Characterized by major mountain ranges, large lakes, and sprawling green forests, Upstate New York is a region notable for the many sights and features afforded by the area. It comprises cities like Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Utica, and Binghamton, all notable for their wonderful neighborhoods lined with historical architecture, great schools, and even plenty of job opportunities for those looking to live long term in the region.
With the region’s stunning sights and wealth of opportunities, the city is one of the best areas to call home. It experiences the full beauty of all four seasons and is lined with charming towns that are bound to make you fall in love with New York. If you’re looking to settle in the area, here are the top 20 best residential architects in Upstate New York.
In. Site: Architecture
2 Borden Ave. #202, Perry, NY 14530
In. Site: Architecture is an award-winning firm that has been around since 2001. For 20 years now, it has been designing stunning homes in the area, often beginning with a deep investigation of the site to fully capture the essence of the home to be built. Each project is completed with the help of its highly talented team made up of many Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-accredited pros that apply sustainable design solutions in each project.
This team is led by Rick Hauser AIA LEED AP and Ali Yapicioglu AIA. Rick has a background in landscape architecture and architecture from Cornell and UVA, meanwhile, Ali has education and experience that spans several countries and regions. They are joined by a talented team that together has turned In. Site: Architecture into the firm that it is today.
Above is an example of the firm’s award-winning work, the littleHOUSE project. It is a modest dwelling built to Passive House standards. This 1,200-square-foot home was created as an extension of the family’s homestead and occupies a small clearing near a deep forest. Every inch of this house was thoughtfully built, even its location and positioning perched near a forest to allow the children to explore. The house is even angled in such a way that it catches winter solar rays, earth-bermed to enhance insulation and even silence road noise. This beautiful home, located in Big Flats, NY, won the 2021 New York State AIA Design Award and the 2018 Rochester AIA Honor Award.
Balzer & Tuck Architecture
468 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Based in Saratoga Springs, Balzer & Tuck Architecture provides the New York area with award-winning designs as it works hand in hand with homeowners, designers, builders, and developers to execute the exact vision of the project, be it a single or multi-family residence or an adaptive mixed-use space. For its great work in residential projects, Balzer & Tuck Architecture has even received recognitions like the 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2015 AIA Eastern New York Honor Award 2020 as well as the AIA New York State Single Family Residential Citation Design Award for the project featured below.
Pictured is the State Street Residence, a modern home design that Balzer & Tuck Architecture worked on in Saratoga Springs. The client wanted a modern home that still respected the traditional, historic fabric of the neighborhood it’s in, resulting in a truly unique and beautiful design solution. The exterior is a more contemporary take on the traditional gable roof structure, with a screened porch that connects the home to the street. Meanwhile, inside is a stunning modern masterpiece. The first floor has polished concrete floors, a board-formed concrete fireplace, and 12-foot high ceilings. It even has a wood and steel staircase that seems to float up to the second floor where the more private spaces are located. This stunning 5,400-square-foot home also features an outdoor shower and sauna, a 32 kW photovoltaic solar panel roof, and a geothermal heating and cooling system, making it not just a sight to behold but also a very comfortable place to live in.
Abstract Architecture, PC
313 Broadway, Buffalo, NY 14204
Although Abstract Architecture is relatively young, it was founded on over a decade of experience in all aspects of the building industry. Guided by its founder, Michael Anderson LEED AP BD+C, it advocates for smart and environmentally-sustainable techniques and sensitive architectural principles, shaped by its existing surroundings and the client goals and budget.
One example of this in practice is the Elma Retreat project featured above. It is located some 1500 feet from the road and was designed to recreate the sensation of a peaceful retreat, a “departure from the daily grind.” The home features a lot of shared open spaces where the family can bond and host gatherings in, with the front and rear exterior patios functioning as extensions of these living areas. What makes this home most exciting, however, is how the private spaces are laid out to simulate an atmosphere that is separate from the noises of the outside world. The finishes throughout the house also reinforce a warm and peaceful environment with exquisite wood panelling, wallpapers, and decorative stones lining the house. The home also has strategically placed windows that welcomes in the sunlight and the beauty of the woods beyond.
