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The Best Office Architects in Tampa

14 Min Read

Forbes recently ranked the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area as the 8th fastest growing metropolitan area. Tampa Bay is part of a rising urban renaissance and will be a center for economic growth for the foreseeable future. As an increasing number of companies move their corporate headquarters to the area and new startups pop up, the demand for architects to create unique office environments is absolutely huge. Tampa’s office architectural culture is most strongly rooted in Postmodern and Art Deco, both of which are reflected in the construction of many office spaces. However, whether creating more traditional decor and layouts for law firms or hip and quirky shared spaces for tech companies, the best office architects in Tampa are setting the standard for innovative and beautiful office spaces.


One Tampa City Center, 201 N Franklin St. Suite #1800, Tampa, FL 33602

HOK—formerly Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum—is a giant of the commercial architecture world. It focuses intently on the Tampa Bay area and has truly left its mark. Its Tampa office has been part of HOK’s network since 1984. Since then, it has been feted as Firm of the Year by the IIDA’s South Florida Chapter and named “Best Large Company to Work for in Florida” by Florida Trend Magazine.

The firm, led by Principal Architects Roger Soto and Thomas Beyer, HOK Tampa has been part of creating many of the landmarks in Tampa. These include leading the massive renovation and expansion of the main passenger terminal at Tampa International Airport; the Raymond James Stadium, home of the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers; and Tropicana Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays.

Spanning 250,000 square feet, the office pictured here was completed for a confidential client: a three-story building that was designed with future growth in mind. Its interior design features a park-like gathering space and natural light for all, as well as an open floor plan. Inside it has alternative work areas, collaboration spaces, and staff amenities. Its clean, white interiors are complemented by inviting wood detailing as well as baffled ceilings and wrapped walls.

Cooper Johnson Smith

102 South 12th Street, Tampa, FL 33602

Founded in 1986, Cooper Johnson Smith Architects is an award-winning design firm that has extensive experience designing office spaces for the community of Tampa Bay and St. Pete. The group has also worked with high-profile clients, including Disney, Marriott Vacation Club International, and the Ritz-Carlton Club. The agency is located in the Channel District of Tampa, overlooking the Ybor Channel. The firm is led by architects Don Cooper and Stephen Smith, both experienced architects and green professionals along with junior partner David Peterson, and Geoff Locksmith and Bruce Gibson. CSJ has won numerous awards, including the 2015 Addison Mizner Award, the 2013 National Association of Homebuilders for “One-of-a-Kind Custom Home,” the 2012 Aurora Award for Commercial Retail Project, the 2012 Addison Miser Medal for Excellence in Classical and Traditional Architecture, the 2012 Planning Commission Community Design Award of Merit for Public Projects, and the 2003 AIA Florida Design Award of Excellence. The firm’s designs modern building technologies and meets the demands of contemporary lifestyles. Aside from its corporate work, it has also taken on several civic, resort, custom residential, multi-family, mixed-use, religious, educational, urban design, and town planning projects.

Cooper Johnson Smith is the architectural firm of record for the new Spectrum Productions offices at 108 S 12th Street in Tampa. Spectrum Productions, Inc. is an award-winning video production firm creating nationally broadcasted television shows and commercials and is responsible for over 800 episodes of original programming, including television series and specials for clients like the Science Channel, Destination America, Animal Planet, ABC, BBC, Nat Geo WILD, the Travel Channel, and The Weather Channel. They’ve also earned five Emmy Awards along the way. While looking for a new office space, CJS and Spectrum were drawn to the history and character of the 1920’s vintage office and warehouse buildings in downtown Tampa’s Channel District. Their new 8,200-square-foot facility includes all the amenities a company like Spectrum needs: state-of-the-art video and audio edit suites, an administrative suite, offices, a film studio, a conference room, and a living room-like collaborative work area. To maintain the history of the space, the existing concrete column and slab structure was exposed and left unfinished, while brand new services and major building components were installed to keep the offices up to modern-day standards.

