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The Best Residential Architects in Union City, California

13 Min Read

Located in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, Union City is a developing area with a diverse population and growing economic capacity. The city is close to Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose, providing easy access to important urban hubs. Union City has a number of neighborhoods that are perfect for families. Residents and those looking to move to the city might want to consider hiring an architect to ensure a solid design process.

This list features Union City’s best residential architects. Firms on this list have extensive experience in California-appropriate home styles and environments. To come up with this list, our editorial team compiled a list of local architects and assessed each based on a set of criteria measuring each firm’s work history, capacity, and overall quality of work. 

Aidlin Darling Design

500 Third St., Ste. #410, San Francisco, CA 94107

For over 20 years, Aidlin Darling Design has pursued an architecture of restraint that enlightens the human spirit by engaging all of the senses. Co-founded by Joshua Aidlin and David Darling, the multidisciplinary practice uncovers the latent spirit of each project through rigorous site observation, intensive understanding of the program, and multidisciplinary collaboration. The firm’s passion for design excellence has resulted in hundreds of regional, national, and international awards, including seven National AIA Awards. In 2013, Aidlin Darling Design was bestowed a National Design Award from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for the firm’s full body of work, a prestigious award honoring impact, innovation and the enhancement of the quality of life. Multiple international and national design magazines—including Architectural Digest Italia, Architectural Record and Interior Design—are fond of the firm and its work.

Photo by Joe Fletcher.

Based in San Francisco, Aidlin Darling Design’s projects span across the United States, and as far as Doha and Hong Kong. The firm’s transdisciplinary approach allows them to take on diverse project types including schools, community centers, art galleries, contemplative spaces, restaurants, wineries, retail stores, furniture and residential commissions. In the featured project, High Desert Retreat, the firm designed a modest home on a rocky plateau overlooking the Coachella Valley and the San Jacinto Mountain Range. Tightly nestled within a constellation of boulders, the home performs as a simple framing device for the occupant to observe the dynamic surrounding terrain from within.

Andrew Morrall Architect

2739 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

Andrew Morrall is a San Francisco-based architect with a diverse background in architecture, design, and construction. Morrall went to the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago to study architecture. He practiced under the architectural offices of Howard Alan, Seymour Goldstein, and Lucien Lagrange. He was later joined by Bernard Tong, a University of Michigan and UC Berkeley alumnus. The combined efforts of the two have brought the firm major industry awards including in the NARI Entire House Remodel category from 2009 to 2012. 

The firm’s portfolio is a testament to its dependability and versatility. A collection of Contemporary and Modern homes make up the firm’s design arsenal. The photo shows a Contemporary home with strong sustainability efforts. The home has a staggering 1,520-square-feet of space with sustainable features such as solar panels, a stacked design, and drought-resistant landscaping.

Baran Studio Architecture

5621 Lowell St., Studio F, Oakland, CA 94608

Baran Studio Architecture is a forward-thinking architectural firm with a strong emphasis on flexible practices and methodologies. Founder and Company Principal Matt Baran established the firm in 2010 after working for 15 years in various practices. He graduated from UC Berkeley and gained teaching experience right after graduation. His technical and theoretical proficiencies give the firm a unique perspective on the design industry. Alongside him is a roster of talented architects and designers unafraid to make bold decisions. The firm has won the Pacific Coast Builders Conference Gold Nugget Award of Merit and a number of AIA East Bay Design Awards. 

As seen in various publications, the firm has completed great design in Los Angeles and Oakland counties. Projects completed by the firm include an impressive selection of Contemporary, Modern, and Midcentury homes. The home featured in the photo includes a tasteful selection of Contemporary elements framed by an elegant set of neutral colors and wooden tones.

Butler Armsden Architects

1420 Sutter St., First Floor, San Francisco, CA 94109

Established in 1985, Butler Armsden Architects is a high-caliber residential architecture firm with plenty of experience and a stellar reputation. The firm is based in San Francisco and works in the surrounding Bay Area counties. Founder and President Lewis Butler sees the firm as an extension of his expertise and unique approach to architecture. Under his leadership, the firm has developed a system that puts the quality of workmanship first. The firm has built a reputation for being diligent and professional. Butler Armsden has been featured in major publications including Livingetc, San Francisco Chronicle, enki, dwell, Vogue, and Casa Vogue.

The firm’s taste and skill can be seen in the top-tier projects it has completed. The Modern home in the photo is a hidden abode right in the forested stretch of the Valley of the Moon. The home’s stylish, unconventional silhouette gives the property a unique character. The home embraces the warmth and comfort of the secluded area through functional divisions and a pragmatic layout. 

