Speaking to Architecture in Your Brand Statement

Principal Consultant , David Allison Inc.
  • Jan. 17, 2011

Danish architect Bjarke Ingels recently popped up on a JWT Intelligence’s 100 Things to Watch in 2011, and it got me thinking: With the right market and the right site your architecture becomes much more than the building design of your project. It can be your brand statement.

The look and the story behind the structure of your building, or buildings, can ultimately be the foundation for all of your brand tools and brand messaging – website, logo, brochure, etc., etc. It can be just as effective, if not more so, than the usual community and neighbourhood story that we often find ourselves leaning toward.

Here in Vancouver, I was fortunate enough to recently work with a client where we did exactly that.

Updated, revamped and polished, Vancouver’s historical Sun Tower has been redesigned for creative professionals and rebranded as more than just commercial office space.

The Beaux-Arts building’s bold architecture, especially the nine semi-clad maidens with exposed bare breasts that support the building’s cornice, caused quite a stir amongst many Vancouverites when it was first commissioned by L.D. Taylor in 1912. And at 17 storeys, it was the talk of the town as the tallest building in the British Empire and all of Canada until Toronto’s Optima Business Centre was built in 1914. So it only seemed natural to draw on the Sun Tower’s rich past and distinct look, especially its “copper” dome, to create a brand.

We launched with a very consumer-oriented logo and brand for the tower, and a website that is very different from the approach normally taken by the commercial leasing industry. The logo is simply an image of the tower’s iconic dome. And that’s all it needed to be to resonate with potential clients. The logo, the story of the building, gallery images of the space, an explanation of the amenities within the building – all were carefully developed to relate back to the building’s distinct architecture and heritage.

Beyond your name and reputation as developer or even the location of your project, architecture can be a huge part of what attracts end-users, whether it’s a commercial, industrial or residential space. So think about how you can bring it to the forefront of a brand.

Sometimes buildings need to be rethought. Cast your net wider when it comes to architecture and architectural branding and you might be pleasantly surprised by what you get back.



David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

Read more

David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

Read more




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