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Seated in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, Tucson is surrounded by desert mountains and rocky plains, and a huge percentage of the town’s homes are built in the desert. Tucson homes are designed and built to withstand intense sunshine and the dry, hot air it produces. Many homes in the area are built with stucco exteriors to provide resistance to the heat and dryness, as well as easy maintenance. However, newer homes in the area are now adapting designs with newer and bolder materials, with styles ranging from Mediterranean and modern to contemporary green homes.
Today’s home designs are also now taking advantage of the surrounding location of the home and incorporating these unique natural elements into the home’s architectural design—creating one-of-a-kind homes in touch with nature. These homes often highlight magnificent outdoor views with huge windows, indoor-outdoor living areas, and landscaped gardens.
This list features the best residential architects in Tucson who have designed many of the city’s most stunning residences. These architects were evaluated based on their awards and recognition, accreditations and industry affiliations, overall quality of projects, customer reviews, and years in business, among other criteria. These architects have demonstrated their expertise in designing homes that perfectly blend form and function.
This list includes both licensed architects and residential designers who can both design stunning homes but differ in other services offered. Architects are trained in design, engineering, and project management and have passed a licensing exam. Residential designers typically don’t manage projects and plans will need to be approved by a structural engineer. Whether you choose to hire an architect or a residential designer will depend on your project needs and complexity.
Eglin + Bresler Architects
7391 East Tanque Verde Rd., Tucson, AZ 85715
For almost four decades, Eglin + Bresler Architects has provided Tucson clients with innovative and cost-effective design solutions. The company’s team has knowledge and skill in multiple facets of design. From residential to commercial projects, Eglin + Bresler Architects can create sustainable and high-quality designs through its highly collaborative approach. This ensures a smooth process between the clients, designers, contractors, and jurisdictional agencies. Evan S. Eglin, one of the company’s principal architects, is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) NCARB and is a licensed architect in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Co-principal Tayana L. Bresler is also a member of the AIA and Evidence-Based Design Assessment and Certification (EDAC) and is a LEED accredited professional licensed in Arizona and Colorado.
The Tucson Mountains Residence, perched on a hillside overlooking the Tucson Metropolitan area, is among the firm’s most impressive projects. The home is designed to frame the stunning views surrounding the home. It also features an infinity pool and a massive backyard with a fire pit.
4847 N. Circulo Bujia Tucson, AZ 85718
Led by Gideon Danilowitz, GIDEON-D Architects is one of the most reputable architecture firms serving clients in Tucson. Danilowitz received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan and has over a decade of experience in residential and commercial architecture. He has worked for numerous award-winning firms including Paulett Taggart Architects in San Francisco, dU Architects in Venice, California, Roger Ferris + Partners in Westport, Connecticut, and Seaver Franks Architects in Tucson. His years of experience working with these known architecture firms has honed his expertise in design, which translates into the firm’s outstanding projects.
In one of its projects, the team opened the kitchen to the living area to achieve an open concept floor plan. GIDEON-D Architects removed the walls and added a large kitchen island. Upon completion, the remodeled kitchen features a wood backsplash, white kitchen cabinets and countertops, dark blue cabinets for the island, and orange chairs and light fixtures for a contemporary look.
HK Associates Inc.
3514 N Olsen, Tucson, AZ 85719
HK Associates believes that thoughtful design can improve your quality of life and views each project as an opportunity to create something meaningful. Founded by wife and husband team Kathy Hancox and Michael Kothke, this award-winning firm strives to create elegant, honest designs through a creative approach. Prior to starting the company, both Hancox and Kothke followed independent career paths working for recognized architecture firms in Canada and the U.S. Throughout its years in business, the firm has garnered multiple awards and recognitions, including the 2019 AIA Young Architects Award, the 2019 AIA Arizona Interior Architecture Citation Award, the Novum Gold Design Award 2019, and more.
