13 Architect glasses styles

Architect glasses

Creating concepts to constructing cantilevers…

Life as an architect is one of patience and persistence.

It's an endless pursuit, to sculpt one's design-practice with the same reverence as the building being made.

Resultantly, the quintessential architect is intelligent, observant and always bespectacled.

Close view of Swiss architect Le Corbusier wearing thick black spectacles

Why do architects wear glasses?

Architects regularly continue working beyond retirement age, therefore many require the use of glasses to see and perform the visual tasks of their practice.

Poring over drawings. Peering up at constructions. Fettling with scale models. All of which require varying degrees of close, intermediate and distance vision.

Stereotypically, and perhaps intentionally, architect glasses frames are often large and geometrical.

Most commonly? Round.

As if to exemplify their vocation, their choice of eyewear seemingly imparts their own kind of facial architecture.

See below for our top picks.


12 best architect glasses styles 

Le Corbusier at his writing desk

Charles-Eduoard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier) wearing his trademark round-eye spectacles | Image Source


Charles-Eduoard Jeanneret

Arguably the originator of the round architect glasses style, Charles successfully branded himself through his adornment of thick round glasses frames.

Famously, he became known as Le Corbusier and to this day is renowned for his revolutionary influence over what is now considered, modern architecture.

His radical design approach and enduring influence is matched only by his timeless choice of austere black spectacles.


A rare colour photo portait of the architect known as Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier wearing his trademark round and thick glasses frame. Image source


Get the Le Corbusier glasses look

These thick round glasses are stark with a strong utilitarian aesthetic.

If you were to wear something similar, they'd undoubtedly be a strong focal point in your appearance.

Round black architect glasses frame

Black round Le Corbusier glasses on top of printed photographs

Close view of architect Philip Johnson wearing his thick round glasses

Philip Johnson

Ok, so you've seen an abundance of round black glasses frames.

But this article would be incomplete without the mention of Philip Johnson and his extremely pronounced round spectacle frame.

Comparably radical and as stark as his most famous building "The Glass House" the purism of his glasses reflects his distilled design principles.


The Glass House by Phillip Johnson

Philip Jonhson's iconic "Glasses House" in Connecticut. Image source: Reddit


Between the above and below images, there is an echo of similarity between his glasses frame and his famous Glass House.

Most notably, his glasses have bold straight temples with no curvature for his ears.

For obvious reasons, this style of temple is also known as a paddle temple which take resemblance to the lateral steel beams seen in his most famous building above.

A somewhat abstract comparison, but Johnson's glasses are clearly as bold and as brave as the work he is so well known for.

Side view of Phillip Johnson wearing black architect glasses frame

During the 1940's Johnson's design approach embodied the emerging modernist architectural style.

The Glass House was an aesthetically austere building which arguably translates into his sense of dress and that oh so bold spectacle frame.

Don't you just love them?

Phillip Johnson sitting in front of a white architectural model


"Don't build a glass house if you're worried about saving money on heating." Philip Johnson. 


Phillip Johnson wearing round black acetate glasses

That round glasses style

As glasses designers and makers, we enjoy the unashamed statement of Philip Johnsons frame.

So much so, we made an entire Pinterest board dedicated to his incredible choice of eyewear.

Oh, and we also made these round black spectacles just like his.

Round black architect glasses frame

Architect Peter Cook wearing blue architect glasses frame

Sir Peter Cook

Knighted by the Queen in 2007, Sir Peter Cook is an English architect and one of the founding members of the architectural group Archigram.

With his work at Archigram, Cook became known for his highly conceptual and hugely debated "Plug-in City."

Considering the outlandish and revolutionary nature of some his most famous projects, built and un-built, Cook is a highly acclaimed architect after an illustrious international career.

Peter Cook wearing round blue glasses frame

 True to the round architect glasses style, Cook bravely adorns a pair of blue acetate spectacles.

This colour seems loud but due to the neutrality of his grey hair and pale complexion, he suits the vibrancy of this eccentric glasses frame perfectly.

Peter Cook wearing blue architect glasses frame giving a speech

Peter Cook wearing his round blue architect glasses

Round blue glasses?

You might consider wearing this colour of acetate if you're looking for something a little more adventurous.

A pair of colourful glasses frames are an excellent choice if you have an outgoing personality and often wear neutral clothing.

  • alternative
  • free-thinking
  • creative
  • quirky
  • unique


Architect Neri Oxman wears oval black glasses frame

Architect Neri Oman wears a subtle cat-eye glasses frame.


Neri Oxman

American-Israeli architect Neri Oxman has a varied background of design and biology.

In conjunction with researchers from MIT, her recent and most progressive project focuses on the 3D printing of renewable polymers sourced from ocean plastic.

