A city on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley is home to different impressive establishments. Ranging from scores of food courts to the oldest campus in the University of California system, Berkeley offers a well-known community that builds and preserves connections through first-rate, unique, and soulful structures. Skilled commercial architects are responsible for shaping this city’s beautiful buildings. Berkeley’s commercial architects specialize in communicating with their clients’ needs and meeting them with innovative solutions.
In this list are the 12 best commercial architects in Berkeley. They were handpicked based on their design expertise, portfolio, recognition, and experience.
832 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94710
Hayashida Architects is an architectural firm with expertise in all aspects of architectural design. For 42 years since it was founded, Hayashida has provided commercial, retail, food service, historic preservation, interior design, office, and residential developments, and tenant improvements for its clients. Sady Hayashida, American Institute of Architects (AIA) leads the firm since its establishment with his team of skilled architects. He has nurtured the firm to provide the best quality and competence for any construction. From project planning to site investigation reports, engineering, and final commissioning, Hayashida Architects has continued to raise its standard to meet client expectations. Sady’s leadership has led the firm’s projects to be featured in Cision PRWeb.
The firm’s portfolio includes a wide range of restoration and remodeling work, as well as the development and designs of entire buildings and commercial centers. To fulfill the client’s needs, Hayashida Architects does not implement a pre-decided style and instead focuses on its client’s vision. A great example of this versatility is the Jodo Shinshu Center in Berkeley. This commercial structure was originally a car franchise until it was reconditioned by incorporating the headquarters of a national Japanese Buddhist organization. The overall design introduced structural strengthening to the entire existing building, an extra two floors to the south wing, a 12,000-square-foot underground garage, and incorporated contemporary design to its exterior. The Mechanics Bank in Richmond was originally a barn-style Mexican restaurant. The client wanted an emphasis on “mechanics” given the bank’s history of originating from a World War II shipyard. Hayashida architects created an open lobby accentuated by metallic 3D panels and metallic column wraps, as a nod to its origins. The Jodo Shinshu Center is a remarkable representation of the constant flexibility of the firm while maintaining the quality, which has made it garner clients like Mechanics Bank, the North Salinas Valley Mosquito Abatement District, and the Delta Vector and Mosquito Abatement District.
The Bay Architects
1840B Alcatraz Avenue Berkeley, CA 94703
The Bay Architects has led projects in Berkeley since 1980 and has been delivering impressive residential, commercial and institutional structures consistently while meeting client demands. Founder and principal, James Novosel, AIA has allowed his extensive experience in planning and architectural design to progress the firm towards success. Along with his team, the firm has covered a wide array of design projects that have received multiple recognitions. The Bay Architects currently holds 12 Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA) awards and five Berkeley Design Advocates (BDA) awards. James and his partners ensure that the firm provides competence in coordinating and completing complicated projects on time and within budget.
The Bay Architects provides a comprehensive scope of planning and architectural design services. One notable commercial project by the firm is a project at 1952-66 University Avenue. The project entails the restoration and rejuvenation of six long-neglected historical structures in varying degrees of deterioration. The two structures along University Avenue have been recognized as Structures of Merit and have received shell and facade repair for café and restaurant use. The Bay Architects received the BAHA Restored Commercial Complex Award for this project’s distinct design and impressive renovation.
Devi Dutta Architecture
928 Carleton St., Berkeley, CA 94710
Devi Dutta Architecture Inc. was established in 2008 in response to a growing need for accessible and integrated architectural solutions for the local community. They collaborate with large and small businesses, homeowners, government agencies, and non-profit organizations to create comfortable, beautiful, and contemporary places. The firm works on projects such as multifamily housing, co-living, public and commercial projects, residences, and workplaces. Spearheading this architectural firm is Devi Dutta-Choudhury, AIA, a licensed architect.