Cuhaci & Peterson

1925 Prospect Avenue, Orlando, FL 32814

Established in nearby Orlando, Cuhaci and Peterson has done extensive work in the Tampa Bay and St. Pete area. It has worked on a variety of office spaces, from visualization to construction documents and interior design. It has been in business since 1978 and specializes in retail, commercial, and restaurant projects. The firm is composed of a diverse group of planners, architects, engineers, designers who together have worked on numerous innovative and viable solutions. The firm has expanded its operations and also has offices in Philadelphia and Boston and has professionals registered in 49 states. The firm offers a full range of services and is also noted for its excellent clientele list filled with several recognizable names.

Cuhaci & Peterson, established in nearby Orlando, Florida, has done extensive work in the Tampa Bay/St. Pete area. They’ve worked on a variety of office spaces, from visualization to construction documents and interior design. Senior member of the C&P executive team and Principal Director Jed Down, AIA, is also on the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) and recently joined an American Institute of Architects (AIA) committee for the 2017 national conference. Additionally, he is a newly appointed board member at the University of Florida City Lab program in Central Florida. Michael Lynch, another leading principal, is a member of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). Norberto Campos, AIA, is also also a principal director at C&P. He is member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), received a Master of Architecture from the National University in Argentina, and is a member of the Argentina Architects Association.

Gresham, Smith and Partners

302 Knights Run Avenue, Suite 900, Tampa, FL 33602

Gresham and Smith Architects has been in business since 1967 and is the brainchild of Batey Gresham and Flem Smith. Since then, the firm has grown to hold offices across the country. However, it recognized the corporate growth in Tampa and St. Pete and opened a local branch on Harbour Island. It has been honored as the Firm of the Year and received the People’s Choice Award and an Honor Award by the AIA Tampa Bay chapter. Its work on the Tampa International Airport Main Terminal Modernization project recently won “Airport Project of the Year” award in the Commercial Airport category from the Southeast Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives. The Tampa office is led by Jeffrey W. Kuhnhenn. He has worked on high-profile projects for Nissan North America, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. He leads the firm’s group of talented designers and professionals and oversees its day-to-day operations with the use of a highly hands-on approach.

Gresham, Smith and Partners worked to build the corporate headquarters for BayCare Health Systems at 2985 Drew Street in Clearwater. BayCare Health Systems is a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area, comprised of a network of not-for-profit hospitals, outpatient facilities, and services including lab, imaging, behavioral health, and home healthcare, with nearly 20,000 employees. With their new corporate offices in Clearwater’s Historic Bayview neighborhood, the client needed a space that could accommodate training for all BayCare Health System employees. GS&P worked to design two three-story office buildings totaling 150k square feet each. Unique features of the offices include a round 6,500-square-foot dining hall that provides a connection between the office buildings and doubles as a special event venue, and a 50k-square-foot training facility that serves as the main site for medical-personnel training.

HKS Architects

100 North Tampa Street, Suite 2450, Tampa, Florida 33602

HKS Architects is an international firm, with over 25 locations worldwide. It employs over a thousand people and has designed projects like the AT&T Stadium– home of the Dallas Cowboys—and Atlantis Paradise Island in The Bahamas. Its Tampa office is located in downtown Tampa, right across from the iconic MacDill Park on the Riverwalk. The Tampa associate principal is Jon Paul Bacariza, who oversees the localized office as its team creates works across the state of Florida, developing and building projects in Fort Myers, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Its impressive clientele has included the CNL Financial Group, the Palm Beach Land Trust, Disney, St. Joseph’s Hospital, and the University of South Florida. But while it has worked all over the state, the firm has left an indelible mark on the commercial architecture of Tampa, too. Potential clients may expect a full range of architectural services in addition to excellent design and delivery methods. The firm also has its own team of award-winning interior designers and also takes the extra mile in assisting with brand development.