Aptly, her oval glasses frame is also made from a bio-plastic called cellulose acetate. Just like our frames, this type of bio-plastic is biodegradable as it's made from cotton pulp.

Side view of architect Neri Oxman wearing black roll neck jumper

Oval glasses?

The oval shape of Neri's glasses frame is slightly cat-eyed, made from a high-shine black acetate.

This style of frame is gentle and suits people with narrow facial features. If you have pronounced cheekbones and jawline, this style of frame would suit you very well.

  • Unisex
  • Adaptable
  • Can be worn casually and formally
  • Assertive
  • Neutral in black
  • Minimal
Round dark transparent grey eyeglasses frame


Black and white image of Architect Jane Drew wearing 1960's style thick black glasses

Jane Drew

The renowned English town planner and architect, Jane Drew regularly wore her thick dark glasses frame.

Seen above, her frame's style is notably austere.

This frame-choice was an intentionally austere aesthetic to steel herself in her pursuit of the mostly male dominated architectural industry of the 1930's.

She was a brave and progressive woman and her glasses very much encompassed her unwavering ambition.

  • Focused
  • Confident
  • Resilient
  • Assured
  • Strong
Thick rimmed black acetate spectacle frame lying folded


Architect Andrea Branzi sitting with his hands clasped

Andrea Branzi

Italian architect and designer, Andrea Branzi is best know for his work during the radical period of Italian architecture between the years 1960 -1970.

Reminiscent of Le Corbusier's frame of choice, Andrea's round glasses style features regularly in his attire.

Seen in the image below, he opts for this shape of frame in various acetate colours and patterns.


Architect Andrea Branzi wearing round speckled glasses frame

Architect Andrea Branzi fondly wears his thick round glasses. Image sourced from: Domaine Chaumont


Andrea's freckled complexion is complimented and harmonised by his spectacle frame.

In this example of architect glasses, the natural appearance of Andrea's speckled frame is a reminder of how timeless tortoise-acetate can really be.

Notice his practical use of his frame strap, presumably for poring over blueprint drawings on his desk.


Designer and architect Andrea Branzi looking out of window


Side view of Architect Andrea Branzi wearing rollneck jumper and black round glasses frame

We particularly like the charming rivet clusters that join Andrea's frame together.

In contemporary eyewear, the use of three-rivets is less common unless it's used for chunky frames with large temples.

However, three rivet hinges are a very strong formation, which permanently fastens the hinges-parts to the temples and frame front.

If you've ever wondered about the names for the parts of your glasses, check out this handy blog.

Architect Andrea Branzi in a hat glasses and scarf

Are round glasses for you?

These classic tortoise glasses frames have enduring appeal and are made from a utterly timeless acetate.

For a studious look these are the glasses for you.

  • timeless
  • traditional
  • warm
  • astute
  • classic

Round burgundy acetate glasses frame lying folded


Architect and lecturer Mabel O Wilson wears cat eye glasses frame

Architect Mabel O.Wilson wears here bold cat-eye glasses frame. Image source: Bard Graducate


Mabel O.Wislon

The resurgence of classic styles of mid-century eyewear has seen the re-popularisation of 1950's spectacles design.

Architect Mabel O.Wilson proudly wears her heavily cat-eyed glasses frame to great affect. This is a bold style with a strong 1950's kitsch aesthetic.


Fan of the 50's frames?

For women, this glasses style is an eternal favourite thanks to it's sweeping, feminine bridge.

Seen above, this type of frame is most adaptable in dark colours such as black or tortoise.

  • stylish
  • pronounced
  • feminine
  • bold


Thick rimmed black acetate spectacle frame lying folded
Side on view of architect Kazuyo Sejima wearing her glasses on top of her head

Kazuyo Sejima

Japanese architect Kazuyo is best known for her playful integration between interior and exterior in her extensive architectural work.

Artfully, Kazuyo's design approach implements contrasting surfaces in her buildings such as metals, glass and marble.

As the second ever women to win the architecturally acclaimed Pritzker Prize in 2010, Kazuyo is a prime example of women in her field.

Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima wearing rectangular pair of glasses

Architect Kazuyo Sejima opts for a rectangular black glasses frame. Image Source


Square black glasses?

In the image above, Kazuyo's choice of glasses is quite stylised.

A boxy black glasses frame like this is a perfect way to balance soft facial features. If you have a round face-shape, these are the architect glasses for you.

  • Assertive
  • Professional
  • Sharp-witted
  • Austere
Slim rectangular black glasses frame


Greyscale image of Piers Taylor wearing black acetate architect glasses

Piers Taylor

Award winning architect Piers Taylor has been recently televised in the BBC series "The worlds most extrordinary homes."

