Many are relocating to Portland, Oregon, from all across the U.S., mainly for its high quality of life, plenty of job opportunities, and striking natural surroundings. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a wide range of activities here. However, rental prices in the housing market continue to increase. Choosing a contractor to help you design your forever home can also be a challenge.

If you are thinking about moving to Portland, you’ll need to consider your budget and lifestyle. Whether you’re planning on building your own house from the ground up or renovating an existing space, you need to create a checklist to ensure all your requirements are met. In this guide, we have listed the best residential architects in Portland to assist you better. Each firm on this list is adorned with award-winning projects, a positive reputation, and is recognized for consistently delivering superior-quality results.

Propel Studio Architecture, Inc.

422 NE 79th Ave., Portland, OR 97213

Propel Studio Architecture has provided top-notch architectural services for a decade, focusing on modern and traditional styles. Founded in 2013, the firm specializes in custom homes, mixed-use, multifamily, ADUs, and commercial projects. The company has in-depth experience in sustainable design, ranging from small to large-scale projects. With a group of highly talented designers, the firm integrates environmentally friendly designs using locally sourced materials to build attractive, elegant, and practical homes.

Photo by Josh Partee

Since its establishment, the award-winning Propel Studio Architecture has earned numerous awards and recognitions. In 2021, it received the Top Project Finalist award for Affordable Housing from the Daily Journal of Commerce, Oregon. The company and its projects were also featured in the press for their impressive architectural designs, including in Dwell, The Oregonian, and the Portland Tribune. One of its most prominent projects is the Sheltered Nook Custom Home, located on a hillside outside Portland. The company was hired to design a charming home that blended the beauty of the outdoor living areas with the interior living space.

Telford+Brown Studio Architecture

2132 NE Alberta St. Portland, OR 97211

Founded in 2020, Telford+Brown Studio Architecture is a leading architecture company in Portland. Formerly known as Richard Brown Architect, the firm has three decades of experience in crafting modern and sophisticated architectural and interior designs for different types of residential projects and wineries. Each space is designed for functionality using natural materials and energy-efficient techniques. With a client-focused approach, the contractor collaborates with the customer to ensure that the design suits their lifestyle and needs.

Photo by: David Papazian Photography
Photo by David Papazian Photography

Since its inception, Telford+Brown Studio Architecture has acquired several recognitions for its creative designs, including the 2019 Merit Award from the Oregon Chapter of the American Concrete Institute, the Citation Award, and the Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Its projects have also been featured in Oregon Home Magazine and the Portland Tribune. The firm was commissioned to design a modern yet traditional Portland house surrounded by a striking natural landscape. The design was inspired by Asian and Japanese elements incorporated with sustainable materials and practices. The project earned a LEED Gold Certification, an ADU LEED Platinum Certification, and an Earth Advantage Platinum Certification. 

Dao Architecture

310 SW 4th Ave., Suite #810, Portland, OR 97204

Since 2004, DAO Architecture has provided superior-quality architectural and design solutions for Portland clients. Its services are focused on residential, commercial, urban, art, educational, and cultural projects. For 20 years, the firm has developed extensive experience in research and technical design. Its services encompass, but are not limited to, exterior, interior, and landscape designs to create classic, functional, and elegant spaces. 

 Photo by: Jeremy Bittermann and DAO
Photo by Jeremy Bittermann and DAO

Over the years, DAO Architecture has earned certifications with the State of Oregon and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) under the guidance of founding principal Joann Dao Le. The firm has established a strong network of contractors, including architects, fabricators, and designers. The Irvington Residence, located in Portland’s historic neighborhood, is a notable project for the company. For this property, the firm took on the challenge of designing an extremely compact two-story home. This property has been featured in Portland Monthly, Modern Home Tours, and AIA Portland Home Tours.

James Dixon, Architect

522 NW 23rd Ave., Portland, OR 97210

With offices in Oregon and New York, James Dixon Architect provides comprehensive architectural and design services for clients across the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Founded in 1999, the award-winning firm specializes in luxury residential projects, earning a reputation as one of the leading architecture firms in Portland. Since its inception, the company has worked with the top subcontractors, suppliers, and organizations in the region. With a creative approach, the firm offers practical solutions to homeowners without sacrificing quality or design. Over the years, the contractor has received numerous positive reviews for its high-quality projects.

James Dixon Architect is led by its founder, James Dixon, who has decades of experience in designing different types of structures and layouts. The company and its past projects were featured in various publications, including Architectural Digest, Aspire Magazine, and Portrait of Seattle. Its work on the Kinderhook House received plenty of attention from industry organizations, earning the firm the Design Award from the AIA. For this project, James Dixon was tasked with redesigning and creating a fresh update on a 19th-century home.

Holst Architecture, Inc.

123 NE 3rd Ave., Suite #310, Portland, OR 97232

Holst Architecture is a top-rated architecture and design studio, serving clients throughout Portland and nearby cities. Established in 1992, the firm provides a holistic approach to design, starting from conceptualization to execution. For three decades, the company has produced high-quality architectural designs, encompassing both residential and commercial sectors. Its projects also include education, hospitality, offices, and nonprofit organizations. With a strong commitment to sustainability, the company utilizes the latest technologies and environmentally-friendly materials.

Holst Architecture employs a team of talented and experienced designers, offering clients a creative and personalized approach. The multi-awarded firm has been recognized for its outstanding projects. It won the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Award for Best Project in the Office/Retail/Mixed-Use category. One of the company’s prestigious projects is the Karuna House, located in Newberg. For this project, Holst Architecture took on the task of designing a unique space while achieving the first MINERGIE-certified building in North America. It also received Passive House PHIUS+ and LEED for Homes Platinum certifications.


  • Shahe Demirdjian

    Shahe is an Editor at General Contractors with around four years of experience as a writer and editor in the construction space. Shahe has always had a huge interest in commercial/residential construction and real estate. On top of his experience at General Contractors, he has two years of experience as a Construction Partner Specialist at BuildZoom and six years of experience as a licensed real estate agent. In his work, he takes advantage of his expertise to take complex technical jargon from those realms and transform them into accessible, engaging content, blending his business administration expertise with a degree from Arizona State University with his experiential insights. Expertise: Architecture, Home Design and Build, Home Remodeling Key Highlights: Arizona Real Estate - Licensed Salesperson Education: Arizona State University - Bachelors in Business Administration