Commercial spaces need to complement and serve the needs of the residents in the community. Whether it is an office, retail space, hotel, or restaurant, working with an architect will enrich the property value of a project. 

Our team has curated a list of the best commercial architects in Gateway Cities, California. These firms were selected for their accreditations, certifications, and professional affiliations. We also considered the recognition each firm has received including any industry awards, client reviews, and press features. We have laid out the range of services the firms offer, their specializations, and the length of time they have been in the industry.


Nadel Architects

1990 S. Bundy Drive, Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90025

Nadel Architects is a leading architectural firm that offers comprehensive design and planning services. They are certified by the American Institute of Building Design (AIBD), LA Business Council (LABC), and the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, the firm also has satellite offices in Las Vegas and Phoenix. 

Nadel Architects’ collaborative approach empowers both their team and their clients. Together, they tackle each project synergistically, cultivating an immersive experience for everyone involved as they work to integrate structure and landscape. 

Patrick Winters is the owner, president, and principal of Nadel Architects. He also sits on the board of directors for the firm. With 36 years of architectural experience, Winters currently represents the firm’s multifamily sector. He specializes in the design and construction of high-quality, mixed-use, and urban infill projects with a major focus on sustainability. His experience with historic preservation and adaptive reuse enables him to design creative solutions with the highest possible level of sustainability in each project. In addition, Winters has authored and developed many of the strategies the firm has used to creatively respond to the needs of their clients while staying on top of the current trends.

One of Nadel Architects’ most prominent projects is the Azalea. The open-air center’s ground-up retail includes six in-line major tenants and more than 100,000 square feet of boutique, dining, and daily needs retail. The plaza buildings showcase recycled barn wood and include al fresco dining, water features, and landscaping.


Withee Malcolm Architects

2251 W. 190th St., Torrance, CA 90504

With accreditation from the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, Withee Malcolm Architects uses their prowess in planning, architecture, and interior design to provide clients informed and responsive service. In addition to architectural design, the firm can assist in construction documentation, sustainability analysis, government agency coordination, and code upgrading. 

Withee Malcolm Architects won a Gold Nugget Award at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) for their work on urban infill housing, commercial, industrial, and hospitality projects. 

Jeffrey S. Lemler, the Director of Commercial Architecture, has extensive knowledge of codes and city processes which has been advantageous for corporate office, R&D, manufacturing, warehouse, and industrial clients. He is a member of the Building Owners and Managers Association, and has enabled challenging commercial projects to achieve certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Meanwhile, Director of Architecture Dirk Thelen accomplished early training in construction technology and has amassed more than 40 years of experience with a broad range of projects encompassing affordable, set-aside, and alternative-delivery housing. Working as an integrated team, Lemlerand Thelen have made Withee Malcolm Architects widely admired for their client centered approach and innovative design solutions. 

The headquarters for Unical Aviation, Inc. is a sample of Withee Malcolm Architects work. The project team converted a distribution warehouse into an engaging workplace that contains new executive office space as well as 20,000 square feet of shops, laboratories, and testing operations.


RDCollaborative

245 East Third St. Long Beach, CA 90802

Retail Design Collaborative (RDC) has been recognized with awards from the German Design Council and Architizer for their architecture, planning, and interior design services. The firm creates retail, entertainment, and hospitality environments. They have capabilities in conceptual design, entitlement, site planning, and all stages of construction documentation and administration. On top of this, rearranging existing areas and dealing with plans and prototypes is second-nature to RDC. This California Certified Green Business is dedicated to contributing to the 2030 Commitment, a promise to design all new buildings as net-zero energy by 2030.

Brad Williams, the President and CEO of RDC, is actively involved with the AIA California Council, and is a former Jury Member of the California Redevelopment Association. Brad has cultivated his design competency in urban infill revitalization projects, high-density retail developments, as well as revitalization programs for both public and private entities. He has been granted many accolades by the Los Angeles section of the American Planning Association (APA), the AIA Long Beach/South Bay Chapter, and the Congress for New Urbanism. 