John Wingfelder Architect
2495 Main St. Suite 541, Buffalo, NY 14214
When it comes to exceptional homes, John Wingfelder Architect has got your back. Founded in 2002, it is a small architecture studio that takes the time to truly understand the specific requirements of each client and the site they are going to build upon. Each project in the firm’s portfolio can be characterized by its elegant solutions to particularly complex problems in order to create homes that are truly unique to the client.
Most notable of John Wingfelder Architect’s work is the Gallery House featured below. In one of Buffalo’s historic urban districts, John Wingfelder transformed what was once a run-of-the-mill 1930s house with limited daylight into an art lover’s dream home. The facade of the home still kept some of its original architectural identity but sets itself apart from its conventional neighboring houses with its modern landscape design.
This project speaks for the firm’s ability to adapt to certain design challenges and turn them into unique design opportunities. From the facade, the home looks like a modern take on a traditional home. But inside is a crisp and modern masterpiece with abundant daylight and plenty of spaces to accommodate the homeowner’s vast collection of artworks. The house itself is divided mainly into three zones, mainly the center hall lined with rooms on either side, a private rear garden with full glass walls, and the upper floors accessed through a central atrium space with a skylit staircase, bringing in a lot of the sun into the heart of the house. The landscape design consultant for the project is Oscar Traynor with Studio T3.
Holmes ▪ King ▪ Kallquist & Associates, Architects, LLP
575 North Salina St., Syracuse, NY 13208
For 40 years and counting, Holmes, King, Kallquist & Associates has been designing award-winning structures throughout the United States, specializing in historic preservation, residential, commercial, civic buildings, and interior design. Since its establishment, it has constantly been in pursuit of producing high-quality craftsmanship and detailing with every design. By valuing substantial input and involvement from the client, the company makes sure that each home they build is a unique synthesis of the client’s needs, the site, and the team’s expertise.
One of the firm’s founding partners, Leif Kallquist, R.A.,A.I.A., is one of the partners that guides the firm’s work on residential design and unique development opportunities. He’s been in the custom architectural sector for over 35 years which has shaped his knowledge in both commercial and high-end residential work. When it comes to residences, he is particularly interested in log and timber frame homes, which shows in the Timber Frame Lake House project featured below.
Found in a previously developed lakefront lot in a tree-lined village street, this sprawling house was designed based on the aesthetic tradition of shingle and stick that has defined American resort architecture for generations. This gorgeous, earth-toned home was planned around a tucked-in corner entry, leading into the great room, with a library and office to the left, and the dining area, staircase, and service spaces to the right. The kitchen even features a stunning 180-degree view of the lake with big windows throughout the house that welcome the surrounding lush greenery enveloping this lakeside home. For its beauty and functionality, this project actually received the 2013 Design Award for Residential Single Family Detached category from the Central New York AIA.
SD Atelier Architecture L.L.C.
511 Broadway Second Floor, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
SD Atelier Architecture LLC is a local architecture firm headquartered in Saratoga Springs. Sue Davis first founded the company back in 1992 before Donald Davis joined in to combine his expertise in the architecture and planning industry. Together, apart from creating beautiful and well-designed residential projects, the firm is also known for its municipal and commercial projects like the Burnt Hills Veterinary Clinic, the Malta Ambulance Facility, and the Theater Building for the Oscar Seagle Colony in Schroon Lake.
As an example of the firm’s residential handiwork, featured above is the Spruce Mountain Lane Residence, a warm and welcoming home designed to blend in seamlessly with the site overlooking Lake George. In order to create harmony between the built structure and the surrounding woods, the home features natural stone, timber accents, cedar shakes, and fiber cement board on the outside, while the interior of the home has ample space for multiple families to enjoy the indoors with maximum view of the lake. With this project located on the side of a hill, the design of this house takes full advantage of the natural land features while still following APA height regulations.
