A suburb of Oakland, Lafayette is a California community that offers a high quality of living with hometown appeal. Named for a French hero of the American Revolution, Lafayette is quietly evolving from a sleepy Contra Costa village to an attractive destination for city-dwelling young professionals looking for a change of pace.
With a less frenetic vibe centered on family-run shops, farm-to-table cuisine, and strollable, tree-lined streets, Lafayette beckons, with small-town charm and big-city amenities. To help you establish your business in this vital location, we’ve curated this list of the best commercial architects in the region.
Kava Massih Architects
920 Grayson St., Berkeley, CA 94710
Kava Massih Architects has been a full-service architecture firm since 1996, with headquarters in Berkeley and an office in San Francisco. Widely acclaimed, the firm received the 2021 BUILD Architecture Award as well as the title for “The Most Trusted Residential Architecture Studio in San Francisco Bay Area.” Having completed an array of residential, office, retail, and industrial projects, the company also garnered recognition from press such as Environments for Aging, Los Angeles Real Estate News, and Office Snapshots,. The team’s long list of repeat customers testifies to their professionals’ creativity, dedication, and flexibility, and they have also earned an exceptional reputation for offering innovative design within time and budget constraints.
A sample of their works is the T-Rex Restaurant and Bar, featured in the image below. This impressive restaurant serves as a new anchor for a shopping mall located in an urban area that was once purely industrial. The design for this sushi bar uses minimalist, modernist lines, with bamboo floors, an aluminum window curtain that opens onto the second floor mezzanine, and a graceful bamboo partition that divides the restaurant from the parking area. This exceptional space earned the team yet more media attention, with features in the Contra Costa Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Diablo.
Heller Manus Architects
The Transamerica Pyramid, 600 Montgomery St., Suite 1250, San Francisco, CA 94111
With over 35 years in the industry, Heller Manus is an architecture, master- planning, and urban-design practice based in San Francisco and with offices in Shanghai. The firm is an internationally renowned design and sustainability leader that has successfully built a long list of loyal clients. HM has completed works across the U.S., with certifications such as AIA, NCARB, CAV, and USGBC allowing the team members to serve a range of geographic territories. With more than 50 substantial works in their portfolio, several of their commercial projects have been honored with prestigious awards, including the 2018 APA National Planning Awards, the 2019 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel Award, and the 2020 MasterPrize Award.
Heller Manus is behind the conceptualization of the mid-rise commercial building at 500 Pine Street, pictured here. This completed five-story structure features a full basement level with parking, atop a partial sub-basement level for building support services. The above-ground structure offers four stories with full floor plates, while the fifth is a partial floor plate, and the whole design is capped with a distinct mechanical penthouse.
3738 Mt. Diablo Blvd., 3rd Floor, Lafayette, CA 94549-3600
AD Architectural, Inc., is a 32-year-old firm that specializes in full-service architecture, planning, interior design, project management, and strategic planning. The team members are experts in a wide range of project types, with residential and commercial experience that also extends to manufacturing and educational sectors. Their depth is influenced by firm principal Newell Arnerich, who has an impressive portfolio derived from four decades in the industry. His vast business experience as well as his architectural seniority have been vital to driving the firm’s success (including their numerous awards and pages upon pages of featured press).
Among the team’s exceptional successes is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) project, shown here. Founded in Marina del Rey in 1998 and formerly affiliated with the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute, ICANN is a nonprofit organization that ensures the stability of the web. When AD Architects was chosen to design their new Southern California headquarters, the team created a fully green plan for the new work environment, meeting or exceeding every global standard for ICANN’s critical needs.
Ward-Young Architecture and Planning
3435 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Suite 210, Lafayette, CA 94549
Ward-Young Architecture and Planning was founded in 1977, in the Tahoe/Truckee area, to provide full architectural services for projects that require inventive solutions with a sensitive reaction to the environment. This AIA-certified firm has successfully created mountain resorts, custom residential property, and buildings in a range of commercial/industrial sectors. Under the leadership and creative direction of AIA-certified firm principals Timothy Ward and Mike Mussano, the firm has vastly expanded the geographic territories they serve, earning notable recognition in publications such as Interiors, Sunset, Tahoe World, Builder Magazine, and Better Homes and Gardens, among many others.
The experts at Ward-Young spearheaded the exceptional Bar of America facility. Exterior upgrades for the project included new ten-foot-tall entry doors, a six-panel sliding door linking indoor/outdoor dining areas, and new metal coated windows. The scope of the remodel also included new ADA-accessible men’s and women’s restrooms, as well as renovation of the kitchen, pizza bar, and dining areas.
Johnson Lyman Architects
1375 Locust St., #202, Walnut Creek, CA
Established in 1991, Johnson Lyman Architects is a full-service firm that specializes in retail, residential, and office design. The team is deeply rooted in the community, partnering with businesses that have trusted their services for decades. Their portfolio boasts more than 25 completed works in the Bay Area, and JLA proudly recruits like-minded professionals who are not only highly skilled but committed to full involvement in every aspect of a project. This trusted one-stop shop meet’s a client’s every need, from conceptual phases to schematic planning, design review, construction documents, and administration processes.
A notable JLA project is the Willows Shopping Center. The facility’s businesses and atmosphere mirror the lifestyle demands of this busy East Bay suburb, offering a variety of hotspots for the neighborhood’s 680 residents. Updated siding, patio canopies, storefront glass, pedestrian sidewalks, chairs, bike racks, and other improvements completed the complex, creating an enriching environment that carries the JLA hallmark of quality.