RDC was responsible for the work on the Pike Outlets. Previously an amusement park in the 1900’s, RDC redeveloped the location into an open-air shopping destination with shops, restaurants, a Ferris wheel, and a roller coaster bridge modeled after Long Beach’s Cyclone Racer.


Gruen Associates

6330 San Vicente Boulevard Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Gruen Associates is a global architecture, design, and planning firm that has completed over 10,000 projects worldwide. Their in-house workforce is skilled in all aspects of retail architecture, transportation planning and design, urban design, interior design, and landscape architecture. The company’s research-based approach and project management has earned more than 250 awards from highly respected organizations like the APA Los Angeles Section, AIA California, and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). Certified by the Mayor’s City of Los Angeles Green Business Program (LAGBP), Gruen Associates is participating in the AIA 2030 Commitment, working towards the goal of carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030.

Four partners run Gruen Associates and bring together creative, technical, and management expertise. Michael Enomoto is an AIA Los Angeles (AIA LA) Presidential Gold Medal Honoree, and has served as President of AIA LA, AIA California, and the Asian American Architects/Engineers Association where he continues as a member of the Board of Directors. Like Enomoto, Debra Gerod is a Fellow of the AIA (FAIA) while Larry Schlossberg and Ashok Vanmali are members. Both Gerod and Schlossberg are LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED AP) on the forefront of sustainable design.

Gruen Associates developed the West Hollywood Dr. Barbara Sturm store – a science-based skincare line from Germany. The project showcases a large, welcoming entry with a central counter and side wall with individual vanities. There are also three acoustically protected treatment rooms, two express rooms, and two infrared treatment rooms.


William Hezmalhalch Architects

3767 Worsham Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90808

William Hezmalhalch Architects (WHA) is a multidisciplinary firm of architects, planners, and designers that manage every aspect of the architectural process to fulfill a clients’ goals. With almost 40 years in the business, WHA has formed strong ties with subcontractors and collaborated with agencies, builders, and developers through design, budgets, codes, entitlement, and construction documentation.

Bill Hezmalhalch is the President of WHA. His four decades of hands-on experience spans residential building types from custom, luxury, and resort properties, to single-family conventional, high-density detached and attached homes. Hezmalhalch is affiliated with the AIA and is accredited by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Apart from this, he was inducted into the William S. Marvin Hall of Fame for Design Excellence as well as the California Homebuilding Foundation Hall of Fame. He has been sought out as a speaker at many premier industry conferences, and has led WHA into winning a Best of 55+ Housing Award from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

The Resort “Club on 6th” is an outstanding representative of WHA’s long portfolio of commercial projects. The Resort clubhouse design incorporates sculptures, vivid colors, sleek lines, flat roofs, rectangle windows, and modern facilities to reflect the community’s art culture. The recreation center houses a big pool, a spacious outdoor barbecue area, numerous multi-purpose rooms with an attached kitchen, conference rooms and offices, a gym, and a second-story club room.


Architects MSP

3575 Long Beach Boulevard Long Beach, CA 90807

Architects MSP (McDonald, Soutar & Paz) is a full-service architectural practice that specializes in programming, pre-design, construction, document preparation, bidding support, and project management.  They combine concern for people, research, and technology to create distinctive retail, office, educational, and institutional designs. For the duration of 27 years, the firm has completed over 1,200 projects and maintained long-term partnerships with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, Long Beach and Los Angeles Unified School District, and the Foundation for Early Childhood Education.

As the President of Architects MSP, Michael Soutar is the driving force of leadership and design within the firm. The licensed architect holds membership in the AIA, the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Commercial Real Estate Council and the Long Beach Day Nursery. He has accumulated over 30 years of design, construction documentation, and project management experience. Soutar‘s leadership has established a culture of design excellence at Architects MSP, demonstrated by their work on a BMW Motorcycle Dealership.

