Another Brick in the Wall

An even balance of structure and creativity is integral in architectural design.

Contrary to Pink Floyd’s sentiment that “It’s just another brick in the wall,” when it comes to commercial architecture, every single brick matters. A commercial building, whether configured for an office, retail, educational or healthcare use, is a public space, making the structural integrity a vital element in design.

To guarantee the health, safety, and welfare of those who inhabit commercial buildings, professional architects must follow a comprehensive set of building and zoning codes which regulate the type of materials needed for a specific structural design. Architects must balance these code requirements with the intended architectural design. To do so, architects typically start with conceptual ideas of how the building will accommodate the Owner’s and the end user’s needs, the project budget, and their impact on how it will be built. How do we creatively design for the occupant’s use of the space?

When beginning a new project, our design team first researches the site capabilities. What are the size and shape limitations? Does the project need to be contextually appropriate, or is it a singular development? From there, we consider the purpose of the space. Will the space hold one business, or will there be multiple tenants? Will the project require single or multiple stories? What type of interior and exterior materials will be used? These criteria all impact the structural design of the building.

The use of the space also defines the structure. The number of occupants, furniture, equipment, and technology needs to be considered. Some uses allow for more or fewer occupants, light or heavy loads, and whether fire protection is required for the structure. Together, these requirements inform the type of structural system best suited for the design.

At Simon Oswald Architects, our team uses a process of creative collaboration and research-driven structural planning to build informed designs. Check out our portfolio of commercial work, or contact us at or 573.443.1407 to see how our process will work for your next commercial project.

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