The Best Affordable Housing Architects in San Francisco

It is no secret that San Francisco is becoming an ever more expensive city to live in. And while all major metropolitan areas struggle with how to provide affordable housing, this is an increasingly urgent task for the city of San Francisco, especially as people continue to flock to the coastal city. Designing affordable housing adds extra considerations and complications – such as restricted budgets and the necessity of proximity to transportation. And given the nature of the housing problem in San Francisco, many of those individuals and families eligible for affordable housing have experienced homelessness at some point. This makes the provision of community services in these developments all the more important. Over the last few decades, there has been a move away from the isolated and concentrated method of American public housing, typified by towering low-income housing buildings, often in crime-ridden neighborhoods. Rather, the trend is towards incorporating these units into mixed-income areas and integrating them into the communities. Included on this list are eight architects who have met the tough challenge of designing dignified and innovative affordable housing for the area.

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The Best Multi-Family Housing Architects in San Francisco

With a population growing as rapidly as that in San Francisco, building sufficient housing for the influx of residents is an important, but difficult, task. The crowded neighborhoods and natural geography of the city itself poses significant challenges. Add to that the need to consider how to design a building that matches the scale and architecture of its surrounding, adds to the urban community, contains sufficient amenities for its residents, and allows for future growth. Included in this list are architects who have accepted and excelled at overcoming these challenges. You will find beautiful up-scale townhomes, skyrises with luxury condominiums, community based housing for low-income families, student housing, and everything in between. Below are 11 of the best multi-family architecture practices in San Francisco.

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The Best Restaurant Architects

San Francisco has one of the country’s best food scenes. So it is only fitting that these restaurants have top-notch designs. Luckily, the city has a handful of architects who specialize in restaurant design, with portfolios of award-winning bars, lounges, and restaurants. In this list, you’ll find a little of everything: barbecue joints, exclusive wine tasting lounges, upscale French restaurants, and even what may be the most green cafe in the city. Included in this list are 3 James Beard award winners, many AIA recognized architects and the firm that designed what Thrillist named the best-designed restaurant in the country.  

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The Best Green Architects in San Francisco

California has long been at the forefront of sustainability and green practices. So it is of little surprise that California is home to more winners of the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Awards than any other state, nearly 3x as many. And a number of these architects are based in San Francisco. The city’s commitment to environmental responsibility makes it a key testing ground for the newest sustainable building and design practices. This list features ten of San Francisco’s top green architects.

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The Best Design + Build Firms in San Francisco

When designing a new building or doing an extensive remodel, the typical process is to hire an architect, and later hire a general contractor to actually build what the architect has drawn up. However, there is a new model of construction that is becoming increasingly popular: design/build firms. Rather than using two separate companies, design/build firms let clients hire one company to take care of the entire project – from the beginning design stages through final construction. These full-service practices often have both experienced architects and contractors on their staff, as well as interior designers and even landscape architects. It’s like a ‘one-stop-shop’ for your building needs.  The seven practices featured here are the top design/build firms in the Bay Area. 

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The Best Commercial Architects in San Francisco

The San Francisco skyline is changing by the month. The buildings that define the city’s built environment are in flux whether directly or indirectly in relationship to the surrounding structures. We looked into the architects that are responsible for building commercial and large-scale residential projects around the city and ranked them. Architects on this list include those from around the world that have designed buildings in San Francisco, and considers projects that have been designed but not constructed. The list is full of starchitects and local heroes. Below you can see the architects we feel have made the biggest impact on San Francisco, their bio’s, accolades, and the buildings that got them there.

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The Best Residential Architects in San Francisco

The fabric of the City is in a constant state of flux; changing preferences and tastes influence how we live, work and play and place new demands on the buildings and open spaces that define the City. The resulting eclectic mix of modern, cutting edge designs and classic Victorian architecture define the essence of the storied “City by the Bay”.

The natural landscape of San Francisco, with its rolling hills and surrounding water, provide a defined and limited canvas for innovative and creative architects. While steep sites offer dramatic views of the city, mountains, and ocean, they also create a test of technical abilities for an architect. With very few opportunities for new builds in San Francisco, architects are called upon to creatively renovate classic, often narrow residences to adapt to current preferences. Further adding to the unique challenges and opportunities, the Bay Area has focused on sustainability and green design, in many cases long before the rest of the country started to pay attention to these issues.

As new and significant wealth has flowed into the city from technology and entrepreneurial companies the pace of new building has accelerated in recent years. This new market of buyers who can afford to use the latest and best building practices, materials, and architects is changing the skyline and hillsides of San Francisco once again.

We looked at over 2,000 Architects in San Francisco and picked the 15 best residential architects in San Francisco.

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