The BMW Motorcycle Dealership is a two-story showroom that is made of glass on three sides, providing pedestrians clear visual access to the motorcycles. It is highlighted by 12-inch diameter steel columns on the exterior of the wall. The high-tech character of both the building and the motorbikes is enhanced by a space frame ceiling structure exposed to the showroom with ducting and lights placed throughout.


Corbel Architects

3450 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1000, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Corbel Architects collaborate with clients in designing commercial, residential, and hospitality projects in the form of theme parks, museums, resorts, and entertainment centers. They apply a comprehensive approach to designing one-of-a-kind spaces that are both contextually appropriate and highly responsive to clients’ requirements and aspirations.

David Seongbae Kim’s experience as a principal architect at Immseriv Company and a project manager at Nadel Architects informs his work as the current principal architect of Corbel Architects. He is a member of the AIA and guides his team that includes a NCARB-certified designer and LEED AP. 

The creativity and talent of the Corbel Architects team is reflected in Corbel’s design of Madang Mall in Los Angeles, a four-level shopping and entertainment center. The team drew inspiration from traditional Korean social spaces, particularly the Madang or “courtyard”, blending Asian and contemporary styles. A cinema, restaurants, retail shops, a fitness center, and a grocery store are the main spaces of the shopping complex.


RMCA Architects

1541 Wilshire Blvd # 110, Los Angeles, CA 90017

RMCA Architects undertake a full spectrum of architecture, design, and planning services, from initial concepts, project entitlements, to construction documentation and administration. The firm covers ground-up construction, renovation and expansion, space planning, tenant improvements, and site/master planning. They specialize in retail design of markets and drugstores, and urban design of large-scale retail developments. At the same time, the company has advanced expertise in mixed-use projects, office buildings, community and religious buildings, schools, warehouses, and automobile dealerships. Directed by LEED AP executives, RMCA Architects implement sustainable practices through the reuse and renovation of existing buildings. 

Paul S. Robich has spent 36 years doing commercial design and construction management work for over 300 community and neighborhood centers, retail, and office buildings. He is a member of the Los Angeles, state, and national chapters of the AIA and is certified by NCARB. In his role as the president of RMCA Architects and an affiliate of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Robich draws on his architectural dexterity by steering the firm to develop commercial and public sector projects including this Whole Foods Market in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Whole Foods Market location was designed to speak to its surrounding neighborhood with its restaurant and interior signage paying homage to 8th Street. Art Deco blade signs throughout the store made reference to downtown’s beautiful Union Station. The market spaces are also customized with themed architectural elements, interior décor, and graphics.


SMS Architects

18004 Sky Park Circle, Suite 200 Irvine, ca 92614

Bestowed with a Gold Nugget Award by the PCBC, SMS Architects marries creative design and technical know-how to build commercial architecture in the retail, hospitality, entertainment, and restaurant sectors. The NCARB-certified firm ensures that its principals are actively engaged throughout every project. Sustainability, continued learning, and innovation is integral to SMS’ practice. The firm is capable of being licensed in all 50 states and is currently licensed in 20 states.  They have fostered solid relationships with clients and partners. They are focused on creating a better planet for future generations.

CEO Greg Simonoff teamed with COO Brandon Dedmon and CFO Stephanie Gilbert to provide personalized service on all SMS’ projects. Simonoff, Dedmon, and Gilbert met while working together at MBH Architects.  Together they lead the firm with strong principles of design, above standard construction documents, and a focus on the client experience in mind. Their combined leadership has allowed them to grow the firm to include an excellent team of professionals, which has resulted in the completion of popular destinations such as The Lot.

Accentuated by earthy tones and wood textural details, The Lot is a mixed-use establishment that includes indoor-outdoor spaces, a bar café, seven theater auditoriums, and a lobby dining area. The bar has an open layout with walnut dividers that bring a semblance of intimacy amongst slender tables and bar-height seating.”


