Dubbed as the gateway to wine paradise, Napa offers a wide range of wines, food, and activities. Many flock to Napa to visit its wineries or enjoy its river walks. This unique environment of peaceful retreat and lively urban nightlife appeals to many kinds of people and promises a satisfying visit.
Commercial architects are needed to cater to the city’s ever growing hospitality and tourism industry demands. Hence, we’ve created a list of the ten most outstanding commercial architects in the area. These experienced firms have been in the industry for many years, with firms ranging from ten years of experience to fifty. These are experts in designing for hospitality, retail, winery, and restaurant establishments. Their vast range of services also encompass the healthcare, residential, and agricultural industries.
520 Third St. #250, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Established in 1965, TLCD Architecture is a five-decade-old firm that always strives to find the big idea. The firm does this with a mix of creativity, collaboration, and attention to the smallest of details. Its large body of high-quality work has made the firm an award winner for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Redwood Empire Chapter Honor Award for several times already. The firm has also been the subject of honors in publications such as North Bay Business Journal and Business Wire.
TLCD Architecture’s dedication and passion are seen in its architecture, master planning, interior design, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) services. Running for 56 years, it has served different sectors including hospitality, bank, and retail. One of its biggest projects in Napa is the Carneros Resort and Spa. Surrounded by vineyards, the firm has masterfully designed a relaxing retreat in the heart of the Carneros wine region. With a $40 million budget, the resort spa features elegantly built structures with a refined rustic appeal.
Owner Don Tomasi leads the firm in producing one-of-a-kind ideas that serve the clients and environment well. As design principal, Tomasi has earned many accreditations and certifications. He is a member of the AIA and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), as well as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional.
1050 Adams St. Suite D, St. Helena, CA 94574
Signum Architecture treats each challenge as an opportunity to create a ground-breaking design. The firm offers a fresh take on each design challenge, regardless of size or budget, and has been recognized with numerous design awards, including awards from the AIA Redwood Empire Design Awards, the HD Hospitality Design Awards, and the Wine Country Design Awards sponsored by CA Home + Design magazine.
Founded in 2011, the firm is celebrating a decade of practice. In its first 10 years, Signum has created an impressive portfolio of work that includes hospitality projects, wineries, and single-family homes. The firm’s dedication to sustainable design is reflected in most of its work and the firm’s partners are responsible for the design of both the first and second LEED Gold certified wineries in California.
Partners Juancarlos Fernandez and Jarrod Denton, along with their small but talented team, are responsible for the firm’s success. Juancarlos is a graduate of the ITESO Jesuit University of Guadalajara, and Jarrod is a LEED AP and one of the earliest certified Passive House consultants in the United States.
One of Signum’s most recently-completed wineries, Aperture Cellars in Healdsburg, opened in 2020 to rave reviews.
Taylor Lombardo Architects
7757 Saint Helena Hwy., Oakville, CA 94562
Taylor Lombardo Architects is a master in winery design. Existing for almost two decades in the industry, the firm has designed over 30 wineries. One of its exceptionally designed wineries is the Cakebread Cellars. Featuring natural wood and red accents, the structure stands out yet blends well with the environment at the same time.
As an architecture, design, and master planning expert, the firm has earned several awards including the 2021 Durable & Adaptable Wood Structures Award. Established in 2004, this award-winning firm has expertise in the restaurant, retail, and hospitality industries. With offices in Napa and San Francisco, the firm’s outstanding designs cover a wide reach, with some even in China. Its reputation is solidified through features in The Architect’s Newspaper and Wines & Vines Magazine.
Co-owners Tom Taylor and Maurice Lombardo lead their team of professionals towards the top of the architecture and design game. Taylor is a University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign alumnus while Lombardo graduated from Pratt Institute.
Backen & Gillam Architects
1421 Main St., St. Helena, CA 94574
Founded in 1996, Backen & Gillam Architects is a multi-awarded firm with offices scattered around the U.S. Serving Napa and the surrounding areas, the firm has offices in Sausalito, St. Helena, and Beverly Hills. In the industry for over two and a half decades, the firm’s expertise is in wineries, hospitality, residences, and retail.
One of the firm’s most impressive winery designs is its work on Paul Hobbs Winery. Located in Sebastopol, the firm designed village-like structures for the family winery. The property exudes an industrial appeal with the use of concrete materials, softened by vines spread across the structure. This wise combination of industrial and natural elements gives the facility a unique look, setting it apart from other wineries.
The firm’s great eye for design has earned it honors in multiple publications including Food & Wine Magazine, Fortune Magazine, and Napa Sonoma. In addition, it has received several awards including the 2008 Top 100 Architects Hospitality Design. The firm’s success is possible under the supervision of founding partners Howard J. Backen, FAIA, and Jim Gillam, AIA. Backen is an award-winner himself, earning the 1992 Award of Excellence by the Urban Land Institute. Gillam’s accomplishments, on the other hand, have been published in national and international publications like Architectura / Madrid.
Craiker & Associates
3154 Browns Valley Rd., Napa, CA 94558
Serving Northern California and the Pacific Rim, Craiker & Associates’ greatest asset is founder and president Chris Craiker. Using his years of experience in design and architecture, Craiker established Craiker & Associates in 1980. Since then, his expertise in commercial, residential, and mixed-use builds has led the firm through many successful projects and is the reason why the firm is well-known in the U.S. and Japan. Craiker’s impressive track record includes 30 prestigious Design and Planning Awards such as the PCBC Home of the Year award.