His work heavily focuses on cost-conscious building techniques and processes to explore the possibilities of budget within domestic projects.

His previous hit-programme "The house £100k built" showcases his interest for domestically accessible design and architecture.


Piers Taylor wearing black acetate architect glasses

Taylor often uses quick sketches to convey techniques and building ideas for both the viewer and the project-clients.

His friendly demeanour and creative characteristics marry with his often vibrant attire. In the image above, his choice of thick square black glasses are a dominant feature in his dress.


Thick square glasses?

  • Creative
  • Professional
  • Contemporary
  • Shrewd
  • Intelligent
Large Square Black Glasses


Interior architect Sevil Peach sitting in her studio

Interior architect Sevil Peach wears her large rectangular glasses frame. Image source: FrameWeb.com


Sevil Peach

Originally from Turkey, Sevil Peach studied Interior architecture at Brighton University in England.

Having worked in the UK for several major architectural practices, she formed her own studio SevilPeach Architecture + Design in 1994.

Her work primarily focuses on commercial workspaces where she aims to tap into the culture and potential of the people who work there.

With numerous projects in her portfolio, she's been responsible for two projects with the renowned Swiss design-company Vitra.


Three quarter view of Sevil Peach in her interview with Vitra

Interior architect Sevil Peach wearing her large black rectangular glasses frame: Image source: Vitra


Large black glasses frame?

In the image above, Sevil adorns a large rectangular glasses frame.

Juxtaposing her warm smile and round face, her choice of glasses strikes a good degree of balance against her white-grey hair.

As with most of the architect glasses shown in this article, Sevil's style is understated and unbranded.

  • understated
  • confident
  • executive
  • acute
Large square grey glasses frame


Female architect Denise Scott Brown wearing transparent round glasses frame

Denise Scott Brown

South African architect Denise Scott brown has been described as one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century.

Incongruous to the vastly male-dominated architectural industry of the time, Brown defied the ever-present sexism during her successful architectural career.

Most prominently, she wrote a what-would-be feminist essay titled "Room at the Top?" concerning the male dominance within architecture.


Transparent glasses?

Denise has worn glasses for most of her life however we particularly like this example of her transparent glasses.

  • understated
  • subtle use of colour
  • shows rivet details
  • reserved
  • quiet
Round crystal clear glasses frame lying folded


Oscar Tusquets sitting at a bar having a drink

Oscar Tusquets

Spanish architect Oscar Tusquets is also a graphic and industrial designer.

He was responsible for various projects including development of the 1992 Olympic Games village in Barcelona and the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus in Gran Canaria.

Supplementary to his architectural career, Tusquets is also known for his partnership with Barcelona Design, an industrial design firm that specialises in domestic furniture and home-ware.


As an architect and a multi-disciplinary designer, Tusquets has a charming sense of dress and creative flair.

You don't have to speak Spanish to appreciate his sense of character in the video-interview featured above.

As you'll have noticed, he's opted for yet another round frame-style in tortoise patterned acetate.

Man looking over the top of his glasses wearing a grey suit jacket whilst walking under some trees

Oval tortoise glasses?

Tusquet's glasses frame is entirely circular and is more of an oval shape.

This frame is less stylised than that of Le Corbusier's or Philip Johnsons glasses frames and is much less stark on the face.

A thin and oval pair of glasses are better for you if a full-round ones seems a little too stylised.

  • timeless acetate
  • quirky
  • classic
  • creative


Round tortoise shell spectacle frame
IM Pei wearing tortoise round glasses smiling at camera

Architect Leoh Ming Pei wearing his round tortoise acetate spectacles: Image Source


Leoh Ming Pei

During his extensive (seven decade) career, I. M. Pei designed several high-profile buildings around the world. However, his most celebrated work is arguably the Louvre Pyramid in Paris. Unveiled in 1989, this glass-and-steel pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum and has become an iconic symbol of French culture and modern architecture.

Through the years, Pei's choice of round eyeglasses became his synonymous style. Echoing the primary geometries of his work, his spectacle frames were invariably a round tortoise acetate design, similar to the one sported by Tusquets. However, Pei's glasses are slightly more understated — a nod, perhaps, to his penchant for simple, clean form.

The round shape of his glasses frames softens and balances his features, while the tortoise acetate brings an element of the timeless, a theme reflected in many of his architectural marvels. Overall, Pei's eyeglasses style can be described as quietly confident, tastefully classic, and subtly inventive, much like the man himself.


Hopefully you found this article helpful. Please check out our other eyewear icons. Thanks for stopping by.

Round tortoise shell spectacle frame


Other eyewear icons


Monochrome-image-of-Dieter Rams wearing his thick rimmed glasses