HKS led the construction of the new offices for the law firm of Wicker, Smith, O’Hara, McCoy & Ford. The firm has extremely high-profile clients, including American Airlines, Pepsi, McDonald’s, GEICO, GE, Allianz and Walgreens. When it came to Wicker, Smith, O’Hara, McCoy & Ford, HKS worked to design the firm an office that would match their prestige. The worked to transform a more traditional office into one with a more modern aesthetic, including an open floor plan and flexible meeting areas. The 19k-square-foot office space features a reduced carbon footprint through the re-use and recycling of construction material, sustainable finish materials, an employee lounge and retreat spaces, a fully-customized mail center, and a flexible 3-room conference center. For their work, the project was awarded the Golden Brick Award from the Orlando Downtown Development Board.

Other notable projects include the St. Petersburg Tropicana Field Site Master Plan and the expansion and renovation of the Gulf Coast Medical Center.

Mesh Architecture LLC

33 6th Street S, Suite 400, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Mesh Architecture is composed of a design team of over 50 which also includes architects and other professionals. It extends its services throughout the Tampa Bay and the St. Petersburg area. The firm is led by principal architect Tim Clemmons, who has won a series of awards, including a 2009 Tampa Bay American Institute of Architects (AIA) Merit Award, two 2008 Tampa Bay AIA Honor Awards, a 2004 Tampa Bay AIA President’s Award, as well as a 2001 Tampa Bay AIA Merit Award for the firm’s work at the St. Petersburg Arts Center. Clemmons is joined by Jenny Miers, who holds a master’s degree from the Architecture University of South Florida and a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from the University of Florida. She has held the title of Associate Director for the AIA Tampa Bay Board and received USF SACD’s “Emerging Architect Award” in 2011. Aside from its residential work, the firm has also worked on numerous commercial and institutional projects. It specializes in a wide array of architectural designs and services and is skilled in interior design and renovations.

Mesh Architecture worked with Aurora, one of the U.K.’s leading lighting manufacturers, to help develop and build their 11k-square-foot American corporate headquarters in Clearwater, Florida. Reflecting their products, the office had to be bright, and the design was to be fresh, open, professional, and dynamic, with the opportunity to highlight the company’s product throughout. Mesh designed, built, and installed a custom “A.L.E.X.” (Aurora Lighting Experience) showroom, integrating Aurora’s broad line of lighting and technology items. The Clearwater showroom, conference room, kitchen, and restrooms are shaped by contrasting pod-like forms and glowing blue and white lines. Mesh also developed the 1,300-square foot offices for the Rob Bowen Design Studio in St. Petersburg, Florida. They worked on the the interior of the street-level retail space within Parkshore Plaza, converting the offices into three major “functional zones”: studio, conference, and library.

The Lunz Group

58 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, FL 33801

The Lunz Group is an extremely important member of the architectural community in Tampa Bay and St. Pete. It was the recipient of the 2011 and 2005 AIA Tampa Bay Firm of the Year Awards, as well as the 2009 Merit Award for Architecture from the Tampa Bay Chapter of the AIA. Its leadership is composed of Bradley Lunz and Edward Lunz. The firm has grown since its inception and has opened offices in areas like Celebration, Florida. The firm has also expanded in terms of skill and services and through a partnership with WMB-ROI, and it has been able to work on projects from the aeronautical, entertainment, and multi-family and affordable housing industry markets. The firm’s staff is made up of not only architects but also designers, technical personnel, a contractor, and several green building professionals, rendering its projects energy-efficient and highly sustainable.

The Lunz Group led the way for the development for the Polk County Sports Marketing Headquarters for Central Florida Tourism. The space is an 18,500-square-foot facility designed to expand to 100k square feet over the course of four phases of development. Phase one, which includes the tourism and sports marketing offices for the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame, has been completed. The facility has been designed for dignitaries, elected officials, and Fortune 500 executives to give seminars, provide outings, and utilize the space for promotional activities. Studio Aquatics in Lakeland is a 12,500 square-foot mixed-use facility within Lakeland’s Community Redevelopment area. Designed by The Lunz Group, the urban infill project houses the studio’s offices on the second floor. Inspired by the area’s Art Deco beginning, the contemporary structure will serve as an iconic entry point for the neighborhood. Sustainability elements of the building were created with a focus on water conservation and reuse.

