Tucson is a rising name in the retail industry in Western United States. The city has a strong selection of retail spaces from strip malls to full-scale shopping districts, granting businesses a variety of options in retail presentation.
The physical space is as crucial as the product when it comes to the retail industry, and thus architectural services are an important consideration. This list features the city’s most outstanding retail architects. To come up with this list, our editorial team handpicked the best architectural firms in the area. The firms were selected based on a set of criteria that measures work history, professional capabilities, and overall quality of work of each firm.
Carhuff + Cueva Architects LLC
3149 E Prince Rd., Ste. #151, Tucson, AZ 85716
Established by Philip Carhuff in 1993, Carhuff + Cueva Architects is a locally-renowned architectural design firm offering hands-on and personalized design works in Tucson neighborhoods. Carhuff went to Cornell University to acquire his Architecture degree. He later developed his craft by designing educational, commercial, and residential fields. 13 years later, Mark Cueva joined the company leadership along with Carhuff. Cueva has over 15 years of industry experience and has an Architecture degree from the University of Arizona. Over the years the firm has built a number of major commercial projects often on demanding schedules and under tight budget constraints.
The firm’s long list of clients includes retail spaces for international car manufacturers Volkswagen, Ford, and Nissan. The Holmes Tuttle Ford Dealership facility is a one-of-a-kind retail building that includes a showroom, merchandise store, and a cafe.
Eglin + Bresler Architects
7391 East Tanque Verde Road, Tucson, AZ 85715
Eglin + Bresler Architects is an award-winning veteran firm serving Tucson. The firm has established a firm reputation for its innovative and responsive look in the architectural scene. Eglin + Bresler has been praised by local organizations and design bodies for its design work, winning NKBA 2nd Place Powder Room, SAHBA Custom Builder of the Year Award, and Historic Society Heritage Award. Evan Eglin and Tatyana Bresler lead a team of architects, consultants, and industry professionals in giving the best possible work to its loyal client base.
The Chicago Music Store, as listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is one of the most important destinations in Downtown Tucson. Initially constructed in 1903, the firm completely restored the boutique’s space, structure, and the overall atmosphere of the legendary boutique.
6418 E Tanque Verde Rd. Ste. #102, Tucson, AZ 85715
George Lance, an Arizona native and a veteran architect, founded L2 Architects in 1988 years after working on award-winning projects for renowned firms. Lance’s L2 Architects is a full-service architectural firm that has served Tucson for over three decades. As an Arizona native, the firm has a grounded perspective when it comes to the local housing market. The L2 team knows its way around the state’s neighborhoods and districts.
That local insight allows the firm to create medical offices, business offices, retail, financial institutions, restaurants, and even salons. The firm has worked with the department store brand Marshalls and the clothing brand Forever 21. The Forever 21 Red in Mariposa Mall is a 20,000 square-foot retail space designed to stand out from the crowded shopping district. The design revolves around the brand’s desire to announce a strong presence.
22 E Ventura St., Tucson, AZ 85705
Award-winning Onyx Creative is a multidisciplinary firm offering architecture, engineering, and interior design services across the US with offices in Ohio, Arizona, California, and Georgia. This massive scale testifies to the firm’s strong following and reputation. The Onyx leadership consists of company president Mike Crislip, CFO Carole Sanderson, and Tucson Director of Architecture, David Garcia. Crislip and Sanderson lead the Ohio-based Herschman Architects for over 25 years before rebranding it to what is now Onyx Creative. The firm recently won an AZRE RED (Arizona Commercial Real Estate & Development) award for their GEICO project in Tucson.
The firm’s highly structured and organized operations catapulted the firm into prominence. Onyx’s array of projects stretches in various markets and industries. On retail projects, the firm has worked with any number of big industry names including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Best Buy, and Fabletics. The firm also designed the team shop for the Cleveland Cavaliers at their home arena. Working with national brands and developers has resulted in project experience in all 50 states.
Rob Paulus Architects
990 E 17th St., Ste. #100, Tucson, AZ 85719
With a mission to create sustainable and inspiring environments for everybody, Rob Paulus Architects is an award-winning firm serving the Tucson area. The firm has worked on multiple building types from housing to retail spaces. The namesake and president of the firm, Rob Paulus, is a product of the University of Arizona. Paulus established the firm in 1995, leveraging on the market’s need for cost-effective and environmentally-conscious designs.
As seen in the pages of Architect Magazine, Remodeling Magazine, and Tucson Lifestyle Home & Garden, the firm’s works are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. The Rob Paulus team has a strong track record of designing top-caliber retail buildings all over Arizona and beyond. One of the firm’s retail projects that stand out is the 20 East Congress that repurposed the 19th Century Annex Building. The firm utilized steel and glass to give the building a modern flair and a welcoming atmosphere in the ground floor retail space. This project won the AIA Southern Arizona Distinguished Building Citation Award.
100 N Stone Ave., Ste. #1102, Tucson, AZ 85701
SBBL Architecture is a full-service architecture and planning firm known for its long history in the local architectural scene. The firm’s founder and leader Thomas Sayler-Brown has taken an interest in design and building in his teens. This natural interest led him to take Architecture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Brown espouses a collaborative design philosophy, allowing his firm to have the maximum opportunity to provide the best design.
The firm’s collaborative mindset and synergetic approach to design resulted in major projects in various industries. SBBL has worked on non-profit and cultural spaces, workplaces, residences, and retail boutiques. One of the firm’s top retail clients is Johnny Gibson’s Downtown Market. For two projects, the firm has put a premium design on the beloved local retail brand.
Scott Rumel Architect
10300 E Glenn St., Tucson, AZ 85749
An established architectural firm in Tucson, Scott Rumel Architect is a well-known local firm capable of managing multi-million dollar projects as well as small projects. The firm has a tight relationship with the local community in Tucson, as evinced by the firm’s large referral network and repeat client rate. Scott Rumel emphasizes the need for attentive, personalized customer service. The firm offers no cost for the initial consultation in order to give the clients a thorough look at what the project and the design process would look like.
The firm has completed multiple retail projects from the Valley Telecom’s Retail Office, Calo Fine Jewelry, and Interior Expressions. The Valley Telecom’s Retail Office is a unique retail space because of its use of ergonomic shapes pastel palette.
Seaver Franks Architects
2552 N Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712
Known for providing evocative solutions, diverse designs, and a comprehensive process, Seaver Franks Architects have conducted business across the city of Tucson. Michael Franks, Principal of the firm, is an architectural veteran equipped with problem-solving skills honed over the years. As a result, the firm has won multiple awards including the coveted AIA Honor Award for Design Excellence.
Seaver Franks’s forty years worth of commercial and residential projects are deeply invested in the city’s heritage, architectural history, and natural environment. The firm has completed major shopping and retail projects all over Arizona for international brands such as Home Depot and PetSmart. And they serve local, independent shops as well.