Matson Architects Inc.

13271 South Street, Cerritos, CA 90703

Matson Architects Inc. is a full-service architecture firm that provides design, planning, construction documentation, and management services. They are accustomed to handling zoning changes, conditional use permits, precise plans, design review applications, and coordinating all agency reviews. 

As a member of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and the AIA, Matson Architects Inc. consistently aims to incorporate green building design and energy efficiency for their projects. They design and build commercial and industrial projects while employing a full team of engineering professionals who are ready to attend to the needs of their clients.

Prior to founding the firm, Jonathan Matson refined his commercial design abilities while working at Hartfelder and Associates as well as Neeley Lofrano Architects. The NCARB-accredited and licensed architect is a member of the International Code Council. He contributed to the Cerritos Chamber of Commerce and is a former president of the Rotary Club of Bellflower. Under his leadership, Matson Architects Inc. was honored by the Cerritos City Council’s Business Spotlight program. 

The Matson Architects’ team designed the Circe Properties, a three-level mixed use center with corresponding levels of parking at the rear. The first floor is retail, the second floor has a restaurant with al fresco dining and retail. Offices are located on the third floor. The Circe Properties is a charming hub that has anchored Gateway Cities, California.


DRA Architects

32 Executive Park, Suite 100, Irvine CA 92614

DRA Architects specializes in commercial, industrial, medical, interior, worship, master plan, and educational projects.  They partner with non-profit groups and developers, including the Dow Jones Corporations, to provide clients with flexible services while taking their budget into account. The firm fulfills their client’s needs and maintains effective communication throughout all phases of design and construction.

Carrie Hoshino and Stephen P. Zieg are co-owners of DRA Architects. Their collaborative leadership has set the company apart as a leading design firm. Hoshino, a member of the AIA, sat as the project design architect at DeReverse & Associates and served as a designer at The Arroyo Group. She has over 29 years of experience and built 100 offices, several industrial and medical buildings, and worship centers throughout her career. Stephen P. Zieg carries extensive background in commercial, industrial, and religious facilities. Together they have lead DRA Architects through a diverse body of work that consists of offices such as the United Pacific Corporate Headquarters.

DRA Architects updated the United Pacific building into a new and modern space. They included large open workspaces, meeting spaces, a fitness center, an upstairs game area, a community kitchen, and an outdoor entertainment area. These spaces promote collaboration, fuel productivity, and foster employee dedication. Inspired by United Pacific’s own gas station canopy, wood panels in various shades of blue were individually hand-cut to achieve the look of waves.


Grisafe Architecture, Inc.

3750 Schaufele Ave., Suite 150 Long Beach, CA 90808

Grisafe Architecture offers architecture, construction documentation, landscaping, tenant improvements, and interior design for their commercial and residential clients. Advising and advocating for a client is at the heart of the firm’s approach to every project. 

Besides energy-efficiency planning, Grisafe Architecture’s specialties include federal, state, and municipal code expertise, and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. Additionally, they are capable of providing structural, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing system design.

Mark Grisafe instills in his team the importance of strengthening relationships with clients and government agencies. He was recently appointed to the City of Long Beach’s Cultural Heritage Commission, where he supervises proposed changes to historic homes and buildings. His proficiency in architecture and code compliance was useful in his previous work as Project Architect at ECB Architects and Project Manager at Ron Yeo, FAIA Architect Inc. Now, under his leadership, Grisafe Architecture delivers high-quality architectural and engineering services for small to mid-size ground-up commercial projects.

Featured here is a new headquarters for a business owner in Long Beach Boulevard. It is equipped with a series of aluminum louvers that reduce direct sunlight and control access to the front entrance. It is also a design element that ties the front elevation together. Awnings above the second story windows further integrate the facade and provide additional sun protection. A strong, brightly colored horizontal band conveys the design theme around the corner of the building near the vehicle entrance.


