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The Best Commercial Architects in Washington DC

15 Min Read

Historic structures abound in Washington, DC. Many of these structures have been conserved and refurbished for the benefit of future generations. Architects in the metro area are primarily concerned with restoration, sustainability, and imaginative landscape improvements. The city’s height is regulated, as initially mandated by regulations inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s goal of making DC the “American Paris.”

Because DC is such a large city, many of the companies on this list are global. All of them, however, have left their mark on the city with their designs and have worked for some of the most discerning clients.

Bonstra | Haresign Architects

1728 Fourteenth Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009

Bonstra | Haresign Architects is driven by the notion that design improves places and inspires individuals. The firm is devoted to the power of architecture to enhance and renew the physical environment and the world’s economic and social conditions. Founded in 2000 in the center of Washington, DC, by William J. Bonstra and David Haresign, it is a firm of 30 highly trained and creative architects and designers, problem solvers who thrive on finding unique solutions to the issues of cities and neighborhoods.

The firm runs in a collaborative studio environment, with each team member contributing to all parts of the project concept, development, and implementation. The team values and encourages open discourse of architectural ideas and customer solutions. Its team works on many projects, from residential renovations and adaptive reuse to large-scale, commercial, and mixed-use complexes.

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects

3307 M Street NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20007

Beyer Blinder Belle was built on the notion that architecture should empower people by moving and functioning within their environment. The founding partner was John H. Beyer, and his first partner to join was Frederick A. Bland. Beyer received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Harvard University; Bland received both from Yale. The firm has offices in both New York City and Washington, DC.

Surface Magazine, Contract Magazine, Interior Design Magazine, Architect Magazine, and Time Magazine are among the publications that have covered the firm’s work. Henri Bendel, Hermes, Rockefeller Center, Cartier, The Limited, and Holly Hunt Ltd are among its previous clientele. The firm has also been honored with AIA, Washington Building Congress, Docomomo US, Society of American Registered Architects, and Historic House Trust awards.

David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc.

1707 L Street NW, #400, Washington, DC 20036

DMSAS (David M. Schwarz Architects) is a design-oriented practice that views architecture as a service and an art form. The basic principle of the firm’s work is the creation of sustainable, humanistic places in public management. For more than 30 years, the firm has investigated and expanded this idea via its urban planning and design initiatives.

DMSAS was founded in 1976 in Washington, D.C., where its only design studio is now located. The business presently has a 40-person architectural staff, and that includes seven LEED-accredited specialists. Throughout its decades in the business, the firm has gained extensive experience on various project types, including civic, institutional, cultural, commercial, residential, educational, sports, healthcare, and planning projects. DMSAS is devoted to developing one-of-a-kind solutions for each of its projects, which it feels adds considerable value to the process and, ultimately, to its clients.

Multiple publications have featured the firm’s projects, including PaperCity Magazine, Panama City News-Herald, Notre Dame News, Archinect, Fort Worth Business Press, Architect Magazine, The Washington Post, and ABC News.

KGD Architecture

1101 15th Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005

KGD Architecture is an award-winning full-service design firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. and supported by offices worldwide. The firm’s projects include affordable housing, corporate and commercial offices, hospitality, mixed-use, multi-family residential, educational, institutional, science & technology, and sustainable design. The firm has received accolades for design excellence and environmental stewardship for its work addressing the pressing needs of its communities.

KGD Architecture brings diverse perspectives to complex projects, creating spaces that articulate the client’s values, history, brand, and culture. It is led by co-presidents Christopher Lee Gordon and Manoj Dalaya and principal Tsutomu Ben Kishimoto. Some of its works have been featured on the pages of The Business Journals, Patch, Real Estate Weekly, Tysons Reporter, Building Design + Construction, and Bisnow.

Hickok Cole

301 N Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

Hickok Cole has built over 60 million square feet of commercial and residential space since its inception. Michael Hickok, the firm’s founder and senior principal, is well-known for his skills in the business sector. He has worked with various local district approval bodies, including the Historic Preservation Review Board, the Office of Planning, and the Commission of Fine Arts. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Architecture and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University. Yolanda Cole is the other senior principal; in 2003 she merged her firm with Hickok Cole. Her expertise in high-rise building design may be seen in her work on the high-profile Chifley Tower in Sydney, Australia. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Ohio State University and her Master of Architecture from Columbia University.

