What Is a Retail Architect?

What Is the Role of a Retail Architect?

Retail architects may be focused on the exterior of a retail space, but they often provide expertise in both exterior and interior design. If their emphasis is on exterior design, they may work closely with a retail designer to coordinate the exterior and interior choices and approach.

Generally, the retail architect draws up plans for your design that convey your vision and your brand and incorporate form, function, and the needs of consumers and employees. They then provide close supervision of the construction firms that are building your space and finishing out the interior to ensure both follow the agreed-upon designs.

What Does an Architect Do to Design and Develop a Client’s Retail Spaces?

Practicality Balanced with Vision

A retail architect begins by listening to you to gain a thorough understanding of your business, your consumer, your needs, and your vision. If you know your business and your consumer but don’t exactly have a vision, the retail architect brings their creativity to translate your practical needs into a design aesthetic that addresses those needs in a way that is appealing and effective.

Often, they will help talk you through choices that better define how to translate your vision and goals into a physical space that exceeds your initial concept. Ideally, when you review the designs, you’ll be thrilled at how the architect’s choices and creativity have brought your vision to life.

The retail architect brings their expertise to balance functional needs and aesthetic choices in designing a space that is safe and structurally sound. Their approach ensures your consumer is inspired to return to your store and to spend.

In It for the Long Haul

Retail architects also provide expertise throughout the life cycle of the project, from design to construction and completion. Involving them at the earlier phases can save you time and—surprisingly—money. Part of their job is to anticipate and manage the unique challenges of the retail design and construction, and anticipating and budgeting for needed approaches is generally much less expensive than addressing unexpected problems at the last minute.

They also understand what’s involved before construction can begin, such as needed permits and hiring of contractors. That insight can get your project started sooner and much more efficiently.

From Vision to Reality

Once you’ve approved the design, a retail architect brings their creativity, experience, and expertise to make your design a reality, doing everything needed to make the retail space ready for you and your consumer. Along the way, they’ll manage the paper flow, the execution, and any unexpected challenges in a way that delivers your project on time and within budget.