Devi grew up in surroundings ranging from the remote Himalayan foothills to the suburban American South. Because of this, she is sensitive to her customers’ diverse lives and strives to create spaces that reflect and enrich daily living. She develops unique, integrated design solutions for both routine and remarkable challenges such as privacy, natural lighting, storage, and outdoor access.
An excellent example of this approach is the firm’s project in downtown Berkeley, The former UC Press Building. This commercial structure incorporates a 1920’s concrete warehouse with a contemporary 3-story steel and glass addition that accommodates the growing office industry in the city. The UC Press Building is currently on track to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification.
1107 Virginia Street, Berkeley, CA 94702
Daniel Smith & Associates’s (DSA) wonderful reputation among homeowners, communities, and organizations is distinctly built on innovation. DSA Architects has been exploring the creative design of residences, retail, restaurants, office, and mixed-use buildings for over 40 years. At the helm of this firm’s progressive success are Dan Smith and his long-term associate Dietmar Lorenz. Dan is a founding member of the California Strawbuilding Association and has completed over 40 straw-building projects. DSA has also been at the vanguard of other cutting-edge construction technologies, such as living roofs and gray water systems. The firm has received multiple recognitions, from being featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, books including Rural Modern and The Barefoot Home to receiving different awards like the 2015 BDA Design Award for Excellence.
In DSA’s portfolio, the firm’s projects include net-zero energy houses, LEED Platinum and Gold designs, and AIA Sustainability Awards. Several of the firm’s buildings are LEED-certified, which helped them win the 2007 award “Sustainable Industries Overview,” and the 2007 “Top 50 LEED Certified Buildings on the West Coast” award. The 2015 BDA award-winning project, Westbrae Biergarten, is a prime example that showcases the firm’s expertise in commercial projects. The Westbrae Biergarten is a comfortable outdoor dining area directly across from the Ohlone Greenway, making it a favorite neighborhood meeting spot as well as a pleasant destination for pedestrians and bikers throughout Berkeley and beyond.
Levitch Associates, Inc
1029 Heinz Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94710
Levitch Associates is a three-generation family firm that provides residential and commercial architectural and construction services. Since 1960, the firm has helped hundreds of people enhance their homes and businesses. Levitch’s experience ranges from renovating a single room in a house to large remodels, expansions, and designing and building new bespoke houses. Levitch has also renovated restaurants, offices, and other commercial locations. Leading the firm’s success is Maurice Levitch, AIA who has played a role in the family’s business since he was a child.
As president, principal architect, and chief project manager who oversees all areas of operations, Maurice and his team have built the firm on passion and quality craftsmanship. The firm is currently a member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) in the San Francisco Bay Area. The firm has also been featured in several publications such as the Qualified Remodeler and Remodeling Magazine. In 2019, the firm was included in Qualified Remodeler’s Top 500 Remodelers List.
An example of the firm’s widely-recognized renovated establishments is the Start King School for the Ministry. This project featured skylights, uplighting, lighting controls, audio-visual systems, and a lot more to improve the deteriorating building. This project was encouraged to use environmentally friendly building practices. Within the firm and in the community, Maurice openly advocates for sustainability practices by engaging with this method even in remodeling his own home sustainably in 2004.
Robert Nebolon Architects
801 Camelia Street Suite E, Berkeley, CA 94710
Robert Nebolon Architects is a well-known architectural firm that provides a wide range of services to its clients. Since its inception in 1993, the business has always employed innovation and expertise with its design staff. The firm has been a leader in modern design quality, uniqueness, and delivery in commercial and residential projects for the past 28 years. By understanding and working effectively to build sustainable communities and urban settings, Robert Nebolon Architects aligns its expertise with the expectations and aspirations of its clients. Los Angeles Times, Home Adore, Business Insider, and Ana Kamin’s California Weekends are among those who featured the firm for its unique take on commercial structures that fit well with the project’s location.
