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Top 3 Reasons You Need a Corporate Architect for Early Childhood Education Centers

By Skylyr VanDerveer

Early childhood education has been a booming industry in the United States, with research showing that the market as a whole is expected to grow from $249.38 Billion to $467.83 Billion by 2030. Early childhood education centers play a vital role in the educational journey of children, often being the jumping point from part-time school to full-time education for many US families.

Brands and companies have many ways to tell a story. It could be through social media, marketing materials, or even the company colors and logo. Did you know that there is a role in the A/E/C Industry that holds the responsibility of telling a story for a company through its branding? Welcome to the world of Corporate Architecture.

What Is a Corporate Architect? 

A Corporate Architect is responsible for using architectural design to build physical spaces that promote a company’s image, mission and vision. Partnering with companies large and small, corporate architects make sure their brand image and story are consistent across locations, no matter the physical distance.

To learn more about this specialty, I spoke to Justin A. Mihalik, AIA, NCARB, Colliers Engineering & Design’s National Market Lead for Early Childhood Education based out of our Woodcliff Lake, NJ and Tampa, FL offices. He has worked alongside many early childhood education companies to elevate their design to build the perfect learning environment.

Reason 1: Keep Your Brand Image Consistent Across Locations

As an early childhood development center corporate architect with over 25 years of experience, Justin shared the most important reason to bring someone like him on a team – brand consistency.

“As corporate architects, we have a vital responsibility to protect the brand on projects with multiple locations,” Justin said. “We are the ones responsible for executing the consistency of the brand’s story, mission, vision and values throughout the physical space.”

Corporate architects are responsible for working with the client to develop the initial building prototype to reflect the brand of each specific company. When these prototypes are designed, specific materials, colors, and fixtures are selected that best execute the brand’s story and values. This chosen design is used when “rolling out” or expanding the company’s presence across new and existing builds.

“For example, a client wants to project a homey atmosphere in their design, as the corporate architect, I would design an exterior with residential features, a specific window style, flooring, cabinetry and colors to bring that story to life,” Justin said.

Reason 2: Flexibility in Design Across States and Municipalities

When you are expanding your physical footprint, issues may arise between the prototype design and local ordinances. Luckily, an experienced corporate architect should be able to navigate the challenges of the local rules with ease.

Justin explained. “With every new location, there are different design elements that come into play. We work around those challenges to develop something both within the scope of the brand and able to meet regulatory requirements.”

Corporate architects also design buildings within a brand to best suit the environmental aesthetics, including the natural elements and common building features.

Reason 3: Balances Budget with Aesthetics

Justin shared that an experienced corporate architect works with clients and companies in balancing the story the brand wants to showcase with a client’s budget.

“Our clients are trusting us with protecting the story throughout the design process and that does include budget,” said Justin.

The corporate architects are the ones responsible for selecting all the finishes and fixtures that will complete the story of the design. With plenty of experience and industry knowledge, Justin is able to rework some of the finishing touches on a building for cost effectiveness while keeping the brand elements.

“The most expensive material on the market doesn’t make it the best material for a client,” said Justin. “Corporate architects have experience working with a vast variety of products that with our skillset, can look luxurious in the right setting while keeping the project within budget.”

We Can Help!

Colliers Engineering & Design’s team of architects and designers work closely with our clients throughout the design process. We offer a full range of services from preliminary planning and feasibility studies through final design and construction inspection for both full build-out, renovations and adaptive reuse projects.

Ready to work together? Contact Justin at

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