49 Front St. Second Floor, Ballston Spa, NY 12020
Verdant Architecture is a relatively new architecture firm that offers clients a fresh perspective when it comes to building their homes. Established in 2017, Verdant Architecture provided clients with a healthy and efficient design through a fluid process in order to see their unique goals for their home come to life.
An example of Verdant Architecture’s expertise in residential properties is this Forest Grove project featured above. This farmhouse-inspired home can be found among the trees of Greenfield Center, New York with a striking facade that mimics the greenery surrounding it. Inside, the home has a clean and efficient interior flow within its modest two-story frame. It also features a shaded patio and a walk-out basement surrounded by the forest which provides a great view of the woods as well as a sense of privacy and seclusion.
Greater Living Architecture, P.C.
3033 Brighton Henrietta Town Line Rd., Rochester, NY 14623
For over 50 years, Greater Living Architecture has been serving western NY and beyond with unique designs tailored to each client. Its talented and tenured team has shaped the neighborhoods in the Northeast with thousands of custom homes, additions, and renovations. Regardless of size, every project offers great creative attention to detail with the client’s best interest in mind.
One example of that is this lovely residential stock plan named “The Cedarville”. This traditional craftsman-style home features a huge open living space inside, with wood and stone detailing found throughout the public spaces. Each nook and cranny of this house has a homey, welcoming atmosphere that is a delight to come home to. The large outdoor, two-story covered patio is the perfect place where the homeowners can entertain guests or simply hang out with the family with views of the surrounding greenery.
277 Alexander St. Suite 407, Rochester, NY 14607
With every project, Edge Architecture strives to understand the client’s dream. From the initial design to the finished product, clients can expect that the team will provide open and honest communication to see the client’s dreams turn into reality.
The firm is led by president and CEO Allen Rossignol AIA LEED AP. He established Edge Architecture with the goal of forwarding principles of sustainable design. He has since applied green practices on a day-to-day basis in each project throughout western New York and New England.
One example of the firm’s residential projects in Upstate New York is this Brighton Home project. This house features modern construction, sustainable design elements, and even plans ahead for the future. The firm included full accessibility to specific functional needs on the first floor for the convenience of an aging owner, and also included bedrooms, bath, and loft areas for the leisure of the teens living in the house. Brighton Home is also a testament to Edge Architecture’s work on green design with its geothermal system, high-efficiency windows, recycled content within its materials, and even use of other renewable and sustainable materials inside.
1300 University Ave., Rochester, NY 14607
With a unique focus on adaptability for the most unpredictable business environments, Hanlon Architects has been providing all aspects of design to its clients since its establishment in 1994. Its design approach, whether it’s for corporate projects or residential homes, is primarily client-driven and relies heavily on the strong communication skills and deep experience of its 16-member team. The goal with each project is always to create a space that supports and inspires its occupants.
For example, featured above is the West Lake Road Project, a single-family residential project found in Canandaigua, New York. This lovely home is designed with consideration of the lake nearby. To maximize 360 views of the surrounding woods and water, large windows frame the house, giving the spaces ample daylight, while the layout of the home enables the homeowners to enjoy the lakeside property with a small bridge connecting the main house to an outbuilding on the other side.
553 Rowe Road, Feura Bush, NY
For 32 years now, Wallant Architecture has been creating original residential and commercial designs for the residents of New York. Its impressive portfolio is lined with a diverse set of projects, ranging from single and multi-family residential all the way to adaptive reuse of a 150-year-old firehouse. Be it commercial or residential, Wallant Architects assures quality in each step of the way, as proven by the awards it has received from the AIA and its features on notable publications like Builder Magazine and Hudson Valley Magazine.
Featured above is the breathtaking Saratoga Lake House, a testament to Wallant’s knack for careful detailing of traditional materials. This classic Shingle Style home is warm and inviting throughout every nook and cranny, from the solid cherry paneling throughout the first floor, to the coffered ceilings and timber accents.