With Craiker’s AIA and NCARB affiliations, Craiker & Associates provides exceptional services including architecture, master planning, and sustainable design. Its wide range of services also include construction administration, facility evaluation, and scheduling and phasing strategies. The firm has handled plenty of winery, restaurant, hospitality, and retail projects, including the Calmere Estate Winery. For this project, the firm selected gray and white tones for the winery to exude sophistication and class. Additionally, the structure is muted enough to allow the surrounding environment to still shine.
Weisbach Architecture | Design
1421 Diamond Mountain Rd., Napa, CA 94515
Specializing in modern aesthetics, Weisbach Architecture and Design combines technology and passion to create meaningful designs. Its goal is to use design to improve people’s lives. This passion is translated in every conference center, fitness center, hospitality, and restaurant project it handles. Established in 2010, the firm has more than a decade of experience in commercial and residential architecture, brand design and identity, and interior architecture and design. Founder and president of the firm Lev Weisbach is an AIA member with a Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University.
Using its modern take on design, Weisbach Architecture and Design created The Bank & La Toque at Westin Hotel Napa. Both owned by a Michelin-Star chef, The Bank is a cafe and lobby bar while La Toque is a fine dining restaurant. Both establishments in the hotel utilized an open-floor concept for a spacious setting. This allows the chef to interact with guests, maximizing their dining experience. The firm also utilized clean lines, displaying modern elegance throughout the entire space.
Napa Design Partners
855 Bordeaux Way Suite 250, Napa, CA 94558
Napa Design Partners is a master in historic preservation. With a goal to help improve communities in Napa, the firm was established by Napa Valley architects in 2011. The firm’s pool of architects and interior designers consistently strives to create exceptional designs that protect Napa’s history. This has made the firm one of the best in Napa and the surrounding areas for 10 years.
One of the most recent examples of the firm’s mastery in historic preservation is the Stone Brewery project. For the project, the firm expertly converted a 141-year-old stone structure, the Borreo Building. Closely collaborating with owners, building tenants, and designers, the firm has created a brewery and restaurant with a unique, legendary atmosphere. This challenging build was completed in two years, a testament to the firm’s ability to produce quality output, fast. For the firm’s exceptional work in this project, it has been dubbed the 2018 Winner for Best Conversion of a historic building.
Aside from historic preservation, the firm is an expert in creating retail, hospitality, winery, and health and wellness facilities. The firm’s professional team is led by managing partner architects Stephen Cuddy and Sarah Marshall and interior designer, Jill Andrews. Cuddy is an AIA member and LEED AP, Marshall is an AIA member and SARA National Board member, Andrews is a CID, ASID and NCIDQ member.
James Jeffery Architects AIA, Inc.
2107 Jefferson St., Napa, CA 94559
Based in Napa, 90% of James Jeffery Architects’ projects are in the surrounding area. Founded in 2002, the firm has almost two decades of contribution to Napa Valley. It has masterfully designed wineries, distribution restaurants, and hotels in the area. It also builds office and retail spaces, as well as single-family homes in Napa.
Owner James Jeffrey is an AIA member and a Certified Green Building Professional. In all the projects he helps to conceptualize, sustainability is at the forefront. Additionally, he ensures the firm retains a client-centric approach and aims to build long-standing relationships.
One of the firm’s impressive designs is the Black Stallion Winery. The design features stone walls in the facade, softened by the surrounding palm trees. Additionally, the building has enough entryways for the fantastic Napa sunshine to come in.
1145 N. Crane St., St Helena, CA 94574
Established in 1975, Leong Architects has always considered the location of each project in its design. For 46 years, the firm has used locally sourced materials and has involved local craftsmen in the building process. In addition, it incorporates every site’s regional style into its design. For these reasons and for its outstanding work, the firm is considered one of the top commercial architects both in Napa County and in New York and has become a member of the AIA. Over the years, the firm has developed its expertise in architecture, master planning, sustainable design and offers construction administration, feasibility studies and needs assessment, and scheduling and phasing strategies. The firm is under the leadership of Wayne Leong, who helps the efirm make each of its visions come true. Leong is an MIT and Santa Clara University graduate, with degrees in systems design and engineering.
The firm’s professional services have been used in offices, wineries, retail, and the restaurant and hospitality industries. Its diverse portfolio includes this ZD Barn where form beautifully meets function. The rigid lines in the barn’s facade reflect the lines of the carefully lined vineyard outdoors. This design also includes sustainable choices seen in the solar panels existing in the building.
Paul Kelley Architecture, Inc.
541 Jefferson St., Napa, CA 94559
In each of its designs, Paul Kelley Architecture pays respect to the land, the environment, and the history of an area. Since 2008, Paul Kelley Architecture has grown a name for itself through its sustainable designs and methods. Owner Paul Kelley leads the firm as a Certified Master Green Building Professional, making sure that sustainable methods are at the forefront of each build. He is also an expert at knowing the lay of the land and leads the firm to maximize nature’s beauty: by combining light, nature, modern and traditional elements, the firm is able to gracefully capture the essence of Napa in its designs. Because of this, the firm is considered one of the best in Napa and the Bay Area for architecture and design services.
The firm’s wide range of specialization includes sustainable design, historic preservation and restoration, restaurant and food service, as well as commercial and tenant improvements. It has designed numerous wineries and tasting rooms, including the Elizabeth Spencer tasting room. In this project, the 1872 building was converted into a wine tasting facility with a kitchen and restroom. The firm carefully restored the old brick features of the building while preserving as many original materials as it could for a greener build. The result is a lovely space that has character and serves its purpose well.