The person behind the firm’s progressive and successful nature is Robert Nebolon, AIA. As the former president of the Lions Club International and the principal architect of the firm, Robert’s work has received many local, regional, and national awards including those from AIA California Council, Home & Garden Television (HGTV), and Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada (CMACN). Among these award-winning projects is the Oxford Center which holds the 1996 BAHA Design Award. In creating this project, the firm searched for unique site elements. Topography, vistas, sunshine, and local climate are features that guided Robert and his architects while also examining how a place will interact with its distinctive setting. These views, in turn, link the house to its surroundings and create a remarkable commercial structure.
2984 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702
Since 2006, Fischer Architecture has developed elegant structures and spaces for not just families, but select commercial and restaurant establishments. The firm appreciates the importance of analyzing and creating every element of a project’s program in pursuit of the fundamental, timeless answer through communication and their hands-on approach. Kerstin Fischer, AIA, LEED AP, and Andrew Fischer are the leading principals of the firm. Together, they prioritize and strengthen the firm’s responsiveness and relationship with their clients. Fischer Architecture attributes a sense of fulfillment, duty, and humility on finished projects as it contributes to a culture’s built fabric and be a part of a growing community it calls home. The firm has been featured in The New York Times, Curbed, and Metropolitan Home.
The firm’s portfolio showcases a comprehensive catalog of projects from residential structures to commercial establishments. Fischer Architectures is currently a holder of multiple awards from AIA and its projects have been featured in different AIA chapters’ home tours. The well-known magazine, Imbibe, also featured one of the firm’s projects, “Revelator Coffee, Chattanooga.” The design and materials of the room are a natural blend, set against the backdrop of ancient brick walls and immersed in natural light via the massive windows. The client wanted the firm to create their architectural brand, and to adapt it. Fischer Architectures delivered this by tuning in to its clients’ goals, objectives, and judgment process, as well as getting to know each other and their property.
2421 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
Trachtenberg Architects is an award-winning Berkley-based firm that is well-versed in both residential and commercial architecture. Founded in 1991, the firm has evolved and grown in its area of expertise in commercial architecture. From modest renovations to huge new constructions, Trachtenberg Architects has worked on projects of various sizes. David Trachtenberg (AIA, LEED AP) founded the firm and has been transforming client visions into works of art for 30 years. David ensures that the firm’s ideas are innovative and interesting, but with a welcome element of control when it comes to building within budget. Trachtenberg Architects has been highlighted in the San Francisco Chronicle and the Berkeley Daily Planet for its blend of traditional and modern architectural principles.
A prime example of such an approach is the firm’s Sierra Nevada Torpedo Room. The project’s materials and details are intended to reflect the essence of craft beer brewing. The commercial establishment won the 2015 BDA Award for Design Excellence. This project is among what the firm has contributed to Berkeley— a legacy of great architecture. It has also increased the cultural inventory and attracted notable clients like Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Peet’s Coffee & Tea Headquarters, C.G. Jung Institute, and The Berkeley School.
Jerri Holan & Associates, AIA
1323 Solano Avenue Suite 204, Albany, CA 94706
Jerri Holan & Associates, AIA is a nationally known architectural company with an old-fashioned mission: to construct structures that are rooted to their surroundings. The firm creates structures that are both traditional and celebrate building crafts for today’s lives. The National Trust, the American Institute of Architects, the California Preservation Foundation (CPF) and BAHA have all rewarded the company’s striking designs. Many of the firm’s work has been featured in national and international publications, such as the Old House Journal, Fine Homebuilding, and the National Trust’s Magazine.
At the helm of Jerri Holan & Associates is Jerri Holan, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), who is a Certified Green Building Professional as well as a State-Certified Postearthquake Assessment Volunteer. Jeri’s preservation experience in the business influences the firm’s designs and supports sustainable construction techniques and green building materials. While the firm specializes in commercial establishments, Jeri has an appreciation for a home’s original style in residential projects.
