Last updated on May 21st, 2024 at 06:46 am

Situated just east of Phoenix, Tempe is a city surrounded by natural beauty and scenic views. This environmental focus is at the heart of its shopping centers, sporting venues, and restaurants, including the Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe Beach Park, and Tempe Center for the Arts.

Tempe’s best commercial architects provide clients with the tools not only to maintain and improve operations but also to enhance lifestyle. This curated list features the best commercial architects in the area. They are experts in tenant improvements, remodeling, and expansions, and their portfolios speak to their deep experience and exceptional industry recognition.


455 N. Third St., Phoenix, Arizona 85004

Established in 1853, SmithGroup is one of the country’s oldest architectural firms. It was one of the first to offer integrated architecture and engineering services—a strategy that has positioned SmithGroup as an industry leader in developing complex projects, including the Innovation, Discovery, Education, and Arts (IDEA) Biotech Campus in Tempe. The firm created the master plan for this 18-acre project that includes five buildings with restaurant and retail space, two parking structures, and an arts rehearsal and classroom space. Designed by SmithGroup, phase one opened in 2020 with a six-story, 180,000 square foot office building, a 1,270 stall parking garage, and interior design for the medical device company, BD. The integrated project team was able to provide a highly customized tenant experience that seamlessly flows to connect to the outdoors and the lakefront location.

Photo by Matt Winquist, courtesy of SmithGroup.

RSP Architects

502 S. College Ave., # 203, Tempe, AZ 85281

The Westin Tempe is a shining gem that represents the RSP Architects team’s deep talent. The project will create not only a hotel but a business and leisure hub and a community center for locals. In addition, customers will enjoy amenities that include a ballroom, banquet center, and board rooms. The firm took inspiration from biophilic design principles, desert riparian landscaping, and local architecture to build this establishment, which will feature over 290 guestrooms upon completion. Joe Tyndall and Dave Norback are the principals overseeing the production of each project, and under their leadership, the company has earned a reputation for satisfying notable clients such as Whole Foods, Bayshore, and the Element Bar and Lounge. This company has also received a variety of industry recognition, including the 2019 NEWH Best Hotel Project and the 2020 AIA Arizona Design Award, and has been featured in publications such as STORES and AZRE Magazine.

Jones Studio Inc.

205 S. Wilson St., Tempe, AZ 85281

Eddie M. Jones established Jones Studio in 1979, and the firm has since earned a sterling reputation and recognitions such as a 2015 Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence award, a 2016 GSA Design Excellence Program Honor Award in Architecture, and a 2017 AIA Arizona Goodwin award. Both Eddie and his younger brother and business partner Neal were just recently elevated to the AIA College of Fellows for their outstanding contributions to the architectural profession. In addition, Eddie received the prestigious 2018 AIA Arizona’s Architects Medal. The Jones Studio Office, located on a residential site near the Arizona State University campus in Tempe features sustainability strategies for the desert environment, with eco-conscious ventilation, natural lighting, and a rainwater storage tank that holds up to 2,500 gallons. This innovative project, which received the 2017 SRP Crescordia award and the 2018 SRP Sustainable Design award, is just one of the team’s extraordinary builds.

Deutsch Architecture Group

4600 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, AZ, 85018

Founded by Bernie Deutsch, AIA, in 1981, the Deutsch Architecture Group has continued to achieve success across a wide range of commercial projects from corporate buildings and manufacturing facilities to wineries and health clubs. Deutsch has led the company for over four decades, in partnership with David Calcaterra, who joined the company in 2007. The pair have since caught the attention of brands such as AZ Big Media, the Phoenix Business Journal, and ENR. In addition, the company has received awards such as the Synergy Award and Distinguished Building Award from the Society of American Registered Architects. Pictured below is the team’s eye-catching project for Iridium Gateway Central Facility within Arizona State University’s research park. The firm provided tenant improvements as well as interior architecture design, with an eye to offering the facility’s employees a “home away from home” atmosphere, with contemporary designs and comfort-centric amenities.

Cawley Architects

730 N. 52nd St., Suite 203, Phoenix, AZ 85008

Cowley Architects has driven quality for 27 years, with complex projects in an array of sectors, including retail, corporate, mixed-use, education, and healthcare. One such success is the 48,000-square-foot Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine’s Community Commons building, featured here. This building houses state-of-the-art classrooms, a pain-relief center, and a medical library. In addition, the structure includes recreational amenities, an organic cafe, a teaching kitchen, a yoga studio, and a fitness studio. Upon completion, this impressive project received a platinum certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Under the leadership of Sherman Cawley, AIA, Cawley Architects has accumulated numerous other accolades as well — the 2014 LEED Project of the Year and the 2021 Judges Award of Merit, to name a few. The team’s achievements have also caught the eye of publications such as the Phoenix Business Journal and AZ Big Media., which have highlighted the company’s growth, innovative approaches, and exceptional quality.

Associated Architects Inc.

1356 E. McKellips, Suite 101, Mesa, AZ 85203 

Under the leadership of principal Brian Johns, Associated Architects Inc. draws on over six decades of industry success and continues to drive contemporary design. Pictured below is a 2014 project that the team completed for well-known client Dairy Queen. This effort included tenant improvements and modernized floor plan, with significant upgrades from the roofing to the color schemes. As legendary as the brands it supports, this firm offers a full spectrum of services for industrial sites, automotive centers, educational institutions, religious buildings, and healthcare facilities, and the team continues to win accolades year after year for its integrity and quality, including recognition as the 2016 Gilbert Small Business of the Year.

Synectic Design

1111 W. University Dr., Suite 104 Tempe, AZ 85281 

Lance Baker and David Hamblen are the principals leading Synectic Design. Since its inception in 2000, the company has offered its services to sectors ranging from industrial, corporate, and government to healthcare, education, and nonprofit. The company remains a small group of professionals committed to providing focused service on every project, and with Baker or Hamblen personally overseeing production, each current client receives full attention, with a prime emphasis on quality and precision. Pictured below is one of the company’s tenant-improvement projects for Document Technologies, which entailed not only enhancing the space but also relocating existing utility lines underground, repairing and replacing the parking lot, and increasing the landscape area. In addition, the exterior received an updated finish with new elements. The updated building now has a striking, modern appearance that complements its surroundings.

Mittelstaedt Cooper & Associates, Ltd.

4130 E. Van Buren St., Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85008

Mittelstaedt Cooper & Associates has completed a bold range of projects, including the work featured here — a two-building facility for the Rimrock Company, at the Arizona State University Research Park. The purpose of this project was to develop a flexible space designed for both office and industrial use. The inclusion of the second building added functionality to the site, ultimately leading to a more productive work environment. Under the leadership of Jan Mittelstaedt, the team has tackled innovative projects of this nature across Phoenix, with services that are LEED-driven and sustainability-focused. Today, the company continues to expand its 40-year legacy of success and garner outstanding recognition from the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and LEED. 


  • 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