55 shopping districts and more than 50 regional and national retailers are what visitors to Oakland are met with. Among these areas, many are known to be unique boutiques, art galleries, and pop up shops crafted by local entrepreneurs and artisans who sell locally-made and one-of-a-kind Oakland products. This list presents some of the high-end architects who have provided the city with beautifully designed spaces that reflect the client’s brand and harmonizes with the cityscape.

With the ability to craft beautiful structures, some of the firms on this list are associated with industry organizations like the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professionals who have been recognized with features and various awards. 

AD Architects

Oakland, CA 94612

Co-founded by Newell Arnerich and Robert Diaz in 1978, AD Architects mostly focuses on large scale mixed-use commercial and residential projects in the Western United States. By the late 1970s, the firm managed a joint venture in London, leading to an expansion of projects located throughout the Middle East. This veteran firm exhibits consistently high standards for design and has established a reputation for securing diverse and challenging commissions from international and national clients.

Among its high-quality projects, its most notable one is Davidson & Licht’s mixed-use retail center in Walnut Creek. A three-story building, it has an incorporated rooftop for public uses like events, celebrations, weddings, and nightlife activities. The firm has many engaging projects that gained it a list of repeat clients which includes the University of Southern California, UC Berkeley, American Express Company, and Morgan Stanley. 

Architectural Dimensions

300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite #375, Oakland, CA 94612

Architectural Dimensions, a 38-year old firm, is most famous for the roll-out programs it has developed for national retailers. The company has firm roots in retail design. Proof of this firm’s honed experience is its work on Sportmart in Sacramento. Previously a hardware and furniture store, this 40,000 square foot space now serves as Sportmart’s new retail home.

Its old wood siding was transformed into a stucco facade and a second-level mezzanine was added, and its interior space was totally revamped. Over the years, the firm’s portfolio grew to exhibit hotels, commercial, office, restaurant, and other retail structures. 

Hayashida Architects

832 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94710

Established in 1979 and still known today, Hayashida Architects provides clients in the Bay area with various services. These include rehabilitation and renovation work, historic preservation, tenant improvements, and full design work for different projects including commercial centers, retail structures, food services, office, and residential buildings. Over the years, this capability has gained the firm a list of clients that includes Office Depot, Mechanics Bank, Fresh Choice, and Trinity.

Among these, its most notable project is its work on CORT Furniture. Found in San Francisco, this space was previously an office space now converted. Though the existing space had numerous limitations such as a low ceiling and changing floor levels, the firm converted it into a welcoming and customer-friendly space through careful lighting design and coordination with the existing structure and mechanical equipment. 

Kava Massih Architects

920 Grayson St., Berkeley, CA 94710

In the Bay area, Kava Massih Architects is recognized to be one of the driving forces behind a wide range of innovative architectural designs. As a 23-year old firm, it has designed projects for various markets including the retail sector. So far, its most notable retail work is Berkeley Bowl West. An environmentally-friendly and sustainable marketplace, the project totals 92,105 square feet and includes two buildings—a 49,000 square foot marketplace with retail, administrative offices, and associated storage space over an underground parking garage, and a prepared food service area with limited seating and a community room open and available for public use. Aside from its large space, it also carries a facade ridged with steel painted silver gray. This project was featured in East Bay Monthly, Grocery Headquarter, SF Gate, and Architectural Record. Alongside such features, the firm also received the Berkeley Design advocates’ Award for Design Excellence and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) East Bay Design Awards Program’s Merit Award for Architecture. 

These award-winning projects are currently guided by the experience of company principal Kava Massih. A professional with environmentalist views and a dedication to public service, Massih is known for being personally involved in each phase of a project. 

Komorous-Towey Architects

410 12th St., Suite #300, Oakland, CA 94607

Komorous-Towey Architects is an energetic and resourceful firm that has been in the industry since 1989. With years of experience, the firm has completed a variety of projects for all types and sizes. This includes commercial, corporate, retail, residential, private, institutional, church, and government structures. These projects are most recognized for carrying a design pattern that seemingly highlights the past while still meeting modern needs. This design approach is mostly credited to the expert applications of firm principal, Klara Komorous-Towey who brings extensive architectural experience and is known for being involved in various historical preservation associations.

Over the years of working in her profession, Komorous-Towey worked on different types of projects including high rise condominiums, custom homes, parking structures, retail outlets, and the renovation of historic buildings and hundreds of thousands of square feet of tenant improvements. As an architect who is highly appreciative of historical styles, Komorous-Towey is a member of the Art Deco Society of the Bay Area and the Heritage Roses Group.