Buttrick Projects Architecture+Design

1144 65th St., Ste. E, Oakland, CA 94608

For over 25 years, Buttrick Projects Architecture+Design has designed homes all over the Bay Area. Jerome Buttrick, a fourth-generation construction professional, takes charge of the company leadership. He is an experienced architect trained in the halls of Northwestern University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Under his leadership, the firm operates throughout the Bay Area. Buttrick’s distinctive taste was formed through Jerome’s personal design sensibilities and influences from music, art, and technology. The firm emphasizes the importance of open communication and responsive guidance in design. Buttrick also sees the importance of sustainability as the firm is a member of One Percent For The Planet.

The Buttrick portfolio is a collection of well-designed Modern and Contemporary homes tailor-fit to each client’s needs and lifestyle. The photo shows a 1920s-style home with three small structures on two adjacent parcels. Dubbed as The Art House, the project takes the liberty of using multiple materials such as Anodized Aluminum Windows, Corrugated Zinc Panels, and Limestone walls. This project indicates the firm’s boldness and skill.

David Baker Architects

461 Second St., Loft C127, San Francisco, CA 94107

2020 AIA California Firm Award-winning firm David Baker Architects is a progressive architectural studio operating in San Francisco, Oakland, and Birmingham, Alabama. David Baker, FAIA, is a veteran architect responsible for more than 13,000 homes, including a pipeline of more than 1,500 modular units. He is joined by a strong and diverse leadership team, including longtime co-principals Amanda Loper, AIA, and Daniel Simons, FAIA. The firm has created exceptional projects, site plans, and urban environments for almost four decades. DBA is a leader in affordable housing, modular design, and sustainable development. With refined design skills and a deep technical background, the firm’s work has been featured in many design publications, including Archinect, Arch Daily, Architect Magazine, and Metropolis.

The firm’s broad and deep portfolio testifies to their versatility, facility with complex projects, and refined design solutions. The featured project is high-density affordable housing bringing family homes, supportive services, and food resources to an underserved urban area.

Drafting Cafe Architects

3007 E 12th St., Oakland, CA 94601

Bay Area’s Drafting Cafe Architects is a customer-centered architectural design studio with dynamic energy and up-to-speed practices. Founded in 2010, the firm focuses on building top-quality projects in an efficient and sustainable manner. Ethan Anderson, founder and principal, makes sure that the firm puts the customer first in every project, and he has designed a project for HGTV’s Curb Appeal.

Under his leadership, the firm has completed multiple residential design projects that make quite the case for simplicity and elegance. The Menlo Park home in the photo is a great example. The home has a straightforward design that takes advantage of the sloped corner lot site and the lush green environment within the area. Drafting Cafe opted to follow prairie-style craftsman design cues with innovative configurations.

To see more of their work, visit

Feldman Architecture

1648 Pacific Ave., Ste. B, San Francisco, CA 94109

A firm updated with modern design practices and present time residential trends, Feldman Architecture is a well-loved firm operating in the San Francisco Bay Area. The firm is led by famed architect Jonathan Feldman and is best known for designing residential buildings that are equally creative and functional. Feldman Architecture has received attention from design and cultural publications including The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Hypebeast, Dwell, and Dezeen in its efforts to make top-tier quality homes. The firm has also gained numerous citations from relevant industry organizations such as The Chrysalis National Award.

Beyond the awards, accolades, and multiple books showcasing its works, the firm is well known for building picturesque Modern and Contemporary homes. Slot House, a Modern home in Los Altos Hills, is one of the firm’s defining works. The home follows the natural oak and chaparral landscape, creating a unique appeal.

Fougeron Architecture

521 Francisco St., San Francisco, CA 94133

Under the tutelage of renowned French-American architect Anne Fougeron, her namesake firm Fougeron Architecture has designed homes across the Bay Area since 1985. Anne has over 65 design awards, 23 exhibitions, and 22 design juries. She is best known for espousing clarity of thought, design integrity, and the quality of architectural detailing in her designs. Her firm follows these design virtues earnestly, which has led to multiple awards, including the AIA Residential Excellence Awards and California Presidential Citation Award. Fougeron has also captured the attention of major publications such as San Francisco Magazine, ArchDaily, and the New York Times.

The Fougeron portfolio presents a picture of the firm’s masterful skill and uncompromising vision. For over three decades, the firm has designed daring projects such as this 3,800-square-foot Fall House that was built directly on a  250-foot drop to the Pacific Ocean and the Translucence House—a playful take on privacy and transparency.

Geddes Ulinskas Architects

771 Clementina St., San Francisco, CA 94103

Geddes Ulinskas is a promising architect known for combining the disciplines of art and architecture in creating residential, commercial, and leisure spaces. Geddes has a strong training and background in the craft, having received a merit-based scholarship from the Pratt Institute. He has also worked under distinguished architects Ricardo Legorreta and Fumihiko Maki. Ulinskas handles the day-to-day operations of the firm and his team of brilliant architects and designers. The firm’s office is located at the historic Mills Tower in the Financial District. The Romanesque exterior of the building juxtaposes the modern interior of the Geddes Ulinskas Architects office. The interplay between modern and classical is central to the firm’s design processes and style. The firm has captured the attention of the media, including Architectural Digest, Forbes, and Curbed. 

