When it comes to designing commercial spaces, architects are confronted by a unique variety of project types that they must tailor their designs toward. From office spaces to retail chains, mixed-use developments to hospitality builds, no two project types are alike in design needs and requirements.

That is why it can often be a struggle to find the right architect for your project. This list compiles twelve of the best commercial architects in Long Beach, California. They were chosen based on their projects, background, experience, and for some, their unique expertise and global reach. 


AO

144 N Orange St., Orange, CA 92866

Leading architecture firm AO provides design for a diverse range of multifamily and commercial projects. AO was founded 50 years ago by Jack Selman and is currently led by managing partners RC Alley, Rob Budetti, Ed Cadavona, Steve Gaffney, Hugh Rose, and Ken Smith. Since Jack’s childhood, he has been nurturing a talent and passion for design that was cemented when a neighborhood friend took him to an exhibit by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

2nd & PCH, client: CenterCal

Since founding AO, Jack has been able to cast the net of his firm’s services widely, encompassing various specialties in architecture, from multifamily to retail, mixed-use to hospitality, and every conceivable industry in between. This variety has afforded AO a reputation for world-class design and incredible versatility, and with every project it takes on, the firm enthusiastically delivers smart design to the best of its ability, resulting in award-winning projects and national recognition.


Brandon Architects

151 Kalmus Dr. Suite G-1, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Ever since Christopher Brandon, American Institute of Architects (AIA), was a child, he already knew that there were creative possibilities to be offered by the unique combination of art and architecture. As he began to build his own practice, Chris took his early love for art and architecture and integrated it with his fascination for the built environment. The result was the creation of his firm, Brandon Architects. The hallmark of the company’s approach is design versatility, which enables it to offer a variety of architectural styles, from traditional to modern. 


An example of this approach is the firm’s work on The Strand Hotel at Dana Point. Unique to this project was the fact that it may have been the last hotel to be developed on open coastal land in California. With this in mind, Brandon Architects worked to create a dramatic architectural design, using floor-to-ceiling glass and soaring roof lines, in order to play up the hotel’s value and unique setting atop Headland Rock. To soften the dramatic appeal of the modern architectural elements, Brandon Architects used locally-sourced materials and built multiple levels of green roofs.


Citron Design Group

1444 E. 4th St., Long Beach, CA 90802

When Kara Rice, CID, founded Citron Design Group, it was with the goal of honoring the architectural history of her community and enriching people’s lives through design. Today, that goal lives on in every project that Citron Design Group takes on, from adaptive reuse and restoration, to building and creating custom furniture and finishes, to complete residential and commercial installations. 


The firm places a big emphasis on serving the community, which is why it has continuously refined its expertise in restoring neglected buildings, and transforming and updating them into spaces that can be of use to the Long Beach community. Citron has left its mark everywhere, from local shops and restaurants, to creative office spaces and unique lifestyle and fitness facilities. It has even provided creative furnishings for multifamily housing projects. This experience allows Kara and her design team to bring out what is unique about the buildings they restore. According to the firm, it manages to find each building’s voice and help it sing.


FoxLin Architects

392 Camino de Estrella, San Clemente, CA 92672

While it is true for all architects that they are also artists, some, such as FoxLin Architects’ co-founders Michael Fox and Juintow Lin, truly elevate architecture into an exceptional practice of art. Under Michael and Juintow’s creative leadership, FoxLin Architects works with what is uniquely known as interactive and kinetic architecture, blending this technology with a bend towards sustainable architecture. 


The firm’s design is a balance of ambitious and solutions-driven, an approach that continues to satisfy clients’ needs with a contextual, artistic and functional integrity. An example of what clients can expect from FoxLin’s work is the Eco-29 Interactive Wedding Hall. Located in Israel, Eco-29 is a physically morphing, spatially adaptable wedding hall and event space. It stands as one of the largest spatially kinetic environments of its kind, with more than 70 computer controlled motors and a quarter mile of fabric. FoxLin’s role was the design and implementation of the interactive portion of the design. Juintow and Michael’s motivation for creating the design lay in mediating between the outside environment and the dynamic spatial layouts that existed sequentially in the context of a wedding ceremony. In effect, the space had to have absolute three-dimensional flexibility, an expectation that Juintow and Michael not only succeeded in meeting, but something they managed to surpass.


Gensler

500 South Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90071

Recognized as one of “The World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Fast Company, Gensler is a global leader in architecture with an incredible service reach that spans more than 120 countries. Its talent includes some 6,300+ people networked across 50 offices. Despite that formidable number, the firm is led by only two of the most sought-after architects in the world: Diane Hoskins Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), NCARB, and Andy Cohen, FAIA. The two partners, who have both been elevated into the prestigious American Institute of Architects College of Fellows, serve as collaborators and key contributors to what is acknowledged, by their peers, as the most admired and largest architecture firm in the world. 


Diane and Andy manage to stay on top by pioneering project types and design innovation strategies good for even the next century. With countless iconic and large-scale projects worldwide, the visionary firm continues to dominate the global architectural scene by directing and spearheading design excellence strategies across Gensler’s diverse practice areas and overseeing global talent strategies, performance, and organizational development to ensure that it serves its clients with the world’s top talent.


Hamilton Architects

12240 Venice Blvd. Suite #25, Los Angeles, CA 90066

From a young age, John Hamilton, AIA, was introduced to the world of architecture through the work of his father, who was a land developer. Coming from a family of architects, builders, designers, and developers, John soon found himself taking up the study of architecture, and at the age of 21, was an architecture student at the University of Southern California. By this time, he had lived in 21 different residences, many built by his father—from houses, condominiums, and townhouses, to apartment complexes—in styles ranging from the modern to the Tudor and Spanish-Colonial.


