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The Best Architectural Firms in Oakland, California

9 Min Read

Last updated on May 27th, 2024 at 12:46 pm

Nestled within the vibrant city of Oakland, California, a hub of cultural diversity and artistic expression, lies a world of interior architecture that seamlessly merges form and function. Oakland’s dynamic spirit is reflected in its architecture, and at the heart of this fusion are the visionary interior architects who craft spaces that embody innovation, comfort, and aesthetic brilliance.

The list below features the best interior architects in Oakland. These creators shape environments that resonate with the city’s pulsating energy while offering an oasis of serenity. From contemporary lofts that capture the essence of urban living to tranquil retreats that invite nature indoors, these architects transform spaces into captivating narratives.

Cass Calder Smith

44 McLea Court, San Francisco, CA 94103

Cass Calder Smith, an award-winning multidisciplinary firm established in 1992 by Architect Cass Calder Smith, operates across San Francisco and New York led by the principals Barbara Vickroy, Taylor Lawson, and Tim Quayle. Its studios include a skilled staff of 20, allowing the firm to offer comprehensive architecture and interior design services for projects across the United States and internationally. From dining and living spaces to retail, vacation, work, and exhibition venues, it brings design excellence to every facet of life.

Cass Calder Smith’s expertise spans ground-up constructions, renovations, and interior buildouts, adapting its skills to diverse project scales. The firm is affiliated with prestigious bodies such as the American Institute of Architects and the International Interior Design Association, and it has received accolades like the BLLA’s Best Boutique Restaurant Award in 2017.

S^A | Schwartz and Architecture

860 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

S^A | Schwartz and Architecture, an esteemed award-winning architecture and interior design studio, centers its operation on a dynamic design process in close collaboration with clients. Focused on creating architectural solutions that embody clarity, efficiency, and elegance, it weaves these aspirations within the parameters of budgets, schedules, and practical needs, consistently drawing inspiration from their interplay. 

S^A’s ethos mirrors the diverse background of its founder, Neal Schwartz, FAIA who holds dual master’s degrees in architecture and public policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Kennedy School of Government. This synergy forms the firm’s bedrock: a capacity to delve beyond expectations to understand its clients’ aspirations while skillfully navigating intricate design, permitting, and construction endeavors. 

With 25 years of dedicated teaching and a role as a professor at the California College of the Arts, Schwartz’s influence enriches both S^A’s practice and the architectural community. Its accolades, affiliations with esteemed institutions like the American Institute of Architects, and features in prominent publications like Architectural Record, the New York Times, and Dwell underscore its dedication to excellence in architectural innovation.

Quezada Architecture

639 Front Street 1st F, San Francisco, CA 94111

Quezada Architecture (QA), established in San Francisco in 1994, brings a legacy of 28 years of crafting exceptional designs aligned with sustainability. Its forte lies in design excellence, which is supported by meticulous project management. Adapting with agility, it tailors its approach to each project’s unique demands, providing the right expertise to bring its client’s visions to life.

QA treasures solid client relationships and takes a spirited approach to its work. It celebrates diversity and inclusivity as a Certified Woman-Owned Business (WBE) and Minority-Owned Business (MBE). Its influence extends through recognized platforms such as Architect Magazine, Archinect, and Global Design News.

QA’s leadership team, including Alfred Quezada Jr., Cecilia Quezada, Julia Campbell, RIBA, LEED AP, and Richelle Nolan, is dedicated to driving the firm’s vision forward. With profound respect for design and a lighthearted spirit, the company approaches each project with unwavering commitment.

BCCI Construction

1160 Battery Street, Suite 250, San Francisco, CA 94111

Founded in 1986, BCCI Construction is a full-service builder with branches in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Los Angeles. Operating as a prominent West Coast commercial builder, it prioritizes key markets for its clientele. Its core competencies lie in commercial interiors, structures, and sustainability, enabling various industry projects.

BCCI’s robust portfolio embraces new construction, extensive renovations, historic revitalizations, seismic enhancements, and tenant improvements. This breadth empowers BCCI to provide distinctive pre-construction, design-build, project management, sustainable construction, and LEED consulting services.

Noteworthy acknowledgments include the firm’s inclusion among the Top 75 Contractors in Engineering News-Record California’s 2021 ranking. The company maintains affiliations with esteemed bodies like the American Institute of Architects, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, and the US Green Building Council.

