappling with how to give their craft more substance. Before they even had a single client, the four had decided on a name—an acronym based on the Latin phrase Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the greater glory of God). To these architects, AMDG represented a conviction that design should serve a purpose. Client-centered designs are raised to their fullest potential through full-spectrum collaboration and strong communication.
The firm’s president is principal architect Peter Baldwin, who is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He brings almost four decades of experience to the firm, which has helped it gain recognition from a variety of publications, including the Great Lakes By Design Magazine. Peter also received the Young Architect Award of the AIAGV Chapter in 2002. Peter’s expertise in commercial and residential designs has contributed significantly to the firm’s extensive portfolio. Included in that portfolio is New Vista medical office building, a 40,000-square-foot commercial project completed in partnership with First Companies. In addition to the building shell, AMDG partnered with First Companies and Kathryn Chaplow Interior Design on a number of its suites including Bengtson Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery, Mercy Health Concierge Medicine, and Lovell Hand & Orthopedic Center.
VIA Design Studio
44 Grandville Avenue SW, Suite 400, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
For 32 years, VIA Design Studio has long been a group of problem solvers who provide full-service architectural, interior design, and furniture design for commercial and residential projects. Established by Valerie Schmieder in 1989, the firm has maintained a strong belief that good design is everything its clients say they need—and more. The firm pays close attention and reads between the lines to discover desires that its clients may not have fully articulated. As a fully licensed business, VIA Design Studio provides all of the professional services a client would expect, plus a few extras and a collaborative approach to making your projects distinct.
VIA Design Studio’s skilled staff has a wide range of abilities and the ability to respond to a wide range of project scopes. Throughout a client’s project, the firm collaborates to produce designs that are tailored to a client’s specific goals and needs. The Sovengard, located at 443 Bridge Street, has two distinct eating experiences: inside and al fresco dining. Both areas are concentrated on providing sustainability and high-quality food. The project provides the finest Scandinavian service while fitting in with its surroundings.
662 Croswell Avenue SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Since its inception in 1992, Visbeen has been an award-winning national firm that provides customized, exceptional, full-service architectural and interior design services. The company has completed projects across the country, worked in over 20 countries, and is looking to expand globally by facilitating collaborations in India. Visbeen Architects has earned hundreds of national honors since its inception, including scores of Best in American Living Awards and more than 100 American Residential Design Awards. At the helm of Visbeen is President Wayne E. Visbeen, AIA, who ensures that customers are provided with individual attention and exceptional full-service architectural, planning, and interior design services. Wayne develops projects that are physically appealing, but he also continuously seeks innovative ideas that make each concept distinctive and exceptional.
For 29 years, Visbeen Architects has brought architectural ideas to life from one-of-a-kind and custom-designed buildings to different communities. One of the firm’s been commercial projects is the store, A.K. Rikk’s, located in Grand Rapids. Visbeen designed an appealing, sophisticated retail environment that reflected the high quality and beautifully fitted products that it provided its clients in architectural language. The firm incorporated vast expanses of glass into the design while delivering adequate wall cases and exhibits. The concourse’s beauty is the product of finding the right balance between the two.
1811 4 Mile Road NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Progressive AE is a forward-thinking national design and engineering company committed to achieving remarkable results for its clients, the firm itself, and the environment. Spearheaded by Brad Thomas, the firm explores ideas through an iterative approach that challenges every perspective and point of view. With over 58 years of experience in the industry, Progressive AE has balanced human experience and infrastructure to guarantee that spaces, locations, and systems give back to the community. The firm’s progressive nature has been featured in several publications, including the MiMfg Magazine and Corp! Magazine. Progressive AE has also received numerous awards for its sustainable and exceptional designs, such as the AIA Michigan’s 2020 Interior Architecture Award and the AIA Grand Rapids’ 2020 Sustainability Award.