Among the firm’s projects is the Courtyards House. This house is situated in a nondescript subdivision on Tucson’s eastside. The home’s living spaces are contained by six individual courtyards, specifically xeriscaped with southern Arizona specimens. The Courtyards House also serves as a gallery for the client’s collection of paintings and photographs by Tucson artists. This project received the AIA Southern Arizona 2016 Honor Award for Distinguished Architecture.
Ibarra Rosano Design Architects
2849 E Sylvia St., Tucson, AZ 85716
Ibarra Rosano Design Architects is an internationally recognized award-winning architectural design firm. This Tucson-based firm was founded by Luis Ibarra and Teresa Rosano (AIA, LEED AP), who are graduates of the University of Arizona College of Architecture. Two years later, Architecture Magazine published their first project and recognized them among the elite group, “The Arizona School.” Over the years the firm continued to catch the attention of the print media: their projects have been featured in over 200 publications in over 20 countries.
With over 60 national and international design awards, their work has served as the backdrop for media campaigns and in the foreground on HGTV’s Extreme Homes. Additionally, the firm has been a three-time nominee for the prestigious Smithsonian Institute Cooper Hewitt National Design Award.
Kevin B. Howard Architects
8339 N Oracle Rd., Tucson, AZ 85704
Specializing in modern homes in the middle of the desert, Kevin B. Howard Architects has built a reputation for designing stunning residences for clients throughout Tucson, Phoenix, and Scottsdale. What started as a small architecture firm has now become a building, construction, and design company. Founder Kevin B. Howard has a passion for designs that are site-specific and sustainable. The team redefines the relationship between built form and nature—focusing on all of the influences on a site: the flora, the fauna, the topography, even the orientation of the sun. A member of The American Institute of Architects (AIA), the National Kitchen and Bath Association, and the UA CAPLA, the firm has received numerous Tucson Home of the Year Awards from Tucson Lifestyle & Southern Arizona AIA and awards from Southern Arizona AIA Distinguished Building Awards.
Among the firm’s collection of impressive projects is the Sabino Springs Estates. Designed and built by Kevin B. Howard Architects, this stunning project was featured on Luxe Interiors + Design in 2016. The owner wanted a home that is modern and minimalist—a box that seemed to have landed in the desert. The owner also wanted vast views but required no sunlight as it would harm their valuable art collection. Upon completion, the firm was able to deliver this through a series of juxtaposed shadow boxes with glass panes deeply recessed into thick walls. The art collection was placed in a two-story atrium space connecting the lower level entry to the living space above. The home’s main living and dining spaces face south, with gorgeous views of the desert. This project was completed in 2016 and cost more than $2 million.
Lee Shaw Architecture, LLC
7112 N Edgewood Pl, Tucson, AZ 85704
Lee Shaw, founder and principal designer of Lee Shaw Architecture, has more than three decades of experience in the design industry. Shaw was in the Master of Architecture Program at The University of New Mexico and has a degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M University. Prior to the firm’s founding, Shaw worked for internationally-acclaimed interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux in New York as well as other architecture firms in New York, New Mexico, and Arizona. His years of experience inform all of the company’s projects, many of which have been featured in various publications including BizTucson, Albuquerque Sunday Journal, New Mexico Magazine, Su Casa Magazine, and Architectural Digest. His partner, and principal architect of the firm, Benjamin Vogel has over 35 years of experience in the architecture and construction industry. In addition to his architectural license, Benjamin holds a building contractor’s license and brings that practical perspective to the firm.
Photo by Velen Chan, VWC Studio
One of the company’s impressive projects is this Southwestern home in Tucson. Designed with Rick Ansaldi, the home features steel windows, Monterey-style custom cabinetry, and smooth plaster walls for its exterior and interiors. Hand-hewn beams add architectural interest for the living and dining area, as well as the beautiful concrete tile floors.
Repp + Mclain Design and Construction
2502 N 1st Ave Tucson, AZ 85719
Repp + Mclain design and construction provides a full range of architectural and construction services for private, public, and commercial clients. Founded in 1996, the company has been adept in design + build methodology, fusing modern desert design and desert construction techniques.
