When you think of California, the first things that come to mind are the warm climate, palm-lined streets, and white-sand beaches. The state is home to nearly 40 million people, and more are moving to this state of fame and wealth. California is renowned for its rich cultural diversity, thriving economic prospects, and fantastic cities. Aside from these factors, this US state is notable for another thing that astounds everyone: its incredible architectural designs.
People visiting the Golden State can discover residences varying from the opulent mansions of Hollywood celebrities to Spanish-built adobe houses. If you are thinking about moving to California or are a resident who needs a design upgrade, listed here are the best residential architects in California. Each firm has a gallery of award-winning projects. These firms have also been featured in different publications for their designs and remarkable projects.
Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects
2725 Elmwood Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94705
Eric Haesloop and Mary Griffin established Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects (TGH) in 1997. Topography, microclimate, sun exposure, greenery, water resources, and fire resistance are all taken into consideration during the firm’s site design phase. TGH chooses building materials that go well with its surroundings and is guided by green building principles. Haesloop currently oversees the Berkeley, California studio. The firm continues to concentrate on designing sustainable, site-sensitive homes and providing consulting services for large-scale projects.
The Skyfall Residence was featured in Dwell and Residential Design Magazine. It is an award-winning project that won three honors in 2020. This project won the American Institute of Architects (AIA) California Merit Design Award and the AIA Redwood Empire Honor Award. It also received a Residential Design Architecture Awards (RDAA) Citation. Skyfall sits in a distinctive setting at the Sea Ranch. A sizable grove of cypress trees anchors the southern boundary of the land. Wide views of the fairways leading to the Pacific and Bluff residences can be seen to the west. Trees line the Gualala River to the north. The company’s solution was to search for straightforward, barn-like forms that communicated the owner’s requests.
2525 Michigan Avenue, Building T4, Santa Monica, CA 90404
The multi-faceted company, Montalba Architects, was established in 2004. The firm is staffed by a group of architects, designers, and professionals working out of two locations. The firm’s projects focus on experiences by establishing settings that are both socially aware and visually forward-thinking. The firm has kept improving and honing its skills for the past 15 years. David Montalba is the founding principal of the firm. He has over 26 years of professional experience as an architect, and he is a registered Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professional. He even won AIA’s National Young Architect Award in 2008.
Among Montalba Architects’ notable projects is the Vertical Courtyard House in Santa Monica. In 2021, the project won an AIA California Residential Design Awards Merit Award and the Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award. It also received a Rethinking the Future Second Award and a DNA Paris Design Award. Vertical Courtyard House was also featured in the magazines Dwell, Architizer, and Departures. The primary design goal of the project was to dissolve the boundaries between this single-family home’s exterior and interior.
Aidlin Darling Design
500 3rd St. Suite 410, San Francisco, CA 94107
Aidlin Darling Design maintains a tradition of craftsmanship and a passion for collaborative production. Its entire process is grounded in this history. The company approaches every project with a client- and site-specific strategy. As a result, Aidlin Darling Design has won numerous professional honors, including the coveted Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award. The company frequently receives accolades from the AIA, the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the Chicago Athenaeum, and a variety of publications on interior design and architecture. The company has won over 100 regional, state, and international accolades in recent years.
This project, the Three Gables, is among Aidlin Darling Design’s award-winning projects. The awards received by the project include the 2023 AIA Awards Interior Architecture Award and the 2022 AIA California Design Award. It also received the 2022 Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) National Design Excellence Award and is the 2022 Winner of the Architecture MasterPrize. This modern family home is perched on 10 acres in the hills overlooking Napa Valley. It can be distinguished by a triad of gable roof constructions. The architecture celebrates both the family’s roots in the Welsh countryside and the local agrarian heritage.
974 Commercial Street, Suite 104, Palo Alto, CA 94303
Founded in 1990, Field Architecture is a full-service, design-driven firm. It is centered on building structures that are a part of the landscape—buildings that encourage relationships between people and the places they value. The designs of the company are the result of a careful discussion. Field Architecture’s expertise spans generations and nations. The firm is led by father-and-son pair Stan and Jess Field. Stan and Jess are both internationally renowned architects. Recently, they took home numerous Progressive Architecture (PA) Awards.
The project we decided to feature, Dawnridge, won two awards in 2020. It was awarded the AIA California Residential Honor Award and the AIA Silicon Valley Residential Merit Award. Dawnridge was also highlighted in Dwell, Plain Magazine, Dezeen, DIGS, Wallpaper, and Designboom. The architecture, created for a couple who enjoy the outdoors, aims to establish the area as genuinely natural. Dawnridge started by reimagining the location as a revived piece of the natural surroundings. The project stands out sharply from the area’s terrain, which is becoming more and more urban. In contrast, this home restores the site’s connection to its wider, frequently ignored natural environment.
6255 W Sunset Boulevard, Suite 920, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Since its inception, Assembledge+ has been pursuing architecture that is motivated by a dedication to workmanship and collaboration. Assembledge+ has won numerous honors for its work over the years. The company has won the AIA|LA Awards, the Southern California Development Forum Award, and the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) Housing Honor Award. Numerous domestic and foreign publications—including Architectural Digest, the New York Times, Elle Decor—have also featured the firm’s work.
The Laurel Hills Residence brought the firm 12 awards in total. Those awards include the 2022 SARA Merit Award, the 2021 Built Design Award for Architectural Design for Residential, and the 2020 International Design Award in the Architecture Category: House Silver Award. Three pavilions make up the project, which is connected by a network of glass passageways. The goal of this one-story home is to provide a residential haven in the middle of Los Angeles. A carving datum line is established by the guest house/garage pavilion lined with Western Red Cedar. Additionally, it links the living and sleeping pavilions’ two larger volumes. Large charcoal-colored boards, Extira battens, and cement board siding were used to frame the pavilions. A substantial overhang reduced solar heat gain by providing protection from sunlight.