16 Pitkin St. Suite 100, Rochester, NY 14607
With over 30 years of experience, Architectura, PC stands as an accomplished and experienced architectural firm known for its high-quality designs and enthusiastic service. It is also notably a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) led by Jennifer Takatch, AIA, who has over 35 years of experience in architecture and interior design. She serves as the company’s Principal and Project Manager, while Scott Powell AIA serves as Principal and Code Review, focusing on administration, project management, and project design.
Each project the firm’s portfolio is characterized by its distinct designs that positively impact the community it’s in. One example of that in the residential side of things is the Silver Lake Residence pictured above. It’s a new 4,000-square-foot family retreat and vacation home found in Silver Lake, New York. With stunning views of the lakes from the balcony and patio of each bedroom, this vacation home offers the family a home that takes full advantage of nature beyond. The house also blends well with its surroundings thanks to complementary finishes like tile, wood, and stone detailing throughout the home on top of having the columns, brackets, fireplace hearth, and bar made out of the salvaged Tamarack trees around the property.
Design Works Architecture, P.C.
6 N. Main St. #104, Fairport NY 14450
Design Works Architecture helps their clients tell their stories through their building. Upon completion, the goal is to always bring delight to the end-users and create a lasting positive imprint on them. When it comes to designing, Design Works Architecture strives to follow the three Vitruvian principles of Architecture: firmness, commodity, and delight. Likewise, it values good structural integrity, the usability of the building, and of course, maximizing the opportunities offered by the site.
This can be seen especially in the firm’s Lantern in the Woods project in Victor, New York. This Adirondack-style home was built into a hillside around a wooded area. With the landscape that it’s built on, the firm designed the house with guest rooms on the lower part of the home while the rear yard has a timber porch and an outdoor fireplace perfect for the area’s climate.
Chianis + Anderson Architects, PLLC
31 Front St., Binghamton, NY 13905
Chianis + Anderson Architects, PLLC is an experienced and imaginative full-service architectural firm founded in 2001, with Partners Greg A. Chianis, AIA, Todd J. Anderson, AIA, and Jeffery T. Smith, AIA, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) at the helm. They are joined by an energetic team that is devoted to creating wonderfully-built environments that forward their ambition in enhancing communities and improving people’s quality of life. On that note, it also strives to be environmentally conscious in its practice with the help of its LEED-accredited professionals in staff which guide the design towards high efficiency and cost-saving architecture.
Above is the Resident House project, a 5,500-square-foot testament to the firm’s commitment to helping its community. For this project, the team provided full architectural and interior design services for a new residential building for an organization serving people with developmental disabilities. With that in mind, this single-story structure has two apartments on either side of the main core, with a shared kitchen, laundry, and various staff support services in the middle, making up an efficient space where the residents and members of the organization can move around comfortably.
59 Mill Hill Road, Woodstock, NY 12498
Walker Architecture is a collaborative practice between father and son, Lester and Jess Walker. This full-service architecture office has been practicing architecture as a functional art form for decades now and has been designing for a diverse set of projects, ranging from large commercial buildings to multifamily residential and iconic single-family homes around the country.
This expertise is backed by the duo’s rich experience in the industry. Jess Walker RA LEED AP has over 20 years of experience with planning, design, presentation, and construction of projects, and has even participated in the design and construction management of many landmarks nationwide with his previous gigs. His father, Lester, has decades of experience working as an architect and manager, and throughout his career, he has written 8 architecture books, has been published in magazines and papers worldwide, and has even lectured in several esteemed American universities.
The firm’s impressive portfolio displays its love of modern and refined aesthetic, and the Woodstock project is one example featured above. Even with its adherence to modern aesthetics, the team still considered the vernacular of the project’s site, what makes the site unique, and how the building could improve it. In the case of this modern home, the dark wooden house poses as a striking and beautiful contrast against the greenery of the forest surrounding it. Large windows line the walls of the home as well, giving it access to the views beyond.