Page W. Repp, Jr. AIA, company founder, holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Arizona. As a contractor, he devotes his time to constructing and managing each project to ensure a hands-on approach. His skills as a designer and builder enable the firm to deliver quality services. Rick Mclain, AIA, joined Repp as a partner of the company in 2008, working as both an architect and construction manager. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture with a Minor in Business Administration from the University of Arizona and a Master of Science from the Department of Architecture at MIT.
Under their leadership, the company has completed numerous projects that have caught the eye of prominent publications and magazines including Sources for Design, Tucson Lifestyle Home & Garden, remodeling, Desert Living, and the Arizona Daily Star.
Rob Paulus Architects
990 E 17th St. Suite #100, Tucson, AZ 85719
Rob Paulus Architects is a multi-awarded architecture firm that creates inspiring, sustainable environments that improve the human experience. Focused on designs that integrate people with nature, the firm works at a variety of scales from energy efficient single family homes to mixed use urban housing that promote the positive effect of nature on the quality of our lives. The firms collaborative approach to design relies on a sculptural composition–crafting spaces that are pleasing and functional while employing innovative and sustainable practices.
Rob Paulus Architects provided major updates to an existing residence to open up the interiors and create indoor-outdoor living spaces for The Canopy house in Tucson. Using a reductive approach on the interior, the team removed walls to improve the functions of the house while opening up to a new exterior living room shaded by a large canopy. A natural material and color palette dominates the new scheme with an emphasis on Douglas Fir wood that was influenced by the clients desire to create nature inspired spaces. This natural material and color palette dominates the scheme and is used throughout the project to reverberate the clients functional and inspirational desires.
Robinette Architects, Inc.
1670 E River Rd. Suite #112, Tucson, AZ 85712
In business since 1984, Robinette Architects has earned the trust of many clients throughout Southern Arizona for delivering high-quality services. The company is a full-service firm specializing in architectural design work as well as interior design services. Rob Robinette, company founder, leads Robinette Architects with over 30 years of experience and over 300 completed projects. Along with his team of seasoned architects and designers, the company’s projects often qualify for LEED certification for employing green building practices. Robinette’s many years of experience and design expertise have also brought the company numerous awards and features from prominent publications. These awards include the LTG Lifestyle Awards 2018-19 Residential Architecture Firm of the Year, the 2019 Build Architecture Award in the category of Best Contemporary Home Design, among others.
Among the company’s impressive list of projects is the Stone Canyon home IV. This stunning home features a contemporary curvy home with a stone exterior and floor-to-ceiling glass walls on one side facing the pool. Inside the home, a beautiful stone fireplace sits in the middle of the property, accentuated by a wood pallet ceiling throughout. Other beautiful design features of the home include the contemporary stone pool and the cozy indoor-outdoor seating area.
Secrest Architecture LLC
Tucson, Arizona 85718
Secrest Architecture is an award-winning design studio that provides full architecture services from schematic design to completion. Embracing the warm climate and constructing designs based on the unique desert environment, the company specializes in unique living spaces that do not try to mimic historic styles. Steve Secrest, company founder, earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Arizona and has worked for several well-known firms in Southern Arizona. Throughout the years, the firm has garnered numerous awards from publications including Tucson Lifestyle Home and Garden, Architectural Record, Sources + Design, Tucson Home, and Modern Lux Housing.
Among the firm’s notable projects is the Silvertree Residence. The firm redesigned the previous Mediterranean 1970s home and improved its layout. The previously inaccessible floor plan of the home was transformed into a more open layout with a remodeled kitchen and dining room placed around a new three-sided fireplace. The new living spaces open the home to the outdoor areas through its floor-to-ceiling windows and large sliding glass door in the living room. The result is a beautiful home that blends perfectly with its surroundings.
Seaver Franks Architects
2552 N. Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85712
In business for over four decades, Seaver Franks Architects has demonstrated its capability to deliver innovative, timeless design throughout Southern Arizona. Since its inception, the company has been committed to cutting-edge design that reflects, respects, and enhances the surrounding area of every project, including significant natural and man-made features. The result is a well-blended incorporation of design elements with the unique architectural flavor of the Southwest.