The firm has an array of well-executed design work, everything from townhouses in San Francisco to penthouses that shelter art collections. The photo displays a 6,211-square-foot home dubbed the Sleek in the Presidio. The home has a modest monochromatic façade and a chic interior that prioritizes simplicity and comfort over opulence.

Hart Wright Architects

340 Potrero Ave., San Francisco, CA 94103

Green and sustainable architecture experts Hart Wright Architects take direct inspiration from California living when it comes to design. Founders and Principals Eliza Hart and Stuart Wright decided to make the state their home and their muse when they started the firm in 2006. Wright studied Architecture at the University of Michigan, and at Technical University in Vienna, Austria, then went on to earn a Master of Architecture at UCLA. Hart studied Environmental Studies and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and Master of Architecture and Master of Arts in Urban Planning at UCLA. The strong academic training of the firm’s leadership directly translates into sensible design, a design conscious of its impact on the environment.

As seen in the San Francisco Chronicle, Fine Homebuilding and other publications, the firm provides top-tier work that responds to the needs of clients. The featured project is a masterful use of aging-in-place design that brings comfort and ease to the homeowners without compromising the style and the stature of the home.

Harvey Architects

655 Butterfield Rd., San Anselmo, CA 94960

Since 1997, Harvey Architects has designed residential and commercial projects across the Bay Area. The firm is the brainchild of Lisa Harvey, an industry veteran of over 30 years. She went to California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo; years later, she established the namesake firm known by locals for being trustworthy and efficient. The firm also offers interior design consultation and project management to make the home design process seamless. Previous customers lauded the firm’s professionalism and skillful craftsmanship.

The firm’s record on residential design is proof of the firm’s diligence and pragmatism. The featured project is a home built in a defunct warehouse. The home includes a loft that provides cozy living with sleek design and strong considerations of functionality.

Ignition Architecture

2325 3rd St., Ste. #401, San Francisco, CA 94107

For over two decades, Ignition Architecture has brought a collaborative spirit and creative vision to the architectural scenes in Alameda and San Francisco area. The firm is in line with the new wave of architectural firms that handle the entire scope of residential architectural projects from pre-design to construction. Ignition received multiple awards and citations in its long years in the industry, including the Golden Nugget Merit Award and the Builder Magazine Award of Merit. The principal-in-charge Veronica Hinkley Reck is a veteran of almost three decades, and she has taken on leadership positions at multiple companies. She is hands-on in the building processes and in client relations; she sets the tone for the project and ensures that every detail is up to the client’s expectations. 

Ignition has a rich portfolio that shows versatility and knowledge in multiple market sectors from civic to housing to residential. The vertical home you see here is one of the firm’s best residential works. The home was built on a steep site in the Noe Valley neighborhood in San Francisco. Ignition took advantage of this structure and designed a three-story project that defines modern-day living.

Jensen Architects

833 Market St., Fl 7th, San Francisco, CA 94103

Jensen Architects is a contemporary architectural studio with a strong emphasis on combining art, architecture, and building technology. Mark Jensen, an AIA College of Fellows member, takes charge of the company leadership. Along with him is a set of co-principals that keep the firm up to date with the latest innovations and construction practices. The firm has gained strong momentum in the industry since it began operations in 1994. The firm won the coveted AIA Design Merit Award along with citations from Eater, A+U Magazine, Architectural Digest, and Dwell. The firm has a strong background in architectural and interior design, having worked in multiple market sectors, including cultural, retail, academic, and residential. 

The firm has an excellent record in residential design, and the Kokoris Residence is a benchmark for the kind of work the firm can produce. The project is set in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks neighborhood and inspired by the homeowner’s love for the jewel-box feel of a Los Angeles street front and Mid-century design.

Saikley Architects

2533 Clement Ave., Alameda, CA 94501

Alameda-based Saikley Architects is a design studio known for integrating four main themes in the process of design. Saikley emphasizes Ethical Practice, Thoughtful Impact, Experiential Design, and Excellence in Delivery in performing design projects. Alexandra Saikley, the company principal, was trained at MIT and UC Berkeley. She has in-depth knowledge in a wide range of architectural sectors, everything from historic preservation to complex design problem-solving. She is also on the Board of Advisors for the Diablo Valley College Architecture Design and Technology Program and the Build Beauty Program of Sant’Anna Institute in Naples, Italy. Saikley’s technical proficiency sets the bar for the firm’s ideals and pursuit of excellence. 

The firm’s portfolio of residential projects makes the case for the firm’s expertise. The hilltop contemporary home featured is a 2,300-square-foot home with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. The firm not only designed the home but also handled the negotiations for County approvals.