Newport Beach, a southern California coastal city, is known for its boat-filled harbor. The harbor is popular among locals and tourists for its swimming and sandy beaches. On top of that, Newport Beach has some of the best upscale residential areas, world-class shopping centers, and a plethora of beach-related activities.

Newport is a popular destination for many people, and the retail sector is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. We’ve listed some of the best retail architects in the area, carefully selected by our editorial team for their awards, backgrounds, portfolios, and certifications.

SMS Architects

18004 Sky Park Circle, #200, Irvine, CA 92614

SMS Architects is a full-service commercial architecture firm that focuses on the retail, hospitality, recreation, and restaurant sectors. It is well-known for consistently providing unique designs and technical knowledge, which results in high-quality work. Its primary focus is to provide excellent service at every step of the way, and clients consistently respond by agreeing to work with the firm on various projects.

SMS Architects is able to undertake complex tasks because it has the analytical knowledge to know each aspect as a separate building type or as part of a comprehensive mixed-use project. It was awarded the Best Commercial Project in 2020, Best Rehabilitation Project in 2020, and the Gold Nugget Award of Merit in 2018. The firm is led by principal architect Greg Simonoff, and its members are also members of the American Institute of Architects, the US Green Building Council, and LEED-certified professionals.

Robinson Hill Architecture

3195 B Airport Loop Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Robinson Hill Architecture, Inc., is based in Orange County and licensed to practice architecture in 22 states. Although focused on retail, restaurant, hospitality, they are inspired to create public spaces that can provide enriching experiences. They search for a unique project base to sustain their well-versed and creative staff. Their service-first business model is applied at all levels to every project. The design process is site and team specific without pre-conceived concepts, making each project dynamic and unique. This collaborative approach involves all team members, ensuring the best ideas are brought forth to enrich each project.

Local Retail Project: Michael Nusskern, Newport Beach, CA

RHA has 36 years of commercial experience with a portfolio of local, regional, and international projects diverse in scale. Their growing success can be attributed to a passion for architecture and their investment in continuing client relationships. Learn more about their work at

Saunders + Wiant Architects, Inc.

2700 West Coast Highway, Suite 200, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Saunders + Wiant Architects, Inc. was established in 1995 and transferred to Newport Beach in 1996. The firm works primarily in the Southwest United States, with incidental projects in Mexico and the Middle East. As a renowned design firm, the firm has earned the trust of many small and large companies and individual property owners. It has likewise gained notoriety for quality and affordability over the years.

The firm provides a complete design package that includes architectural, engineering, and interior design. Its founder, Niall Saunders, AIA, RIBA, NCARB, holds a Diploma in Architecture from the University of Westminster in London and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Kingston in London. Niall is a member of both the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) (RIBA).

Lampert Dias Architects

208 Avenida Princesa, San Clemente, CA 92672

Lampert Dias Architects, founded in 2005, specializes in custom residential and commercial architecture. The firm has clients in Southern California and other parts of the world, but it is based in San Clemente. The company creates with conservation and energy efficiency in mind and is present on-site throughout the process.

Carolyn Dias and Christine Lampert, the firm’s founders, aim to provide a quality personal experience from concept to implementation. Carolyn’s expertise is primarily in luxury home design, having spent many years creating custom homes in Lake Tahoe and Northern California. On the other hand, Christine served on various NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) committees. She was a member of the California Architects Board (CAB) Board for more than eight years. The firm’s work has been featured in the Winston-Salem Journal, AZCentral, Laguna Beach Independent, and the Naples Daily News under the direction of Carolyn and Christine. 

RMCA Architects

1541 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 110, Los Angeles, CA 90017

RMCA Architects, founded in 1984, specializes in new construction, remodeling, space planning, tenant improvements, and site planning. The firm’s principals have more than 38 years of experience in commercial and public works architecture, and they have executed numerous projects that have garnered both local and national recognition. Paul S. Robich, AIA, the company’s president, has 45 years of experience in commercial design and construction management. He has built a multi-level regional shopping center, 300+ community and neighborhood, retail, and office buildings.

Today, a large portion of RMCA’s work is still in the retail industry. It is constantly expanding its knowledge of markets, drugstores, and large-scale retail developments in urban design. It also aspires for variability, and its portfolio includes mixed-use projects, office buildings, religious structures, schools, warehouses, and automobile dealerships.

Carlile Coatsworth Architects

18600 MacArthur Boulevard, Suite 300, Irvine, CA 92612

Carlile Coatsworth Architects, an Orange County-based architectural design and consulting firm, is a leader in architectural design across multiple industries. CCa has created a practice of architects focused on solving design and architecture problems to optimize each client’s investment, with over 150 years of extensive experience.

It is a twenty-person architecture firm with six licensed architects and a diverse project portfolio. Its projects include Industrial, Automotive, Retail, and Food Services for Orange County clients. Calvin J. Coatsworth, the firm’s principal architect, is a California Polytechnic State University architecture graduate. The firm is a member of the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties and the American Institute of Architects.

Bickel Group Architecture

3600 Birch Street, Suite 120, Newport Beach, CA 92660

Bickel Group Architecture is a collaborative group actively working on an interesting list of projects throughout California and the western United States, including office, automotive, restaurant, retail, institutional, and adaptive reuse sites. Its goal is to become a vital member of the design, development, and construction teams. The firm seeks to reach this goal by consistently exhibiting how its competence, sustainable designs, and collaborative problem-solving methods significantly increase the value of any building project.

Jim Bickel, the company’s founder, has more than 28 years of experience in site design, building conception, project management, code analysis, and construction. He graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in 1986 and has been a licensed architect in California since 1989. Jim is also a member of the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.


  • 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