Progressive AE focuses on the vital principle that design drives performance. It is the notion that design is about more than just appearances; it is also about enhancing organizational outcomes. The firm believes that a new location that does not support your goals or make you better at what you do is not a worthwhile investment. One of its commercial projects, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, follows this approach. The 9,500-square-foot space represents the chamber’s commitment to assist and promote the local business community. As a result, more than 85 percent of the area was devoted to that notion. This workplace is a true embodiment of their dedication to members, including everything from a co-working café to conference and small meeting rooms.
4 East Fulton Street, Suite 200, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
For almost 70 years, TowerPinkster has been a multidiscipline design firm dedicated to integrity, excellence, and sustainability initiatives. From just six staff members at its inception in 1953, the firm has grown to more than 170 design professionals between its Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo offices. WoodTV, Grand Rapids Business Journal, MiBiz, and Click On Detroit are among the many publications that have featured the firm’s progressive nature and sustainable projects. CEO Bjorn Green encourages staff to prioritize the client experience and personal development to create exceptional results for projects.
TowerPinsker’s extensive portfolio reflects the firm’s strong commitment to improving the communities it serves. A great example is their Grand Rapids office. As one of TowerPinkster’s historic preservation projects, the firm opted to restore the 1940’s building to its original, minimally-detailed, art deco design. The office was designed to be highly collaborative. Amenities include virtual reality technology that supports immersive design simulations and the latest conferencing technology to allow for remote team communication. Because of its environmentally friendly characteristics, the project was awarded LEED Platinum certification. TowerPinkster specializes in architecture, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, master planning, and technology design. The firm works through various market sectors including commercial, government, healthcare, higher education, and K-12.
560 5th Street, NW #405, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
In 2013, Mathison | Mathison Architects (MMA) was established on the belief that architecture, planning, and design can improve people’s lives. The firm looks for innovative methods to increase function, comfort, and sustainability by pushing the boundaries of what is possible. MMA business believes that outstanding design links individuals to their surroundings and one another. MMA designs meaningful places with a modern style by identifying structure, the balance of internal and outdoor space, and the interaction of a site with its architecture, regardless of size or complexity. Leading this charge in the architectural world are co-founders Tom Mathison and Evan Mathison. Tom (FAIA) brings over 40 years of experience to the firm’s extensive portfolio. He also received a Master of Architecture degree with honors from the University of Michigan, where he was also granted the Booth Traveling Fellowship.
Mathison Architects’ ideas and execution are driven by meticulous planning and creative design. This approach is reflected in one of its commercial projects, the Mathison | Mathison Architects Office, in Grand Rapids. The project is a linear, open, and dynamic floor plan that allows for future staff expansion inside a tall area with plenty of natural light and exemplifies the firm’s modern style and eye for detail. The new wood surface introduces a clean, modern furniture piece tailored to the area, leading to a sculptural composition of natural materials that offer balanced transparency, elegance, and warmth. This project was recognized by the AIA Grand Rapids Interior Architecture’s Honor Award in 2016.
89 Monroe Center Street NW, Suite 400 Grand Rapids, MI 49503
For nearly four decades, Ghafari Associates has been a global engineering, architectural, process design, consulting, and construction services firm—a firm dedicated to understanding and meeting each client’s unique demands. We assist customers in increasing their efficiency, sustainability, and impact by combining intelligence with innovative technology. The firm boasts its human and tailored approach to highly technical projects in challenging markets since 1982. Spearheaded by founder Yousif Ghafari, the firm has won numerous awards, including the Illumination Award of Merit from the Illuminating Engineering Society and the Association of Licensed Architects (ALA) 2020 Design Awards. Several publications, such as Detroiter Magazine and Grand Rapids Magazine, have recognized the firm’s build-up of a legacy of uniqueness and exceptional designs.
Ghafari Associates offers a full range of planning and architectural design services. One of the firm’s notable projects is the renovation of the Exhibitors Building. The historic Exhibitors Building—connected to the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel—was refurbished with new windows, an entry canopy, a complete refurbishment of many levels of office suites, and a remodeling of the main lobby. Additionally, the firm installed external lighting to accentuate the building’s distinctive architectural characteristics. The improvements expanded the building’s leasable office space, which was constructed in the mid-1920s as an exhibition hall for the city’s annual furniture fairs.