Tulsa’s dynamic economic growth can be attributed to both emerging and established companies that continue to diversify and propel its markets. The aviation, telecommunications, finance, and technology industries dominate the city’s commercial landscapes. Helping developers, business owners, and investors secure their place in this dynamic metropolis are the best commercial architects in Tulsa.
The firms featured in this article are the best in the field, as proven through the awards, press features, and affiliations that they’ve secured. These companies are also advocates of green design and sustainability, details that are incorporated into their work.
KKT Architects, Inc.
2200 S Utica Place, Suite #200, Tulsa, OK 74114
KKT Architects was tasked with the architecture, interior design, structural engineering, and construction work for Tulsa’s Oasis Fresh Market. This comprehensive approach was integral in the development and construction of the 16,250-square-foot retail complex. Strategically located near a transit stop and nearby communities, the center’s goal is not only to provide a place for grocery shopping. It will also offer community development services, including cooking classes and healthy living sessions.
The company’s extensive practice has been helping private and public clients from a diverse range of markets for decades. Since its inception in 1989, KKT has produced designs worthy of highlight in renowned industry papers, including the Design Cost Data Magazine, Oklahoma Magazine, Tulsa People Magazine, and Healthcare Business. Accolades for many of its projects also showcase the firm’s quality of work. In recent years, the firm was a recipient of the commercial architecture community’s sought-after Best in Corporate Commercial Awards 2020 and the Oklahoma Interior Design Awards 2020. Leading this multi-awarded practice is principal architect, president, and CEO, Sarah Gould.
Selser Schaefer Architects
2002 East 6th Street, Tulsa, OK 74104
Selser Schaefer Architects partnered with Ai3 to complete the design and development work for an iconic Chick-fil-A location it was inspired by the founder’s first restaurant, also known as the Dwarf House. The clients wanted a commercial space that highlighted the prototype’s signature design elements inside and out. Custom finishes, furniture, and graphics emphasized the brand’s unique identity. The restaurant’s interiors provide a new experience for customers, through an efficient layout, modern comforts, and pedestrian-friendly traffic flow.
Since the firm launched its services in 1993, it has worked with renowned brands and leading developers from different markets. Its diverse portfolio highlights projects featured in regional and national publications, including the Retail Environments Magazine, Oklahoma Magazine, and American School & University Magazine. Several AIA Honor Awards and Merit Awards for Design Excellence in recent years cemented the firm’s reputation as a top architect in the field. Four partners lead this highly commended practice: Hank Spieker, AIA, Nathan Koob, AIA, LEED AP, Shane Aaron, and Whitney Stauffer.
8801 S Yale Avenue, Suite #100, Tulsa OK 74137
JCJ ARCHITECTURE led the architecture efforts for Choctaw Wellness Center, a 44,500-square-foot project completed in 2018. The state-of-the-art structure was designed to house modern fitness facilities and equipment. The scope included sports and fitness areas for running, walking, and other wellness activities. Spaces for yoga and dancing and a full-size basketball gym volleyball court were accommodated in the design. The building’s overall design highlights a curvilinear, standing seam roofing. The interiors feature a sculptural, diagonal wood framing accent that represents a significant cultural symbol.
The firm’s portfolio features designs of the same architectural complexity and wonder. Architect Magazine, Floor Focus Magazine, and Engineering News-Record have all published the firm’s work. Behind this success is president and LEED-Accredited Professional Peter N. Stevens.
SGA Design Group
1437 S Boulder Avenue, Suite #550, Tulsa, OK 74119
Since SGA Design Group’s establishment in 1995, the firm has partnered with national and international companies to deliver modern architectures and designs to their clients’ most specific needs. President and CEO Christopher Goble, AIA, LEED AP, has guided the firm for decades.
Kohl’s has relied on the company for years. The partnership started in 2004 when the retail company commissioned the firm to take on several Florida projects. Later on, SGA took on additional Kohl’s commissions in other states. The firm was also tasked with the incorporation of sustainable elements into the design when the client decided to pursue green practices. This led to Kohl’s first-ever LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.
MATRIX Architects Engineers Planners, Inc.
Two West Second, Suite #99, Tulsa, OK 74103
MATRIX Architects Engineers Planners completed the Cox Business Convention Center Modernization in Tulsa. The structure, originally designed by Edward Durrell Stone in the sixties, has been reimagined for the City of Tulsa of today, it can accommodate national meetings, trade shows, live events, and galas. The CBCC is designed with natural light and free flow of movement in mind, it has an open floor glass entry that stands three floors in height, and further into the building is the Grand Hall has 41,470 square feet of undivided, carpeted event space, the largest in the state, with a state of the art kitchen built beneath it to serve guests.