Twelfth Street Studio

101 S. 12th Street, Tampa, FL 33602

Twelfth Street Studio was formed as a collaboration between longtime colleagues and previous firm principals Rick Penza and Brandon Hicks. Centered in downtown Tampa, the online magazine 83 Degrees called Twelfth Street Studio one of the coolest offices in Tampa and St. Pete — an example of the “slew of progressive, out-of-the-box workspaces emerging throughout the region.” The residential architecture firm is led by Rick Penza, who has won the 2002 Eduardo Garcia Award and the 2004 Planning Commission Community Design Award of Excellence. He has worked with famous celebrity architect Nate Berkus from TLC’s Nate and Jeremiah By Design. Penza’s work has also been featured in Florida Architect Magazine and Florida Designers Review Magazine. Brandon Hicks, on the other hand, has been awarded the USF School of Architecture and Community Design Service Award 2013, the 2012 Eduardo Garcia Award, and the Andrew Ferendino Endowment Scholarship in 2000, and he is an adjunct professor at the USF School of Architecture and Design. The firm’s process emphasizes the importance of taking into account site factors, cultural and economic environments, programming, and of course budget constraints. This makes its process highly personalized.

SPARK is an award-winning branding, social media, and advertising agency. They have a long list of clients, including Visit Florida, Experience Kissimmee, Visit Tampa Bay, presidential candidate Gary Johnson, BayCare Health Systems, Coppertail Brewing, and The Dali Museum. Together with Twelfth Street Studio, they created what the Tampa Bay Business Journal named one of the Coolest Office Spaces in the city. After picking an auto parts store from 1969 on Platt Street near Howard Avenue in Tampa’s Hyde Park neighborhood, Twelfth Street Studio helped them turn it into their permanent offices. Holding 32 employees, the 7k-square-foot high profile, modern office for the boutique, South the Tampa-based advertising agency created by Twelfth Street Studio utilizes a back patio for outside creativity and a studio for photography and sound mixing. The offices also maintain a rotating art display, where visitors regularly buy pieces, allowing the space to stay fresh and new.

Wannemacher Jensen Architects

180 Mirror Lake Drive N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Founded nearly three ago, Wannemacher Jensen is a booming architecture firm in the downtown neighborhood of St. Petersburg. Winner of the 2008 AIA Tampa Bay Firm of the Year, the firm is led by Lisa Wannemacher, Everald Colas, Harold Somarriba, Erin McGonegle, and Jason Jensen. Jensen has had the honor of being named among the Florida Business Observers’ “40 Under 40” luminaries and Tampa Bay Illustrated’s “20 Under 40.” The firm has won AIA Tampa Bay’s H. Dean Rowe, FAIA Award for Design Excellence on multiple occasions, and its work on the Largo Community Center was deemed LEED Platinum Certification. The firm is an expert in the design-build approach through its in-house design-build company, WJCreate, and is noted for its excellence in development and interior design services.

Wannemacher Jensen Architects has worked on a variety of office spaces across Florida. The firm won the 2013 Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Coolest Office Spaces Award for their work on the C1 Bank Corporate Headquarters after helping the bank move from Lakewood Ranch to the Tampa Bay Times Building in downtown St. Petersburg. Other work includes the 45k-square-foot Tech Data Office Building completing its existing campus in Largo, the 41k-square foot UPC Insurance Building in St. Petersburg, Duke Energy’s St Petersburg Corporate Offices, the 49k-square-foot St Pete College Student Success Center and Admin Offices, Law Offices for Johnson Pope and Goodis Thompson & Miller, Foundation for a Healthy St Petersburg’s Admin Offices and Center for Health Equity, and municipal office projects for St Petersburg, Madeira Beach, Treasure Island, and many more. Through its in-house design-build firm, WJA has recently developed, designed, and built a new 6 story mixed-use office building on Mirror Lake in downtown St Petersburg that will serve as the new corporate offices for the WJ team and many other Tampa Bay companies.