Commercial architecture is the design of buildings and structures for use by business. This genre of architecture is focused on combining function with style to meet the needs of a wide range of business types. The impact of commercial architecture can be seen in any major city center, where almost all the buildings are commercial. Architecture is the designing and building of structures designed to provide protection from the elements. The simplest structural requirements are easily satisfied by building a shelter, but an architect's job is to combine good design elements into a building that meets both current and future needs.
The field of commercial architecture has been in place since the very beginning of architecture, and some of those structures are still available today. Roman and Greek architecture included the building of elaborate structures, complete with courtyards and meeting rooms. Today, most architects work in commercial architecture. There are four stages to projects: obtain client requirements, determine site location, create design proposal and submit project plan and costing.
The first part of the process is to meet with the client and define his needs. The more specific and detailed the requirements, the more accurate the proposal can be. Ask to meet with people at different levels of the organization to understand how they conduct business, the practical requirements and the company's public image. Look at the corporate image, publications and marketing materials provided by the firm to get a sense of its design tastes and preferences.
Work with the client to either visit the proposed site location or discuss the space requirements for the type of building required. Look at the other buildings in the area to get a sense of local style, height, physical presence and use of color. For example, a building designed for a location with a large number of office towers will be very different from one designed for a park-like setting.
Create the concept drawings and designs for the client to review. Focus on the exterior of the building, main floor and office work spaces. Many commercial architecture firms employ model makers to create a scale model of the design. This process helps the client to visualize the final product.
Once the conceptual design has been approved, the technical and costing aspect of commercial architecture begins. Prepare detailed project plans, time lines, costs and decision points. This project plan forms the basis of the quotation and must be approved by the client before any work can begin.