Since the company’s founding in 1984, it has worked with some of the biggest national firms from a variety of industries. Leading its comprehensive practice is president Cecil E. Ricks (AIA). Ricks’s guiding principles have helped the firm establish its strong presence in the industry. Some of the firm’s projects have been featured in Oklahoma Magazine.
1634 S Boston Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74119
Freese Architecture is an award-winning firm recognized statewide for providing superior custom architecture and design solutions that are both modern yet suited to the Midwest. The firm is based in Tulsa and works throughout the state and beyond, with projects in Texas, Missouri, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
An example of the firm’s commercial architecture is ZANMAI, a modern Japanese restaurant on the second floor of this two-story retail development of the same name. The design concept is based on the theory of Yin and Yang from Taoist philosophy of the harmony and balance achieved with opposing forces. Expansive glass is set against massive walls; white and black colors play against each other; heavily textured charred cedar offsets smooth and sleek surfaces throughout.
Brian L. Freese leads his studio’s everyday practice. The firm has received considerable attention from the press including Oklahoma Magazine, Western Art & Architecture Magazine, World of Homes, and Design Bureau. Freese Architecture was founded in 1994.
GH2 Architects, LLC
320 S Boston Avenue, Suite #100, Tulsa, OK 74103
GH2 Architects, LLC launched its architecture practice over 47 years ago. Since then, the firm has produced designs that helped shape the landscapes of many of the region’s markets. In completing projects for mid-range and high-value clients, the firm makes use of the latest in design technologies to deliver architecture, facility assessment, interior design, and cost estimation services. Four architects lead the firm’s operations: Cara Shimkus Hall (FAIA,) Michael R. Hall (AIA), Chris Seat (AIA), and Steve Jaggers (AIA).
As a commercial architect, the firm has worked closely with major developers and clients in the field. Some of these projects include Pr1me Health for Men, Denture and Dental Services, and other clinics, as well as retail structures that serve Tulsa and Oklahoma’s major urban centers. These projects have been recognized by the design community through various accolades, including the Iron Gate, Honor Award in Architecture for Small Commercial, the Holland Hall Tandy Dining and Wellness Center, Merit Award, and the Hotel Indigo, Merit Award in Interior Architecture. These awards were given in 2020.
203 N Main Street, Suite #213, Tulsa, OK 74103
Lilly Architects is an architecture and design firm known for contributing to the region’s preservation of historic buildings. Chris Lilly leads the firm’s design work, a locally owned and operated practice that has been recognized with award-winning projects since founded in 2013.
One of the projects representing its historic preservation portfolio is the work for the Lone Wolf Banh Mi. To create a new home for Lone Wolf—a French-Vietnamese fusion food truck that gained popularity in 2012—the firm turned to Archer Building, a historic structure in Tulsa Arts District. The firm employed the adaptive reuse delivery method and carefully considered the building’s original architectural context. The building’s exterior highlights the original brick wall siding, while its interiors emphasize minimalist, unique modern-industrial elements. The firm introduced subtle yet immersive interiors and exteriors that translated the client’s brand and how their customers experience their products.
W Design, LLC
608 E 3rd Street, Tulsa, OK 74120
W Design, LLC was tasked with the architecture and design work for a 32,000-square-foot commercial complex in South Tulsa. The Tuscana on Yale project is a retail and business center that provides commercial spaces to a wide range of brands and services. The structure was designed to cater to the emerging market brought about by the surrounding communities’ growth. Architecturally, the center features the bold and thick walls, as well as Tuscan brickwork of Italianate architecture. Large awnings and signature stonework provide a classic and sophisticated appeal, especially that it stays faithful to its design inspiration through wrought iron details and wood elements.
The firm is also responsible for designing some of the local and regional commercial landmarks in the region. Founder, principal, and AIA member Weldon Bowman’s over ten years of design practice has produced similar high-value architecture for the residential sector.
1319 E 6th Street, Tulsa, OK 74120
1Architecture LLC was the head architect for the tenant finish out of a 50,000-square-foot commercial building. The remodeling project is one of the company’s most high-value works in that it was for the region’s world-class ballet company. The Tulsa Ballet project included the design of a brand new black box theater to accommodate a bigger audience. Other parts of the work also included workspaces, studio and classroom spaces, and a new entry. The overall work also involved the conversion of the building’s HVAC systems to geothermal.
The featured project here showcases the firm’s experience in modern architecture and energy-efficient designs. Aside from its membership with the AIA, the firm is also an active affiliate of the US Green Building Council. This comprehensive scope—implemented since its founding in 2005—can be attributed to the firm’s principal architect, the LEED-Accredited Shelby Navarro.
