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The Best Architectural Firms in California

8 Min Read

Last updated on May 27th, 2024 at 12:44 pm

With its stunning landscapes, diverse communities, and thriving economy, California is a prime choice for residential and commercial properties. Its sunny climate and beautiful coastlines make it an attractive place to live and work, and its range from bustling city life to peaceful suburban neighborhoods means that there is something for everyone there. The state’s booming economy also offers abundant job opportunities, making it a hotspot for businesses. 

California’s commitment to innovation and technology creates fertile ground for entrepreneurs and startups. With various industries flourishing here, owning property in California means tapping into a dynamic and ever-evolving market. Whether you seek a comfortable home or a thriving business, below are California’s eight best interior architects to help you build your dream property.

Serrao design/architecture

8155-D Belvedere Ave., Sacramento, CA 95826

Serrao design/architecture, originally founded in San Francisco and now based in Sacramento, is a modern architecture firm serving the greater Northern California region. Its core mission is to create top-notch, thoughtfully designed modern buildings that cater to clients’ needs, site conditions, context, and budgets. With a strong background in Mid-Century Modern conversions and restorations, modern custom homes, art galleries, office spaces, urban in-fill projects, and challenging industrial facilities, the firm brings a wealth of experience to its customers. Regardless of the project type, the firm thrives on the principles of simplicity and functionality, creating modern spaces that harmonize with their surroundings. 

The firm is led by co-founders Melissa Serrao and Jay Serrao, both of whom are graduates of the California College of Arts + Crafts with Bachelor of Architecture degrees. Under their guidance, the company is affiliated with the AIA, showcasing their dedication to upholding industry standards. 

Arch Studio, Inc.

1155 N. Meridian Ave., Suite 210, San Jose, CA 95125

Arch Studio, Inc., led by California-licensed architect Robin McCarthy, is a neighborhood architectural gem in Willow Glen, San Jose, California. For over 19 years, the full-service firm has excelled in crafting custom residential spaces that mirror its clients’ lifestyles, preferences, and budgets, effectively turning their visions into reality. It specializes in designing clients’ dream homes, sprucing up their existing spaces, and creating stunning accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Over the years, some of these projects have graced the pages of publications like Trulia and Willow Glen Lifestyles Home Tour.

Arch Studio, Inc.’s dedication to detail and practical space planning ensures that clients’ desires are able to transform into beautiful, functional homes. It does so while offering a streamlined design process for residential developers looking for speed and efficiency. The firm is also dedicated to implementing sustainable building practices, a fact bolstered by the firm’s employment of several Build it Green Certified Green Building Professionals. 

HGW Architecture

1955 Bacon St, San Diego, CA 92107

HGW Architecture is all about bringing life to spaces. It’s an architecture and design studio that loves solving problems while making spaces that are beautiful and eco-friendly. It sees buildings as a way to improve the world and enhance lives, so every project it takes on is a movement towards meaningful and positive change.

Specifically, the company has a knack for crafting unique, well-made, and sustainable places where people can collaborate, generate ideas, live healthily, and be part of a community. Its team is a group of experienced principals who have been designing and shaping buildings for decades. The firm’s dedication and unique approach has earned it recognition through awards and affiliations, including with the AIA and the Urban Land Institute. The firm’s innovative projects have also been featured in publications like The Architect’s Newspaper and The San Diego Union-Tribune.

David Whitney Architects, Inc.

2185 The Alameda STE 100, San Jose, CA 95126

David Whitney Architects, led by Principal David Whitney, is all about crafting spaces that endure and delight. With over 30 years of industry experience, Whitney himself provides hands-on guidance from project inception to final execution. Under his leadership, the architecture firm excels in interdisciplinary collaboration, blending interior design and graphic design expertise. Its talented team strikes a balance between top-notch design skills and solid technical know-how, ensuring that each project is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functionally sound.

David Whitney Architects boasts a diverse client roster, serving everyone from startups to Fortune 100 companies across the United States. Its success is greatly attributed to strong relationships with general contractors and industry-leading project partners, as its commitment to providing a single point of contact for clients at every project stage underscores its dedication to client satisfaction. With an AIA affiliation and a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional (AP) certification, David Whitney Architects showcases its dedication to excellence and sustainability. 

Hammel, Green and Abrahamson

1200 R St #100, Sacramento, CA 95811

Hammel, Green, and Abrahamson, or HGA, shines as a top-notch design firm in California’s Central Valley. The company brings architects, interior designers, and engineers together to create thoughtful designs that blend seamlessly with the surrounding area. These professionals put a premium on teamwork and gathering insightful perspectives to understand their clients better, no matter if it’s in healthcare, education, workplace design, arts and culture, or religious organizations.

With a track record of excellence, the company has earned recognition in publications like the Sacramento Business Journal and in industry awards. These include the National Engineering Awards, which it received for its work on projects like Marlboro Reich Hall and Lehigh University Health, Science, and Technology Building. With these accomplishments, HGA proves that it is more than just a design firm; it’s a creative hub that shapes the future of California’s Central Valley through innovative and purposeful designs.


3605 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

RDC, an industry leader in retail design and architecture, brings over 40 years of experience to the world of retail. With a profound understanding of retail dynamics and a track record of excellence, it approaches its projects with a seasoned, expert perspective. In recognition of this excellence, RDC earned the prestigious 2023 Gold Nugget Grand Award for Best Commercial Project at the PCBC conference in Anaheim. With a rich history and a focus on thoughtful design, RDC remains a distinguished name in the industry.

Led by CEO Brad Williams, RDC continues to make strides in the retail design and architecture arena, drawing on his expertise and vision. Under his leadership, the firm is affiliated with organizations like the AIA and the U.S. Green Building Council, demonstrating its dedication to sustainable and innovative practices. The firm’s projects have also been featured in publications like the San Diego Business Journal.


2731 B St, San Diego, CA 92102

Established in 1946, PGAL is a globally respected design firm specializing in architecture, interiors, engineering, and planning. With over seven decades of experience, PGAL has built a strong reputation for its unwavering commitment to excellent client service and meticulous attention to detail. At its core, it aims to balance innovative, client-focused design solutions and practical, budget-conscious approaches. This approach has allowed it to create lasting relationships and resulted in repeat business from its diverse clientele, which spans both the public and private sectors.

PGAL’s commitment to excellence is further bolstered by the awards it has earned, such as the Orchid Award from Architectural Record’s Top 300 in 2020. Additionally, the firm is affiliated with respected organizations like the AIA, demonstrating its dedication to industry standards and best practices. This has occurred under the leadership of President Ken Brown, Chief Executive Officer Jeff Gerber, and Chairman Emeritus Jack Linville, all of whom ensure that PGAL continues to deliver quality design solutions that meet the needs of its clients across the globe.