Oakland offers residents and visitors a unique blend of urban vibrancy and natural beauty. Known for its diverse community, its thriving artistic scene, and its proximity to outdoor adventures, Oakland provides a rich tapestry of things to experience. Its thriving culinary and cultural landscapes add layers to everyday life. The list below includes eight of the best residential architects working in Oakland, California. These firms were carefully chosen by our editorial team after we examined their awards, their experience, and their portfolios.
1940 Union Street, #22, Oakland, CA 94607
Larson Shores, founded in 2007, is a design firm that primarily serves the sectors of residential and commercial architecture and provides full-scale interior design as well. Operating from its base in California, it emphasizes thoughtful, elegant, and function-specific designs.
The principals—Joshua Larson and Carrie Shores—both hold Masters in Architecture from U.C. Berkeley. Joshua Larson earned his early stripes as a project estimator and manager at Redhorse Constructors and has explored global architecture through the Branner Travelling Fellowship. Carrie Shores, recognized as an “up and coming architect” early in her career, is licensed to work in both California and Maine.
Larson Shores has received the 2019 Regional CotY Award Winner for Residential Detached Structure by NARI, among other accolades. The firm has been featured in notable publications like The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Town & Country, underlining its standing in the industry.
Buttrick Projects Architecture+Design
1144 65th Street, #E, Oakland, CA 94608
Buttrick Projects Architecture+Design, established in 1994, primarily serves the Bay Area with architecture, interiors, and hardscapes. It focuses on crafting buildings and spaces tailored to each client’s specific needs and vision. The firm integrates traditional and contemporary design techniques, specializing in new and historic projects.
Jerome Buttrick, the Managing Principal, holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design and a BA in Art History from Northwestern University. He has been at the helm of Buttrick Projects Architecture+Design since its inception. His expertise includes project leadership from the conceptual stages through to construction and detailing.
The firm has received several awards, including the 2017 California Preservation Award and the NARI Green Building Award. Accredited by AIA, the team is LEED AP certified and a Certified Green Building Professional. The firm’s beautiful work has also been featured in ArchDaily, Inhabitat, and The New York Times.
5895 Doyle Street, Emeryville, CA 94608
ODS Architecture is a San Francisco Bay Area-based architectural design firm specializing in custom homes, whole-house transformations, and unique workspaces, including offices and museums. The firm emphasizes creating spaces that are simple, efficient, and tailored to the owner’s preferences. It offers a comprehensive suite of design services, and that includes architecture, interior design, 3D modeling, planning, and construction supervision.
Founder and principal Alan Ohashi holds a Master in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California at Los Angeles. He established ODS Architecture as a multidisciplinary design studio. Philip Liang, the Design Director, holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is responsible for the firm’s overall design direction and quality control.
ODS Architecture has garnered significant recognition, including the 2016 CotY Award for National Winner in Landscape Design/Outdoor Living. The firm has been featured in respected publications such as Dwell, Residential Design Magazine, and The San Francisco Chronicle, adding to its credibility and industry recognition.
Phillips Win Architecture
3032 Magnolia Street, Oakland, CA 94608
Phillips Win Architecture, originally established in 1995 as Anne Phillips Architecture, performs in a variety of settings, including urban, suburban, and rural. Specializing in residential and civic/commercial projects, the firm offers multiple architectural services including new construction, renovation, and tenant improvements. Its diverse portfolio includes high-rises and multi-family developments as well as single-family homes and historic building renovations.
Principal Winston Win has over two decades of specialized experience in renovating and adapting existing buildings, particularly in the affordable housing sector. Founder and Principal Emerita Anne Phillips has over thirty years of experience, with a decade spent as a building contractor before her architectural career. Both principals are affiliated with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Winston Win is also LEED AP certified.
The firm has received several awards that attest to its excellence in design, including the 2019 Fast Company World Changing Ideas Award and the 2013 Berkeley Design Advocates Award for Design Excellence.
363 17th Street, Suite 301, Oakland, CA 94612
Founded in 2017, Ecobuild Architects is a residential and commercial architecture firm that continues to distinguish itself through its commitment to ecological design practices. Operating in a variety of locations, including Dallas, Boston, and the Bay Area, the firm has earned a reputation for combining fine architectural styling and craftsmanship in its design solutions. Tailored to be site and client-responsive, Ecobuild Architects focuses on creating sustainable and ecologically responsible buildings.
The firm is led by Principal Courtney Miller, a seasoned architect with over 30 years of experience in a diverse array of building types. A UCLA graduate with a master’s degree in Architecture, Miller is a LEED Accredited Professional.
Ecobuild Architects has received significant industry recognition, most recently winning the 2023 Best of East Bay Award for Best Architect from East Bay Magazine. The firm holds accreditations from SFBA NARI, and its building projects are LEED Certified, further cementing its commitment to sustainable practices.
Buchanan Opalach Architects
580 2nd Street, Suite 275, Oakland, CA 94607
Buchanan Opalach Architects (BOA) is an award-winning architecture firm headquartered in Oakland. Specializing in custom homes, remodels, and unique light commercial projects such as urban wineries, BOA combines beauty, function, and durability in all its designs. With over four decades of combined experience, the firm simplifies the complex design process for its clients, offering inventive solutions that turn their unique ideas into thoughtful, lasting spaces.
At the helm of BOA is Architect and CEO Edward Buchanan, a Bay Area industry veteran since 1990. Known for his expertise and problem-solving skills, Buchanan has been frequently consulted by city planning staff in towns such as Piedmont and Ross—he guides non-BOA projects through the approval process.
The firm has AIA accreditation and LEED AP certification. It gained media attention in a Rockridge Kitchen Tour feature in 2015, further adding to its visibility in the industry.
Kelly and Abramson Architecture
1111 Warfield Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94610
Kelly and Abramson Architecture is a specialized architecture firm focusing on breathing new life into 1920s homes in Piedmont, Berkeley, Oakland, and the greater Bay Area. Established in 2006, it takes a holistic approach—like a “good doctor”—to seamlessly blend modern amenities with these vintage homes’ unique and original characteristics. The firm also designs new vacation homes, mainly in the scenic locales of Sugar Bowl in Lake Tahoe and the Inverness area of Northern California.
Principal Rob Kelly, an alumnus of UC Berkeley who studied architecture and civil engineering, brings a wealth of experience to the firm. Having worked as an architect for 25 years, Rob’s portfolio includes new vacation homes throughout Northern California and remodels and renovations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Kelly and Abramson Architecture’s work has been featured in various publications, including Homedit , On the House, and One Kindesign, underlining its influence and reach in the architectural community.
562 61st Street, Oakland, CA 94609
With a quarter-century of experience spanning California and Hawaii, SRG Architects is a full-service architecture firm headquartered in Oakland. Established in 2009, the firm specializes in diverse architectural markets, including residential, multi-family residential, affordable housing, commercial, mixed-use, and restaurant design projects. The firm excels in coordinating with various stakeholders to successfully complete complex projects, often within tight schedules and budgets.
Leading the firm is Scott Galka, the Principal Architect, whose educational background includes a Bachelor of Arts from UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design and a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Scott launched his career working in several award-winning American architecture firms, and he has been a licensed Architect since 2002. His wealth of experience in the field contributes to the firm’s capacity to manage diverse and challenging projects.