LCA Architects

1970 Broadway, Suite #800, Oakland, CA 94612

For 40 years, LCA Architects has been a name associated with streamlined and comprehensive design approaches. Ever since its inception, the firm has been providing planning and design services to public and private clients from all over the world. The firm is currently headed by CEO Carl Campos. A strategic thinker with more than 35 years of architectural experience, Campos is known to be a master at dealing with complicated and intricate projects. Aside from having an experienced professional at the helm, LCA Architects also hosts and regularly participates in workshops regarding the California Green Building Standards Code (CAL Green) and has participated in both LEED-certified and Collaborative for High-Performance Schools (CHPS) Commissioned projects. 

The firm’s most notable project is renovation work done for Porsche’s Walnut Creek branch which includes two different sites. The largest site has 19,500 square feet of existing showrooms and service facilities in a two-story wood-framed building. While its facade has twelve-foot panelized metal fascia wrapped around the top of the building above the storefronts, its interior meanwhile has prominent features such as tile flooring, luminous ceilings, and contemporary lighting. 

Miroglio Architecture + Design

381 Orange St., #C, Oakland, CA 94610

Miroglio Architecture + Design has been in the industry for 26 years. In this time, this small firm has been recognized for being intensely design-oriented. A multi-disciplinary firm, Miroglio Architecture + Design has been featured in national and international publications such as Architectural Record Magazine, Retail Environments, and Architecture among many other publications.

Alongside such features, the firm has a collection of awards that include InStore Magazine’s America’s Coolest Store 2017 Design award and two of the Association for Retail environments 2016 International Design Awards. With such awards, the firm has built up a portfolio of projects that include work for residential, institutional, and commercial sectors. Among these, its most notable project is its work on Stephen Fine Silver fine jewelry boutique—one of several jewelry and watch retail projects it has designed.  

MSA architecture+design

360 22nd St., Suite #800, Oakland, CA 94612

Specializing in architecture and interior design, MSA architecture+design cultivates projects that result from the creative concepts it exhibits through the technical details in a project. For over 40 years, the firm has practiced this design approach and has gained clients from the Bay Area and even throughout the country. Some of these clients include Tesla, Fitbit, Macy’s, Urbana, Pet food Express and the Republic of Fritz Hansen. Among these projects, its most notable work was its work on the b8ta showroom.

As a long-time partner of b8ta, MSA has designed 14 of these brick and mortar showrooms across the nation. With such projects in its portfolio, the firm has been included in various ranked lists including VM + SD’s list of Top 50 Retail Design Firms, Interior Design Magazine’s list of Top 200 Interior Design Giants, San Francisco Business Times’ list of Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses and the list of Top 25 Largest Architecture Firms.

Todd Jersey Architecture Inc. 

1321 8th St., Suite #2, Berkeley, CA 94710

To date, Todd Jersey Architecture Inc. has designed over 300 projects and has received wide acclaim for excellence in design. In operation for 30 years, the firm is adept at navigating city requirements and processes that lead to successfully built projects. Its current portfolio exhibits new construction to residential remodels and ADUs, commercial tenant improvements to new multi-family housing, and non-profit to commercial and institutional projects. Among these, its most notable project is its work on Village Sounds. Designed on a limited budget, this project utilized Unistrut—a versatile and inexpensive building system for constructing the display items, listening stations, and counter. 

This firm is currently handled by principal Todd Jersey who has designed and built some of California’s most beautiful, sustainable, and cost-efficient projects. These include the world’s first LEED Gold hotel and the nation’s greenest and healthiest indoor pool—The Richmond Plunge.  

Trachtenberg Architects

2421 Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94710

Established in 1991, Trachtenberg Architects is known for designing both residential and commercial structures. With years of experience, the firm has a plethora of awards which include the Berkeley Design Advocates’ 2017, 2015, and 2013 Award for Design Excellence. As an award-winning firm, it has a long list of clients that have witnessed its skills first hand. Some of these include Acme Bread Company, the ACLU Headquarters in San Francisco, Peet’s Coffee Headquarters, and the Berkeley Bowl Marketplace.

Alongside these brands, the firm also worked on Premier Cru in Berkeley. While its interior was completely gutted, its eastern building’s facade was replaced with Parklex wood panels that exhibit cabinet-like detailing and fine craftsmanship. Alongside these features, the building also includes a thermally-controlled retail salesroom, a private tasting room, corporate offices, and warehouse space.