Jeri Holan & Associates offers a variety of specific architectural services to both public and private clientele. A fraction of the firm’s services is dedicated towards public interest and non-profit organizations. One notable commercial renovation from the firm is the Rockridge Masonic Center. The firm completed a significant restoration of the neglected exterior of the historic building and developed a branding more suited for the building’s historic character. This project’s impressive renovation through sustainable techniques was awarded the 2003 Partners in Preservation Award of Oakland Heritage Alliance and the 2005 Preservation Award of the California Preservation Foundation
Edward Ogosta Architecture
8800 Venice Boulevard Suite 312, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Edward Ogosta Architecture is a Los Angeles-based award-winning firm that specializes in residential, commercial, and innovative office architecture. Since its establishment in 2011, the company has been designing sophisticated and exceptional architecture with intrinsic clarity, believing in constructing spaces with experiential depth. Leading the firm is Edward Ogosta, AIA who brings 20 years of architectural experience in the industry. Edward is dedicated to designing a clear architecture that is profoundly entrenched in its culture, place, and context. This commitment has brought the firm over 25 major design awards, including ten AIA Design Awards.
The firm’s vast portfolio provides a look into the firm’s versatility and innovative designs. Under Edward’s leadership, the firm has designed commercial, residential, and creative office styles. Edward Ogosta Architecture is tenacious in bringing innovative thoughts and hard work to each project to perfection. A remarkable example of this is the Nanobrewery in Berkeley. The East Bay’s juxtapositions of urban working-class and affluent suburban communities inspired the 700-square-foot project. With its brewing section completely open to the barroom, the small space exudes openness, sincerity, and compassion.
1810 6th Street #2003, Berkeley, CA 94710
Collaboration and community lie at the core of Studio KDA. Founded in 1987, the company is a 22-person, award-winning residential and commercial architecture firm with a focus on multifamily structures, shopping complexes, and restaurants. Its practice is broad in particular projects but unified in its purpose, with each project responding to the vision of its clients with sincerity, compassion, and accuracy. Leading the firm are these principal architects: Charles Kahn (AIA, LEED AP), Marites Abueg, and Keith Morris. They believe that good design is faithful to its social, historical, and cultural context. These architects try to identify and convey the character of the building, company, or space for all projects, from remodels to new commercial structures.
The firm’s portfolio entails its significant expertise in commercial architecture and interior design, which emphasizes openness in its styles. Studio KDA’s constant design of communities that connect through distinct and sincere spaces has gained them recognition from WIRED and Architect Magazine. Bauman College, Flour & Co, and Briefcase Market + Shop have also reached out to the firm for their impressive designs. The reimagined Fourth Street Retail in Berkeley’s shopping district is a prime example of their distinct take on commercial establishments. The steel and gunmetal plaster style, created in collaboration with Abrams Millikan, is inspired by 4th Street’s industrial heritage.
Kava Massih Architects
920 Grayson Street, Berkeley, CA 94710
With over 26 years in the business, Kava Massih Architects has been a driving influence behind a wide range of creative architectural ideas in the Bay Area. Kava Massih Architects is a full-service architectural company based in Berkeley with a branch office in San Francisco. The firm takes delight in knowing that its clients understand its nature of fostering openness and collaboration which extends to communities alike. The firm’s entire array of returning customers alludes to its originality, devotion, and adaptability. Kava Massih, the founder of the company, has led its steady development and established the excellent reputation it now has. Along with Jerry Mastora and Mark Schlientz, Kava delivers clean, creative, and captivating designs to all projects.
Kava Massih Architects has worked on a wide range of projects, including market-rate and low-income housing, governmental institutions, commercial buildings, restaurants, and highly technical medical facilities. The firm’s success attracted notable clients including Epicurious Garden and the University of California, and a feature from Environments for Aging Magazine. One of its most notable works is the Cedar Center. The restoration provides the complex a unified appearance and increased street appeal in the bustling North Berkeley area.