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The Most Popular Commercial Building Styles

February 18, 2020

With so much going on in Austin construction, knowing about commercial building styles could earn you MVP status among your colleagues. This knowledge won’t just give your team a leg up at trivia night; it will also come in handy when your business is ready to build a new space. 

Whether you run a juice bar or design software, the place where you greet customers and clients says a lot about your company. Here are the most popular commercial building styles, and the messages they send about your business.

Main Street

Main Street architecture reflects a style that began in the 19th century as cities in the western United States were establishing their communities. This style was dubbed Main Street after the central location for commercial buildings. 

The style usually consists of two or three stories. The main level is the storefront, housing a retail, restaurant, or office space. This level has inset doors and large windows. The upper floors may consist of offices or residences. A symmetrical pattern of windows creates a vertical rhythm to the facade.

If you choose to locate your business in a Main Street-style building, your space will benefit from its downtown neighborhood charm. This style is especially suited for cafes, bookstores, and businesses with close ties to the local community.

Art Deco / Art Moderne

When a building makes you think of The Great Gatsby, you’re probably looking at an Art Deco / Art Moderne structure. Swooping curves contrast with sharp angles in these glamorous styles. Materials for buildings include steel, reinforced concrete, and stucco to create a streamlined effect. 

Art Deco / Art Moderne is a highly ornamental style. Decorative elements might include friezes or carvings on the facades. Polished metal, tile, and glass are also used to create stylized motifs on buildings. Banding is frequently used to highlight the focal direction for the building. If the bands are vertical, it is Art Deco; if they are horizontal, it is Art Moderne. 

Whatever the direction, the eye is drawn to these styles. An Art Deco / Art Moderne building will get plenty of attention. Providing both glamour and vintage appeal, this style is perfect for boutiques, stylists, and media companies.


A building that seems to be more windows than walls was designed with a Modern style. With a focus on creating spaciousness through open floor plans, walls are limited or removed in favor of natural flow and light. A subdued palette and clean line design keep the space in a Modern style building peaceful.

Though decoration is limited in Modern-style buildings, they are not austere. Instead, the drama is created by bringing together contrasting building materials like steel, wood, tile, and glass. These buildings may have an asymmetrical shape to further highlight their design.  

The innovative design of a Modern-style commercial building brings an air of cool to its residents. A tech company, gallery, or showroom could benefit from a Modern-style structure.  


Imagine yourself relaxing by the pool at a luxurious resort. Do the buildings that you think of have orange tile roofs? Are you thinking of white stucco exteriors? Perhaps you see an arcade of rounded arches dripping with vines? If so, you are picturing the Mediterranean style.

Commercial buildings in the Mediterranean style may be single or multi-story. Upper levels may have elaborate balconies or loggias. Mediterranean styles often have decorative iron work as part of the facade, sometimes as a window box or gate. Tile or stone pavers and pergolas may be a part of the lush landscaping for this style.

A strong connection to luxury living gives Mediterranean-style commercial buildings a sense of escape. This style makes an ideal environment for a day spa, wine bar, or travel agency.  


Sustainable-style commercial buildings use their design to increase energy efficiency for the structure. Building materials may be recycled or from low-impact sources, and solar panels or wind power may be part of their energy strategy. 

Green space adds vibrancy to the building’s exterior and interior elements. To accentuate the structure’s environmental focus, a Sustainable design may integrate hanging gardens, trees, and native plants in the landscaping. 

Commercial buildings using Sustainable design display companies’ intention to be eco-conscious. This style may work well for businesses that promote outdoor recreation and natural lifestyles.

Now that you have a primer on popular commercial building styles, you are ready to find the right fit for your unique needs. Perhaps one style stands out to you already, or perhaps you want a hybrid design combining elements from multiple styles. 

Whatever styles you love, Paradisa is ready to partner with your company to design and build a commercial property that reflects your mission. Contact us to start planning your Austin construction project today!