Bolstering its reputation are features in publications like the International Living Institute and Interior Design Magazine. Michael Scribner, the president and CEO, is leading BCCI to ongoing excellence.

Handel Architects

735 Market Street 2nd F, San Francisco, CA 94103

Handel Architects, established in 1994, is steadfastly committed to enhancing urban living. Its belief in the transformative power of architecture and design continues to create a positive global impact. The firm’s creations transcend mere structures; they act as agents of urban and social betterment.

With a presence in New York, San Francisco, Boston, Denver, and Hong Kong, Handel Architects boasts a team of 200 architects and designers. Its endeavors span a remarkable spectrum – from the poignant National September 11 Memorial to intricate urban infrastructure, high-density mixed-use developments, and projects that cater to diverse income levels. The firm’s portfolio includes hotels, corporate headquarters, and structures for non-profits, institutions, and education worldwide.

Accolades have followed Handel’s journey—the 2023 PCI Design Awards celebrated its excellence in mixed-use architecture for Serif SF & The Line Hotel. The firm also maintains industry affiliations with esteemed bodies like the American Institute of Architects and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Its notable presence in Urban Land Magazine and Designboom likewise speaks volumes of its prowess.

Mark Brand Architecture

744 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Mark Brand Architecture (MBA), an acclaimed architecture and interior design studio, skillfully marries elevated design concepts with pragmatic functionality. With an impressive legacy spanning nearly three decades, MBA has established a forte in crafting exceptional new homes and substantial residential transformations. Its design ethos, free from stylistic constraints, seamlessly blends diverse influences, encompassing both the traditional and contemporary, while celebrating inventive problem-solving, luminous spaces, and captivating vistas.

MBA’s artistic expressions are shaped through a harmonious interplay of planes, volumes, and shapes, further enriched by a nuanced interplay of colors, textures, and materials. Recognitions include the 2023 PCI Design Awards for Best Mixed-Use Building, exemplified by Serif SF & The Line Hotel. MBA also stands proudly affiliated with esteemed institutions such as the American Institute of Architects and its San Francisco chapter. Its work has likewise garnered recognition on platforms like Architizer.

Guided by visionaries Mark Brand and Jacob Moyer, MBA has remained steadfastly committed to architectural excellence, with Mark Brand’s education rooted at the University of California – Berkeley and Jacob Moyer’s at Iowa State University and the University of Newcastle.

Klopf Architecture

2180 Bryant Street, Suite 203, San Francisco, CA 94110

Klopf Architecture is distinguished for its ability to blend interior and exterior spaces seamlessly, resulting in designs that exude warmth and modernity while embracing the natural environment. With a distinguished presence in both the Bay Area and Hawaii for over two decades, Klopf Architecture boasts a rich portfolio that encompasses a spectrum of projects, from innovative and sustainable homes to the restoration and renewal of over 300 mid-century modern residences.

The company’s achievements include the esteemed Gentry Home Magazine Design Excellence Award in 2016. Klopf Architecture also actively engages with professional affiliations such as the American Institute of Architects and the Eichler Network and holds a Certified Passive House Design/Consultant designation.

The firm has been recognized in prominent publications, including One Kindesign, Contemporist, and Futurist, underscoring its influence in the architectural realm. At the helm of Klopf Architecture is John Klopf, the founding principal, who holds a Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a Master’s of Architecture from UC Berkeley, in addition to receiving the Branner Travel Fellowship.

Kaplan Architects

49 Zoe Street, Suite 10, San Francisco, CA 94107

Established in 1985, Kaplan Architects is a San Francisco and East Bay-based firm working within the Bay Area and beyond. With a specialization in custom, high-end residential, and modern design work, it boasts a strong capability in both design and technical aspects. The firm’s portfolio includes new homes, additions, and remodels throughout San Francisco and the wider Bay Area.

Kaplan Architects’ services encompass the entire design and building process. It nurtures thoughtful designs, navigates planning department reviews, creates technical details and permit drawings, acquires building permits, helps find skilled contractors, and then collaborates with them during construction.

Kaplan Architects’ accolades include the 2013-2014 National and local American Society of Interior Designers Awards. It is also affiliated with the American Institute of Architects, the Custom Residential Architects Network, and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Edward Kaplan, the principal, leads with expertise—he has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UC Berkeley in Architecture.