2303 E Admiral Boulevard, Tulsa, OK 74110
Method Group led the architectural efforts to provide a modern, fresh approach in designing one of the region’s prime medical and healthcare facilities. For Florence Park Pediatrics team and client Dr. Elizabeth Dunlap, the firm delivered a transformative healthcare center where “community and patient education are the heart of the practice.” One of the most important parts of the process was picking the color palette. Since the center will be catering to children’s health, the firm chose bold colors and playful geometric patterns. Enhancing this atmosphere is ample lighting and generous access to daylight through an open ceiling structure, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, and signature cloud-like felt baffles for its ceiling system.
Since the firm first opened its doors in 2018, it has partnered with clients from a wide variety of markets to deliver a portfolio recognized by the AIA. The firm was also interviewed and featured by ARCHITECT Magazine for its remote-working capabilities. Cofounders and principals architect Josh Kunkel and designer Beth Kunkel guide the firm’s everyday operations.
Davis Tower, 1924 S Utica Avenue, Suite #1216, Tulsa, OK 74104
McFarland Architects features a portfolio of projects composed of repeat businesses and referrals. Many of its clients have worked with the firm for years, including Arvest Bank. The financial institution has relied on the firm to design its multiple locations across the region. The firm’s familiarity with the client’s brand identity as well as its approach to various markets has helped it conceptualize spaces that address the specific demands of the location and the surrounding architectural context. The resulting projects are modern spaces that embrace the traditional, and signature exterior details that shape the brand’s public image.
The firm’s ability to deliver this complex, highly detailed work can be attributed to the extensive background of its founder and principal, Connie McFarland, an AIA Fellow. The firm has been serving a wide range of markets since its inception in 1988. Tulsa World is just one of the major publications that have highlighted the company’s work in recent years.
SILO Design Build
1010 East 2nd Street, Tulsa, OK 74120
SILO Design Build partnered with Z3 Interiors to complete architectural remodeling work for the Lowood Restaurant and Bar. The Tulsa landmark is known for its wood-fired dishes and a rich menu inspired by the region’s intersecting culinary traditions and cultures. What best represents this identity is an interior transformation that puts emphasis on the charm of old-world craftsmanship via a warm material palette. From the exposed stained wood beams and braces, brick wood tapestry, to steel metalwork, the charming atmosphere takes patrons back in time.
Shaping the firm’s creative direction are principal and partner architects Gabe Palacios and Brian Henley. Palacios and Henley’s decade of design practice has produced a portfolio repeatedly recognized by the design community. Tulsa World recently celebrated its work via a magazine feature.
Rick Stuber Architecture Inc.
2642 East 21st Street, Tulsa, OK 74114
Rick Stuber Architecture was the architect chosen for Nothing’s Left Brewing Co’s Tulsa location. The client has been in the business since 2015, catering to Oklahoma’s beer-loving patrons through a wide variety of traditional and new ingredients that produce unique craft beers. After taking the time to get to know this brand’s identity, the firm conceptualized a space that embodies the client’s adventurous nature and creativity by introducing contemporary architecture’s mix of materials and palettes. The interiors are clean and minimalist with operable windows and upward sliding glass doors that literally connect indoor and outdoor seating. Inside you’ll find industrial-modern details of exposed beams and brick walls, sculptural light fixtures, and custom details like old wood barrels and wood elements.
Since the firm’s inception in 2010, it has delivered commercial projects of the same thoughtful designs. Leading its everyday practice is principal Rick Stuber. Stuber’s extensive portfolio includes designs for a wide range of markets, including architectural designs of commercial and restaurant buildings, residences, and bars.
King Architectural Solutions
108 N Greenwood Avenue, Tulsa, OK 74120
King Architectural Solutions was commissioned to lead the architectural design for a commercial complex in Tulsa. The Shoppes on Peoria is a modern retail center that provides a blank canvas of interiors and exteriors for tenants who want to have a distinct space representing their brand. On the exterior of the building, a neutral palette permits the building to blend in with its surrounding environmental context. Its interiors are open-space and can be customized to adhere to the structural and design requirements of tenants. Floor-to-ceiling black-paneled glass walls connect the indoor and outdoor spaces. Extended canopies provide exterior seating for accommodating more customers.
The featured project is one of the many modern and contemporary buildings that dominate the firm’s portfolio. Under the leadership of principal architect Matt King, the AIA-affiliated firm takes on mid-range and high-value design projects for a wide spectrum of clients, including the restaurant, retail, healthcare, corporate, and residential sectors.