96 Philip St., Albany, NY 12202
Since its establishment in 2013, LEAP Architecture has been designing healthy spaces, both in the commercial and residential sectors. The firm was founded by Eric Davenport who wanted to share his passion for elegant and clean designs, green building practices, and creating spaces that serve the people. In its 8 years in the business, it has garnered extensive sustainable design experience, as seen in the firm’s portfolio that demonstrates passive solar designs that allow for winter solar heating and natural ventilation during the summer times.
One of its green projects in the residential sector is this modern, luxury farmhouse that beckons a lot of natural light into this home that was built with a mix of natural materials and textures. It also fits right into its surroundings with its farmhouse inspiration considering the farming heritage of the area it’s in. From the outside, this luxury farmhouse exudes a fresh, modern atmosphere while the inside is a light and airy environment with an open floor plan, a gorgeous eat-in kitchen, and a great room with a fireplace. With regards to green features, this entire home has geothermal heating and cooling which makes for an energy-efficient building design.
Rod A VanDerWater – Architect P.C.
7515 Morgan Road, Liverpool, NY 13090
Rod A VanDerWater – Architect P.C. is a highly experienced full-service architecture firm that sticks with the clients from the design phase all the way to the construction administration. With over 32 years of experience under its belt, the company was born out of the founder’s love of art, and since the company’s establishment, it has been building projects for a diverse group of clients that give the company its edge in the industry.
One example of the firm’s handiwork is this modern farmhouse project named Parade of Homes 2019. While it retains elements characteristic of a typical farmhouse, this modern home features stunning modern style choices both inside and outside. Some of these features include the airy open floor plan, the wood and stone detailing, and the crisp, clean lines found decorating the home.
50 Rt. 23A, Catskill, NY 12414
Up and coming Conklin Architecture is an ambitious architecture firm that has had its hand in designing a variety of spaces around Upstate New York. The firm was founded by Kevin Conklin who has decades of experience in architecture which has enabled his firm to thrive in building projects in various markets like education, hospitality, commercial, and residential.
A particularly striking example of his work is this Woodstock Farmhouse featured above. This 2000-square-foot new construction offers 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms inside this cozy, wooden farmhouse. The exterior communicates well with its wooded surroundings while the interior itself retains a lot of the wooden, earthy elements as well. The result is this warm and inviting home with a unique facade.
Jason K Demarest Architecture
950 Danby Road Suite 105, Ithaca, NY 14850
Jason K Demarest has been in the business since 1995, serving clients all over Central New York and beyond. Throughout its years in the architecture industry, it has designed for a wide array of projects in markets like custom residential, commercial, municipal, educational, and recreational industries.
One example of the firm’s residential work is the Kamarck Residence pictured above, a sprawling residential project found in Ithaca, NY. This single-family lakefront home is nestled atop a cliff overlooking Cayuga Lake. This home takes full advantage of its location with its gorgeous sitting rooms with just a wall of large windows offering a 180 view of the sights below. In an effort to embrace the environment, the firm opted for many wood and stone elements to build the home.
Hagan Architects, P.C.
180 Intrepid Lane, Syracuse, NY 13205
Hagan Architects is a family-run architecture firm under father-and-son team Jim and Kevin Hagan. Jim started the firm in 1987. His son Kevin is now his partner at the firm. Kevin has worked in the firm since 2007. The combined expertise from both first-generation and second-generation architects have resulted in exemplary design-build services, particularly for commercial and single-family residential projects in the Central New York Area. In each project, Hagan Architects provides its clients with the full package, helping them from the concept stage through to project completion.
One example of the firm’s residential work is this private residence in Brewerton, NY. This beautiful colonial-inspired home displays an impressive stone facade that is equal parts elegant and welcoming. Nestled in a location between water and an open area, this home takes full advantage of its beautiful surroundings with its many large windows that open up to the fresh air beyond.