"Nanophotonics" uses the local interaction between nanometric particles via optical near-fields to bring "qualitative innovation" to the field of optical technology. Optical near-field interactions respond hierarchically at the nanometer scale, allowing unique nanophotonic functions. We defined two kinds of hierarchical optical near-field interactions: those between optical far- and near-fields, and those in the optical near-field only. We demonstrated these hierarchical effects numerically and experimentally using several prototype "nanophotonic architectures." The first, a "hierarchical hologram," operated in both the far- and near-fields with few adverse effects. We also demonstrated hierarchical effects in the optical near-field by core-shell metal nanostructures. Hierarchical nanoscale architectures could allow single optical devices to perform multiple functions. The practical realization of such devices could have a major impact, for example, in the field of optical security.