Hickok Cole holds affiliations with the American Institute of Architects DC, the District of Columbia Building Industry Association, and the National Association for Industrial and Office Parks. The firm’s work has also been featured by The Business Journals, Bisnow, Architectural Record, The Architect’s Newspaper, The Washington Post, Architect Magazine, ENR, and Richmond BizSense.

CORE architecture + design

1010 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 405, Washington, DC 20007

For over 30 years, this Washington-based, award-winning architectural design firm has been providing its clients with outstanding design service and providing enormous value to their operations. CORE architecture + design thrives on complicated design projects under the direction of Principals Dale Stewart, Allison Cooke, and David Cheney. Committed to being relentless explorers, the firm takes an adventurous perspective on all its initiatives, viewing each as a tremendous opportunity to create something unique, distinctive, and truly transformational. CORE has expanded its portfolio of diverse projects, including mixed-use developments, public buildings, large-scale office and residential developments, chef-driven restaurants, and hotel public spaces, throughout the Washington metropolitan area and across the United States, as a result of these successful collaborations.

Among the many awards the firm has received throughout its years in the business are the 2022 Award for Special Merit and 2022 AIA|DC Chapter Design Award in Architecture for The Silva, as well as the 2022 Silver Award in Restaurant, Casual Dining, and a Lighting Award for its work on The Point DC.

Sorg Architects

918 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

Sorg Architects is a full-service architecture firm based in DC providing commercial and residential architecture. It was founded by renowned architect Suman Sorg, FAIA, and has won over 60 architectural awards from the American Institute of Architects and other national associations.

Sorg’s extensive portfolio includes designing modern designs for complex commercial spaces, civic and educational projects, and multi-family and mixed-use housing in the Washington DC metro area and over 50 countries abroad. Sorg has been featured in numerous national publications including Architectural Record, Metropolis Magazine, and the Washington Post. It has also been listed among the top 50 architecture firms in the U.S. by Architect Magazine for its commitment to sustainable design.

Shalom Baranes Associates Architects

1010 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20007

The statistics of DC-based Shalom Baranes Associates are impressive. Since its launching 36 years ago, the firm has created projects totaling over $7B and 30M square feet. Shalom Baranes Associates has won 140 design accolades, including honors from the AIA, the DC Preservation League, the Washington Building Congress, the Design-Build Institute of America, and the Mayor’s Award.

Shalom Baranes is the firm’s founding principal. His expertise in rejuvenating the urban landscape has made him a local authority and Shalom Baranes Associates a force in historic preservation and urban planning. Baranes received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Architecture degrees from Yale University, making him one of the youngest architects ever accepted into the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows. He also served as chairman of the DC Architectural Review Panel.

GTM Architects

7735 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 700, Bethesda, MD 20814

GTM Architects is a full-service design company specializing in commercial and residential architecture with offices in Bethesda and Washington, DC. Its commercial studio has executed many projects, including shops, restaurants, public transportation, and recreational facilities. The firm is organized into collaborative studios led by professionals in specific respective fields.

GTM Architects’ president and founder is George T. Myers. He graduated from the University of Maryland and then earned a Master’s in Architecture. Rick Conrath, the Commercial Studio’s principal, earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Houston and a Master of Science in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University. GTM Architects has been featured by The Business Journals, The Washington Post, Washingtonian, GlobeSt, Commercial Observer, Arlington Magazine, Patch, The Seattle Times, and Bethesda Magazine.

Quinn Evans

2121 Ward Place NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20037

Starting as a two-person studio, Quinn Evans Architects has grown to boast 22 principals with offices in four major cities. To meet the demands of its clients, the firm’s complete services include the renovation and restoration of existing structures and sites, as well as the design of expansions and new constructions. Aside from full architectural services, the firm provides a comprehensive portfolio that combines context-sensitive and innovative techniques with sustainable solutions.