It was through this early exposure to homes that John’s aesthetic began to take shape. John took a special interest in the psychological impact of homes, especially to the way their use of light, space, mass, and materials made the occupants feel. Today, in his practice with Hamilton Architects, John continues to operate on that central idea. He manages his full-service firm with skills and experience in custom and spec home design, renovation of historical structures and neighborhoods, retail and restaurant projects, and interior design. To John, it is with a sensitivity to both the practical and the majestic aspects of architecture that he hopes to break ground with clients on their next projects.


Interstices Architecture Inc.

1322 Coronado Ave. Suite C, Long Beach, CA 90804 

For Interstices Architecture Inc., preservation is a hallmark of its practice. Whether restoring historic structures, or converting under-used buildings into thriving new icons, Interstices has the expertise for adaptive reuse projects of any scale. At the head of these preservation efforts is principal architect Jonathan Glasgow, AIA. In addition to leading Interstices Architecture, Jonathan has also served in leadership positions within building community organizations, most notable of which were his stints as director of Advocacy, and Preservationist of the Year for Long Beach Heritage. 


The firm has worked to transform many residential and commercial projects which have gone on to win awards, including a National American Institute of Architects Housing Award, an Honor Award from the Long Beach/South Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and Long Beach Heritage Preservation Awards, among others. One example of its work is pictured below. The Kress Lofts was one of the first condominium loft conversions of a historic building in California. It was once the retail and office space of S.H. Kress Department Store and, upon its conversion in 1925, was designated as a Historic Landmark. Today, it stands as a 50-unit loft with features such as exposed brick work and wooden rafters, massive concrete columns, and steel beams.


James V. Coane & Associates

30 North Raymond Ave. Suite #611, Pasadena, CA 91103

For James V. Coane & Associates, specializing in everything from custom residences to historic renovations has given it the ease of expertise in a myriad of styles and structures. The firm has worked on residential and corporate interiors, retail and small commercial building design, all the while refining its execution of architectural styles, including Mid-Century Modern, Historic Tudor, French Revival, and Transitional styles. 
An example of the firm’s work is pictured here. Coane & Associates worked on this studio for the Emmy-award winning Robert Keene and Associates (RKA), the studio behind the stage sets for top entertainment programs such as the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the American Music Awards, and the MTV Music Awards. Coane & Associates employed a geometric proportioning scheme, taking advantage of the spatial richness and indirect sky-lighting of the location on a steeply sloping hillside. The firm also used prefabricated industrial materials and made use of the corners to create dramatic views down the canyons of the Hollywood Hills. The result was a functional yet creative environment that blended the building with the surrounding greenery, but ensured its design would still make it stand out. 


Kollin Altomare Architects

4265 E Conant St. Suite #101, Long Beach, CA 90808

Kollin Altomare Architects has completed more than 400 urban and resort destinations with numerous multi-million dollar projects comprising its portfolio. While the firm has established a growing reputation for hospitality design, it has also made its mark in luxury residential, retail, and mixed-use design. Despite such variety to its name, it can be expected that the firm approaches every project with the same type of drive, accountability, attention to detail, and creativity that has come to be expected from its clients.


Showcased here is an example of the firm’s work in hospitality design. The Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel is a ground-up, $100 million hotel. The 288-room, five-story art deco hotel and conference center was built to redefine regional luxury and convenience by integrating culturally inspired design. The guestrooms offer spectacular views of the San Gabriel Mountains and Los Angeles skyline. Overall, the design of the mixed-use property aligned perfectly with local economic development plans, incorporating 19,000 square feet of meeting space, rooftop pool, world-class restaurants including a signature steakhouse, and street-front retail space.


Synthesis Design + Architecture

724 South Spring St. Suite #1101, Los Angeles, CA 90014

With large-scale projects worldwide and a passion for emerging technologies in architecture, Synthesis Design + Architecture is a multi award-winning and forward-thinking design firm headed by an equally visionary principal, Alvin Huang, AIA. Alvin is an architect, designer, and educator who specializes in the integrated application of material performance, emergent design technologies, and digital fabrication in contemporary architectural practice.


This passion for innovation in design is the firm’s specialty, with Synthesis Design + Architecture creating designs that not only challenge convention through technological, material, and computational innovation, but also enlivens the public imagination. The firm has applied this contemporary style and approach to everything from hi-rise towers and mixed-use developments to temporary pavilions and bespoke furnishings. This approach has resulted, not only in Synthesis Design + Architecture’s national renown, but also its international recognition and selection as one of 50 global innovators under the age of 50 by Images Publishing in 2015. Today, the firm continues to storm the design scene with simultaneously down-to-earth and world-class designs that carry the signature of excellence and innovation that the firm provides.


Withee Malcolm Architects

2251 W 190th St., Torrance, CA 90504

Withee Malcolm Architects is a dynamic 40+ strong design team with comprehensive architectural knowledge, covering everything from obtaining agency approvals to working on a wide range of project typologies. Led by founding partners Dan R. Withee, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, and Dale M. Malcolm, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C, Withee Malcolm Architects believes in engaging not only its clients, but also the full range of stakeholders to ensure that the buildings it creates belong in their neighborhoods and communities.


One example of the firm’s work that fits seamlessly into its neighborhood is the Palos Verdes Historical Society Museum. The facility was built just uphill from the existing interpretive center, and its design reflects the grassy setting of the location. While it has its panoramic views, the facility manages to maintain a low profile so as not to interfere with view corridors from the nearby neighborhoods. Additionally, Withee Malcolm’s innovative design transformed the facility into a net-zero building, employing solar panels and geothermal walls for total energy use reduction. Ultimately, the underground placement of the building resulted in the blurring of lines between building and landscape, ensuring the facility’s harmonious position not only in the environment, but also in the Palos Verdes neighborhood.

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