Ultra-Unit Architectural Studio

1327 Loma Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90804

Ultra-Unit Architectural Studio is rooted in architectural excellence, construction craftsmanship, and superior project management. The design-build practice is able to accurately estimate building costs by using advanced digital construction technology. They also pursue a balance of form and function by creating meaningful spatial connections—an approach that has afforded the firm awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The process begins with initial consultations and conceptualization, followed by the creation of detailed renderings with specifications. Ultra-Unit then manages resources during construction.

Cameron Crockett is a California-licensed contractor and architect with more than 25 years of experience with restaurants, commercial spaces, retail properties, and Accessory Dwelling Units. He is a LEED accredited professional and AIA member with teaching experience at several prestigious colleges and universities. Under Crockett’s leadership, Ultra-Unit Architectural Studio focuses on supporting every project’s construction activities with meticulous coordination. 

Originally constructed as a red car trolley stop in the early 1900’s, the existing structure of the Ubuntu Cafe was not suitable for its new function as a restaurant because of the lack of square footage for indoor seating. To resolve this, the Ultra-Unit Architectural Studio team negotiated with the City of Long Beach and was able to acquire additional parking, expanding the space for a new enclosed dining area. Given the site’s close proximity to the ocean, a large 15-foot wide hanger door was installed to enhance the beach experience for indoor-outdoor dining.


Pickard Architects

13215 Penn Street Suite 300, Whittier, CA 90602

Pickard Architects is an architecture and engineering firm that envisions and materializes commercial, civic, childcare, and interior architecture. Their work includes new projects, remodeling, freestanding, and tenant improvement. The firm has supplied construction management, project management, planning, and entitlement services for private and public clients since 1982, completing more than 1,900 projects. 

Throughout the process, Pickard Architects re-evaluates clients’ functional programs, project values, and financial criteria. The early assessment of different systems and design methods is possible with Pickard’s “up-front” conceptualization of engineering of systems and architecture, as well as the order of magnitude cost estimates.

President and CEO David Pickard earned a degree in architecture at the University of Southern California and studied Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. He earned membership with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and obtained a certification as an Architectural Engineer. Having worked as a project engineer at the Koll Company, David’s expansive engineering knowledge brings technical skillfulness to Pickard Architects’ designs. These skills include building materials to construction technology. 

The Pickard team designed building systems for a Sprouts Farmers Market location that promoted the natural flow of the consumer’s journey throughout the entire store. The firm also performed a value engineering review to evaluate the prototype standards. They made recommendations for cost savings and reduced construction costs for the items that were accepted by the owner.


Satoh Brothers International Inc.

19750 S. Vermont Avenue, Suite 100, Torrance, CA 90502  

Initially based in Japan, Satoh Brothers International, Inc. (SBI) has expanded their construction and architecture services to accommodate strategic planning, construction management, due diligence, and general contracting worldwide. SBI’s central principles lie in flexible and innovative design, which has yielded the Maison Franco Japonaise building in Tokyo. The building was awarded the Tetsuo the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et de Lettre from the French government. 

Yoshio Satoh, the president of SBI, is a registered architect and a general contractor. He honed his design and construction skills working as an architect at the San Francisco firm of ANSHEN & ALLEN and as Director of Construction Administration at WHISLER-PATRI. Satoh also fulfilled his role as the Director of Design and Marketing at TAKENAKA INTERNATIONAL. During his 50 year career span, Satoh has focused on project management, and coordination of general contractors, consulting engineers, municipal authorities, and financial institutions. 

Under Satoh’s direction, SBI has completed many design-build projects, including the Long Beach Gateway Center. This ground up retail project features a structural, silicone glazing storefront with Low-E glass, LED light fixtures, high-efficient HVAC system, cool roof, and drought tolerant landscaping.

Author

  • 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