833 Market Street, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
Jensen Architects designs residences and spaces that enhance the experiences of each client. Dean Orr, Steven Huegli, Emily Gosack, and Mark Jensen are the principals of Jensen Architects. For his achievements, Jensen was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA). As a true community architect, Orr spent two terms as a volunteer member of Orinda’s city council. Huegli has won numerous honors. He was privileged to have his renderings of the Rooftop Sculpture Garden displayed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). These pieces are featured in the museum’s permanent collection. Gosack has led the company’s multifamily projects since joining in 2012 and contributed to the studio’s portfolio of recognized custom homes.
The Stanford Residence is the winner of the 2022 Architizer A+ Awards Popular Choice, the 2021 AIA California Residential Awards Honor Award, and the 2021 AIA San Francisco Design Awards Merit Award. The project was also featured in Dezeen, The New York Times, and Abitare. This reimagined home was created in partnership with Johanna Grawunder. It represented a fresh departure for the client as he desired to immerses himself in a different mode of living. He wanted to be on campus, have access to bikeable transportation options, and center his life in exploration and exchange.
Woods + Dangaran
5059 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019
Since 2010, Woods + Dangaran has created designs comprehensively and on a large basis. The company has created stunning new homes throughout California in addition to restoring vintage 1960s homes. Woods + Dangaran was founded by Brett Woods and Joseph Dangaran. Dangaran is a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) and a member of AIA. Woods, the co-founder, has more than 13 years of expertise. They are enthusiastic supporters of midcentury modernism as architects. Both convey traditional and modern principles ideal for the twenty-first century.
Woods + Dangaran worked on designing this home, “Desert Palisades”, in Palm Springs. This project won a total of seven awards, including the 2020 AIA Los Angeles Residential Architecture Honor Award and the 2020 American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum. This home is tightly linked to the surrounding desert in every way, from the setting to the floor plan to the finishes. The house is elevated above other site features and spans a natural creek while being surrounded by boulders. The architecture focused on horizontal lines, organic materials, and tactile and visual connections between indoors and out. The entire project elevates desert modernism’s concepts.
Edward Ogosta Architecture
8800 Venice Boulevard, Suite 312, Los Angeles, CA 90034
Launched in 2011, Edward Ogosta Architecture (EOA) is a creative design firm. Its expertise includes building type-specific programming, development, and design. The company designs luxury homes and multifamily apartments, among other types of structures. It serves clients who are regionally or internationally based with small or large projects. EOA is committed to embracing each commission’s particular opportunities as well as its useful goals. The most effective projects by Edward Ogosta Architecture combine openness with individuality. Changes may take place when both of these factors are in play, but the basic concepts of the space design are kept intact.
Featured in LA Times | DesignLA magazine and Architect, the Rear Window house project is also a winner of numerous awards. It won the 2018 AIA National Small Projects Award and the 2018 AIA California Council Residential Design Merit Award, among others. The Rear Window home is a subdued, yet distinctly modern addition. A bungalow that is 70 years old was renovated in a neighborhood that is filled with stable homes from the same time period. The company carefully planned the sequencing of additional spaces and the placement of apertures. The project is meant to open up and become fully interwoven with the backyard because of the precise sequencing.
5262 Rosewood Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90004
XTEN Architecture is an internationally recognized architectural firm with offices in Sissach, Switzerland, and Los Angeles, California. It has been awarded numerous architectural honors. The firm has won honors from the IV Miami+Design Biennial Architecture Awards, the Los Angeles Architecture Awards, and the National AIA Housing Awards. The company’s work has also been widely published. Architectural Digest, Architektur & Wohnen, Architectural Record, and Elle Décor, among other publications, have all featured the firm’s work on their covers. The firm has also received coverage in numerous recognized media outlets, including Wallpaper, Interni, and Interior Design.
The Skyhouse project is featured here. Located on Bird Street in Hollywood Hills, the home was built for a husband and wife and their teenage son. The design incorporated four offset boxes in succession. The more private functions of the house are kept in these offset boxes. Open circulation sections and living spaces that fluidly encircle the home and provide continuous connection. The home was the winner of the 2020 AIA LA Design Award and Residential Award, the 2020 American Architecture Award, and the 2020 Architectural Record House of the Month. The project has also been recognized in numerous publications including LA Times, Architizer, and The Wall Street Journal.
128 Texas Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott founded IwamotoScott Architecture in San Francisco in 2002. Today, it is an internationally renowned and award-winning architectural firm. After having won more than 80 design accolades and distinctions, the company’s design work is well-known. Those distinctions include 21 AIA Design Awards at the city, regional, and national levels. Among other honors, IwamotoScott Architecture also won the Architectural Record 2018 Women in Architecture Award and the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt 2019 National Design Award. The work of IwamotoScott Architecture has also been displayed in more than 50 galleries and museums in addition to being published in numerous journals.
Goto House is a weekend house situated on a rugged parcel in Napa County. A weekend home in Napa County called Goto House is located on a rocky property. The residence, garage, and swimming pool are situated on a meadow with Lake Berryessa to the east in view. The project brief specified a straightforward, modern residence with one story. With a program that consists of four sections totaling 2,300 square feet, it should have the closest possible link between the interiors and the exteriors. Goto House won the AIA San Francisco 2020 Merit Award and AIA California’s 2019 Residential Design Award. It has also been recognized by Architectural Record: House of the Month.