Diane Cho, a principal who employs this integrated strategy, recently received a Baltimore Heritage Award for her project Open Works, a two-story warehouse that houses manufacturing, artists, and entrepreneurs. Cornell University awarded her a Bachelor of Architecture degree. Anath Ranon, another principal, blends her expertise in historic preservation with a love of adaptive reuse. Her bachelor’s degree in architecture came from UC Berkeley; her master’s degree came from Harvard University.

McKissack & McKissack

901 K Street NW, 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20001

McKissack & McKissack is a national architectural, engineering, and construction services company with a stellar reputation for providing outcomes on time-sensitive, complicated, high-profile projects for government and private sector clients. With approximately 150 people, the firm is broad and diversified enough to have the full spectrum of technical capabilities to handle its clients’ projects while being small enough to give each project the attention it deserves.

The company has been managing $15 billion in construction under the leadership of president and CEO Deryl McKissack. McKissack & McKissack has supervised significant projects such as the Museum of African-American History and Culture on the National Mall, the MGM National Harbor Casino, and the Navy Pier Centennial Projects in Chicago. It also acted as the architectural practice of record for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.

Travis Price Architects

2805 Chesterfield Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

Travis Price Architects is an award-winning, worldwide recognized practice specializing in environmentally and culturally advanced residential, commercial, and institutional buildings. The company, based in DC, develops architecture informed by environment, mythology, and technology, bringing the essence of place back into modern design.

The firm’s work seeks an overarching subject that expresses its clients’ spirit of place in the twenty-first century. Each design represents a genuine modernist space inspired by cultural history and nature. These concepts are expressed in a modern vernacular that reflects the specific physical geographies of each location as well as the critical mythological foundations of each client. Some of the firm’s works have been featured by renowned publications like Indianapolis Monthly, Designboom, The Portland Press Herald, Forest Hills Connection, Financial Times, The Washington Post, and Curbed DC.

DCS Design

8614 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 800, Tysons, VA 22182

DCS Design bills itself as one of the largest locally owned architectural and interior design companies in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Interior Design Magazine named it one of the Top 50 “Rising 100 Giants” in 2017. The firm provides various services and has extensive commercial expertise.

Douglas Carter, a founding principal of DCS, has over 40 years of expertise creating projects for Fortune 500 businesses, educational institutions, and commercial clients. DCS received over 90 accolades during his tenure as CEO. The Walter Taylor American Institute of Architects (AIA) and AASA Awards, as well as the National Energy Conservation/Owens-Corning National Award, are among them. In 1998, Carter earned the Northern Virginia AIA Award of Honor. The company is also dedicated to sustainability and hosts a yearly sustainability summit in DC.

KUBE Architecture

818 18th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006

Kube Architecture specializes in modern designs and is best renowned for emphasizing the importance of light, color, texture, and materiality in their work. The firm accepts the challenges of daily life and is committed to creating solutions for spaces that cater to working and living in the built environment. The company uses only the best materials and up-to-date industry procedures. It comprises a talented group of experts who provide a diverse set of experiences and talents.

The company is a green advocate and goes above and beyond to help the cause. It incorporates green components whenever possible, ensuring that its projects are energy efficient and sustainable. Aside from its commercial projects, KUBE has also worked on several restaurants, residential designs of all scales, urban designs, educational facilities, religious buildings, community centers, and office tenant fit-outs.

The M Group

12353m Sunrise Valley Drive, Reston, VA 20191

The M Group was founded in 1987 as a full-service commercial architecture practice to develop exceptional facilities that are efficient, imaginative, buildable, and economical. It has put together a portfolio of unique initiatives for developers, corporations, and institutions during the last two decades. Despite this, its clientele understands that it provides more than just design perfection.

The M Group offers peace of mind from working with seasoned professionals in an open collaboration environment and prompt communication. Its detail-oriented personnel includes architects, interior designers, and interior architects, allowing the team to coordinate practically every aspect of a commercial building or interiors project.

Partners Karen Lewis, Mike Timcheck, David Belgin, and Rob Cole lead the firm. Under their supervision, The M Group’s staff is licensed in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and California.


  • Shahe Demirdjian

    Shahe is an Editor at DC Architects 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 DC Architects, 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