Success can be measured: BEHF Architects celebrates 1,000,000 built square metres of retail space

(Vienna, 10 March 2020)The Viennese architecture firm BEHF Architects has successfully delivered one million square metres of retail space since its foundation in 1995 – roughly the size of 140 soccer fields.

It has all started with an assignment to design the LIBRO branches, which led to the formation of BEHF Architects 25 years ago. Since then 2,193 projects have been successfully completed, including 27 rollouts with over 1,300 branches in 24 countries. This covers an area roughly the size of 140 soccer fields. From boutiques to discount stores, the portfolio includes a wide range of projects for major brands such as A1, MERKUR, BILLA, Manner or Deutsche Bank. Today, BEHF Architects has become one of the few architectural firms in Austria with expertise in handling such large rollouts: from the organisation through the design to the completion, ensuring successful implementation in terms of costs, time and quality.

The role of BEHF Architects has also grown with experience

“We put a great deal of creativity, diligence and commitment into these one million square metres and gained a lot of know-how”, says Armin Ebner, co-founder of BEHF Architects. Simultaneously, the role of architects has changed significantly over the past 25 years. In addition to planning, strategic consulting has become increasingly important. “BEHF Architects ensures the brand’s story and individual product stories are clearly communicated at the point-of-sale and leaves no room for individual interpretation. Consumers usually notice very quickly when a central theme in branches is missing”, explains Ebner. After all, a well thought-out, intelligent and attractive design can significantly increase the length of stay of consumers. “The retail space is like a mobile business card“, points out Ebner.

Visionary strategy requires high-level decision makers

Since retail industry is constantly evolving and there is high competitive pressure, the development of the visionary strategy – ideally – in coordination with the executive board is essential for the development of retail spaces. “Each location has its own requirements, thus making it vital to work with clients to preserve their corporate DNA and make it visible in all locations”, explains Ebner. “To ensure the success of a project, the concept and implementation must be decided at the top level, i.e., directly by the board. When too many intermediate levels are involved in shaping the process, too much is lost. In times of great change in retail industry, decisive steps by agile company leaders are necessary. This is the only way to move away from ‘more of the same’ towards contemporary, intelligent and standalone solutions.”  

Retail means change

A rollout can take four to five years, which is why a feedback after the implementation of the first branch is essential. “Large rollouts require long-term partnerships”, says Ebner. “Once the concept has been decided upon and the first branch is built, we translate these experiences into the upcoming rollout. This is the only way to ensure the project can ideally adapt and grow”. This flexibility has become particularly important in branch design, because only in this way can we create the long-term sustainable competence for the branches.  

About BEHF Architects

Established in 1995, BEHF Architects is an award-winning architectural office based in Vienna that has achieved international acclaim. With about 120 employees, it is one of Austria’s largest and most interdisciplinary architectural offices. Especially in the fields of corporate architecture, hospitality, residential and retail, BEHF Architects has made a name for itself. For their modern and careful refurbishments and revitalisations of listed buildings, the architects have received numerous international awards, such as the German Design Award, the Prix Versailles, and the American Architecture Prize.  

Please find the pictures here: (via WeTransfer)

Photo Credit: © Bruno Klomfar (A1, Deutsche Bank), Andreas Buchberger (BILLA), (Merkur), Markus Kaiser (Portrait BEHF-Partner), BEHF (Animation). (The images may be used free of charge for press purposes).

Use of photographic material – Web: The images may be published on the Web only with 72 dpi, 1920 x 1080 pixels.


Tobias Pechmann
Senior Consultant
ROSAM.GRÜNBERGER | Change Communications GmbH
Führichgasse 8
A-1010 Wien
Tel.: +43 1 90 42 142 220
Mobil: +43 676 88066 220
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