Throughout the years, the firm has received numerous awards for its excellent projects in the residential and commercial sectors. Among these are the Honor Award for Design Excellence and the Merit Award for Design Excellence from the AIA and Luxe Magazine RED Award, among many others.
Michael Franks, principal of Seaver Franks Architects, is a registered architect in several states. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Arizona State University and has been in the industry for over 40 years. Franks is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the United States Green Building Council.
7230 N La Cañada Dr., Tucson, AZ 85704
Soloway Designs is an award-winning architecture and interior design firm serving residential and commercial clients worldwide. Company founder Marc Soloway (AIA) is a graduate of the University of Arizona Architecture Program. He emphasizes client involvement in each project to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that the results are what the client envisioned. Over the years, the firm has completed over 1000 projects, ranging from small additions and remodels to multimillion-dollar luxury homes and commercial projects.
From modern home design and Mediterranean architecture to Southwest contemporary, desert modern, and eco-friendly home designs, the Soloway Designs team is highly skilled and experienced in various home styles. The firm along with its’ sister firm Celaya Soloway Interiors is a member of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), AIA, National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), and AIA Arizona and has won numerous awards including the Scottsdale AZ Street of Dreams Best Architecture Award, NAHB’s Best in American Living Award, and CBIA’s Golden Nugget–Best in the West Award.
Stephen C. Bohn, Architect, Inc.
2034 E 7th St., Tucson, AZ 85719
Established in 1988, Stephen C. Bohn Architect has provided architectural services for residential and commercial projects throughout Tucson and the surrounding areas in Southern Arizona. Since its founding, the company has completed over 450 projects and has established relationships with interior designers, builders, and clients. Many of the firm’s projects have received awards as well as features from numerous publications including Sunset, Phoenix Home and Garden, Tucson Lifestyle Home and Garden, Remodeled Homes, Arizona Daily Star, and Desert Leaf.
One of its projects is a Mediterranean-style custom home in the Canyons. The 7,000-square-foot home features a beige exterior, clay tile roofing, and a small man-made pond. It also features numerous windows throughout the home which invite lots of natural light into the residence.
Warren Architecture, LLC
4430 W Westhaven Cir. Tucson, AZ 85745
From the Southwest deserts to New England coasts, Warren Architecture has repeatedly proven its expertise in designing a wide array of styles for various projects. Company founder Patricia Warren says that “the most important thing an architect can do is listen.” Warren puts a premium on designing spaces according to what the client needs. In almost 40 years of being in the design industry, Warren has perfected her craft as an architect—designing homes and vacation homes, formal dining rooms and libraries, great rooms and family rooms, kitchen and bathroom remodels, sunroom additions, master bedrooms, patios, decks, and front entries.
The design process starts with an interview to determine the client’s visions—ensuring a collaborative process between the architect, client, and builder. Warren Architecture works closely with the contractor to ensure that the result would be what the client has envisioned and at the price they expected.
William L. Ford, Architect and Associates, LLC (WLFA)
1227 N 3rd Ave., Tucson AZ 85705
Since 1986, William L. Ford, Architect and Associates has delivered high-quality architectural services for residential, commercial, retail, and historic restoration projects. The company specializes in Southwestern design and environmentally sustainable architecture and is known for its expertise in hillside design and fitting a new building into an urban setting or a remote site. The energy design tools that the company employs include passive and active solar gain, passive cooling, radiant slab heating, thermal massing, daylight design, and highly insulated wall and roof systems.
Among its notable projects is the Sky Canyon—a gorgeous home built on a steep hillside property. This home exemplifies the company’s design expertise due to its challenging location. The design team included a negative edge pool and a two-stage sand filter waste disposal system. Other beautiful design features of the home include the beautiful stone fireplace, wood ceiling beams, and the spacious living space and exterior seating areas.
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