Alaska is a fascinating place for families and individuals to move to and build a life. Those in the workforce should know that the state has a great environment for business, especially since it has low barriers to entry. The tourism, fishing, oil, and natural gas production economies are thriving. Families with children will be glad to know that many boarding schools receive partial funding from the state. There are also dozens of colleges and universities for older children to consider. Alaska is also known for its slow pace of life, good news for families and individuals looking for a more relaxed lifestyle. 

Our editorial team has created a list of the best residential architects in the state. This list is to help those interested in customizing new homes or renovating existing ones. The firms on the list are experienced in creating spaces that provide all the comfort and functionality required as well as reflecting the personal taste of their clients.

Lumen Design

306 G St, Anchorage, AK 99501

Lumen Design provides award-winning architectural services to clients in Anchorage and the surrounding areas. Owner Petra Sattler-Smith has created projects that have received recognition and awards like the 2020 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Alaska Merit Award, the 2016 AIA Alaska Citation Award, and the 2015 AK Division of Economic Development Sustainability Award. Among her recognized works is the H House in Anchorage. The project received the 2014 AIA Alaska Honor Award. Lumen Design worked on the master suite and entry addition for the client’s 1980s modernist home. The house’s new geometry connects with the original form while being softened by vegetation, artwork, and playful lighting. The interior creates a calm ambiance via dappled light, the sounds from the pond, and a Buddha statue in warm wood. It is a screened enclosure that provides privacy, views, and sunlight.

The designs Lumen Design creates are based on simple architecture that provides creative solutions. Sattler-Smith highlights the importance of the physical and emotional wellbeing of clients and the collective future. Her projects focus on developing sustainable and environmentally responsible buildings.

Ivy & Co. Architects

3835 Spenard Road, Anchorage, AK 99517

Mark A. Ivy (AIA) leads Ivy & Co. Architects with over 30 years of practical experience in Alaska. He has a background in construction, design, and collaboration. Ivy and his team create designs that combine innovation and functionality while being responsive to the Alaskan environment.

Ivy & Co. Architects worked on a residential project called “Peninsula View.” The home features wrap-around views from a fan-shaped great room and projected side wings. The filtered window view from the outside provides homeowners with privacy. There is a radial steel and planked suspended bridge from the open stair that connects the side wings. Ivy & Co. Architects’ design balances comfort with sustainable features including passive solar and radiant heat.

Photo by Glenn Aronwits of GA Panorams

Alder Architecture & Design, LLC

259 S. Alaska Street, Palmer, AK 99645

Alder Architecture & Design, LLC is known for its custom Alaskan architectural designs for residential, commercial, and multi-family projects. The firm set its goal to enhance the human experience through design excellence. Many of its projects can be found in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Valley, and the surrounding areas.

Principal Anna M. Lee, AIA, LEED AP, guides Alder Architecture & Design, LLC in creating designs that are fitted to the community where a project is located. Many of her designs are inspired by the Mat-Su Valley and its people. Lee also puts importance on collaborating with the community.

Architects Alaska

900 W. 5th Ave, Suite 403, Anchorage, AK 99501

Architects Alaska creates a collaborative space to maximize the team members’ contributions to the design process, accelerate schedules, and cater to additional service requests. It works on projects for the healthcare, commercial, community, education, arctic, industrial, residential, and senior living sectors. Its project in Girdwood, AK is a residential project built at the base of Mt. Alyeska. It is a chalet featuring lodgepole pine columns, a 31-foot staircase, and geometric spaces in over six levels. Architects Alaska fused stainless steel and other high-end finishes throughout the chalet to create a modern and sophisticated space.

President Mark Kneedler (AIA) guides Architects Alaska with over 41 years of professional experience. Kneedler ensures the firm provides services that exceed client expectations, achieve design excellence, improve Alaska’s communities, and respect Alaska’s environment. The firm provides services in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Bozeman.

L64 Design

147 3rd Avenue, Fairbanks, AK 99701

David Hayden (AIA) leads L64 Design with nearly 20 years worth of experience in Fairbanks. Hayden’s architectural style employs a mix of modern materials and contemporary forms inspired by Alaska’s light and landscape.

Over 60 buildings throughout Fairbanks and Alaska can be attributed to Hayden. He specializes in residential projects, projects like Koivuvaara in Fairbanks. The house’s design features an energy-efficient shape and increased daylighting. Its high windows bring in abundant sunlight. The first floor has a massage studio and a home office; the second floor has living spaces and two bedrooms.

Combs and Combs, AIA

7480 Upper O’Malley Road, Anchorage, AK 99507

Sam Combs (AIA) (NCARB), runs the firm Combs & Combs, AIA. Combs has experience in historical data collection, historical building documentation, and researching a building’s history. He has been involved with many historic preservation projects in Alaska and Washington. There are also several art galleries, banks, playhouse theaters, residences, restaurants, offices, and schools in Combs’ portfolio. Sam Combs residential renovation designs, as well as historical projects, have been featured in Alaska Home Magazine, on HGTV in Restore America’s episode featuring Alaskan historical projects narrated by Bob Vila, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Magazine, the Anchorage Daily News, the Alaska Journal of CommerceSeattle Journal of CommerceBering Straights NewspaperAnchorage Times Newspaper, as well as HGTV’s show Curb Appeal in the Before & After portion of the show with Rick Spence to name but a few.

Z Architects

194 Olympic Mt. Loop Road, Unit 3, Girdwood, AK 99587

Z Architects is staffed by Alaskan designers with a deep-rooted understanding of the area’s unique northern landscape. Its team is led by Marco Zaccaro (AIA) (NCARB) as it creates designs that cater to the distinctive human and environmental needs of each project while remaining aesthetically pleasing. Its work has resulted in Home Builder Digest naming Z Architects one of “The Best Residential Architects in Anchorage, Alaska” in January 2020.

Z Architects provides services to Girdwood and throughout Alaska. These services include master planning, commercial and residential design, interior design, sustainable building practices, and permitting.

Blue Sky Studio

6771 Lauden Circle, Anchorage, AK 99502

Firm partners Catherine Call (AIA) and Anne Severin (AI), base Blue Sky Studio’s practice guided by a client-centric philosophy. The firm specializes in residential architecture. Its goal is to help clients envision and complete their projects through careful collaboration, studies through drawing and 3D modeling, and collaboration.