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The Best Residential Architects and Designers in San Jose, California

November 21, 2019 19 Min Read

Many have debated San Jose’s architecture. Some say it lacks aesthetically pleasing architectural styles compared to other California cities because of its redevelopment since the 1950s; others see the beauty of late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century styles in the homes located in a handful of San Jose’s historic districts. Despite these opinions, San Jose continues to attract homeowners that contribute to the city’s eclectic residential architecture scene.

Here is a list of 15 architects that can help design your San Jose home. These architects are adept in any style, including the classic Craftsman, the Mission Revival, the Prairie style, and the Queen Anne-style Victorian, as well as more modern profiles like the Eichler and contemporary ranch. Sustainability is a priority for many of these firms. Our team researched and selected the best based on their credentials, their versatility in project types, their work history, their principals, their awards, and the attention they’ve received from the press.

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.

360 Design Studio

1491 Ben Roe Dr., Los Altos, CA 94024

360 Design Studio is an architectural firm motivated by its belief that it has a responsibility to provide for the needs of its clients and the environment. Its goal is to build an understanding with a homeowner, taking the time to get to know their design and architecture needs. Doing so, ultimately, ends in a greener home. This take on sustainability gives 360 Design Studio the edge as one of Los Altos’ premier residential designers.

Project by 360 Design Studio

At the helm of the firm is Bahi Oreizy. In her early years in the industry, she served as a project designer in Seattle, working on retail and hospitality projects. She has also joined international/national competitions in architecture. Prior to starting 360 Design Studio, she worked for a Palo Alto-based design studio in crafting world-class homes. Her work in the fast-paced world of commercial building honed her technical skill, allowing her to produce quality work in a set time. Today these practices allow her to serve homeowners in Los Altos and San Jose.

Anderson-Brulé Architects

325 S 1st St. 4th Flr., San Jose, CA 95113

Founded in 1984, Anderson-Brulé Architects was built on a passion for architecture and innovation. ABA is dedicated to creating sustainable spaces in the markets of community, residential, education, health, and wellness. The firm is a certified Women’s Business Enterprise and an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Principal architect Pamela Anderson-Brulé has gained recognition as one of San Jose’s premier architects. In 2015, she became the first woman in Santa Clara County to be elevated to the AIA College of Fellows since its establishment in 1952. Her leadership in the architectural community has given her the opportunity to speak at numerous architecture conferences throughout the nation.

Project by Anderson-Brulé Architects

ABA’s holistic understanding of client needs has resulted in bespoke residences that truly embody the lifestyle of the homeowner. Its portfolio is filled with redefined modern homes, Spanish and Mediterranean villas, and one-of-a-kind Arts and Crafts homes.

Acadia Architecture

644 N. Santa Cruz Ave. Suite #6, Los Gatos, CA 95030

Sustainable design and collaboration with the client are at the core of Acadia Architecture’s success. Certified LEED Architect Davide Giannella leads this high-end residential architectural design firm in understanding that the site and the surroundings are just as vital as the structure’s aesthetics. By applying sustainable design to make a home environmentally intelligent, Acadia Architecture’s designs happen organically.

Project by Acadia Architecture

The firm’s portfolio boasts a range of designs that include modern contemporary, ranch, and Mediterranean. Featured below you’ll find a Los Altos home devised to be modern in appearance, but blends beautifully with the traditional neighborhood that surrounds it.

Arch Studio, Inc.

1155 Meridian Ave. Suite #207, San Jose, CA 95125

Since 2004, Central California has benefited from Arch Studio Inc.’s cutting-edge residential designs. The firm is flexible enough to take on any type of project, and it offers the ideal balance of functionality and style to custom homes and remodels. Firm principal Robin McCarthy received her architectural degree from California Polytechnic State University and has worked in other prominent firms like Peterson Architects and Anderson-Brulé Architects. Feedback from satisfied clients speaks to her acumen and approachable manner.

Project by Arch Studio, Inc.

Arch Studio’s portfolio showcases classic architecture at its best. Cottages, farmhouses, ranches, and Craftsman-style homes stand out. European styles like French Chateau and Dutch Gambrel are also evident. The firm’s custom residential architecture is present in San Jose, Saratoga, Santa Clara, and Menlo Park. Featured here is a renovated 1928 Georgian home in Willow Glen. The firm took the utmost care in adding over 1000 square feet to one of the oldest homes in the area.

Brad Cox, Architect, Inc.

1155 Meridian Ave. Suite #208, San Jose, CA 95125

Brad Cox Architect Inc. is a highly-recommended Silicon Valley firm that offers full-services in architecture, interior design, and strategic planning. Brad Cox is a recognized leader in community architecture, with affiliations in the Preservation Action Council of San Jose and the San Jose Planning and Urban Research Association. He is also a LEED Accredited Professional by the USGBC. Peers and clients praise his abilities in sustainable design and his passion and respect for historic renovation. He brings that same attention to detail to his residential projects.

Project by Brad Cox, Architect, Inc.

The firm remained faithful to this home’s colonial revival roots throughout its remodel. Built in 1925, the Willow Glen residence took four years to renovate. Brad Cox collaborated with Ricco Style to maintaining the home’s architectural integrity by salvaging and restoring all the original windows, doors, floors, sinks, tubs, and much of the original hardware. The project was part of the 2019 Willow Glen Lifestyles Home Tour.

Camargo & Associates

3953 Yolo Dr., San Jose, CA 95136

Maurice Camargo is a Silicon Valley architect who hails from Mexico. Since 1979, he has been designing upscale homes for the rich and famous in San Jose, Silicon Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area. The proud principal of Camargo & Associates Inc. is beloved by clients for walking the extra mile: he incorporates the fine details that make a dream home come to life. From a client who requested red brick in her home because it reminded her of her childhood neighborhood to a CEO’s wife who wanted slate floors like what she saw in her husband’s former boss’s house, homeowners praise Camargo for his attentiveness and creativity in fulfilling their wishes and true values in their home’s design.

Project by Camargo & Associates

Take, for example, this modern home in Los Altos Hills. Featured in the 2019 Silicon Valley Modern Home Tour, the posh residence of Mark Pearson is a perfect realization of the homeowner’s wishes. He desired three things: a swimming pool, an aquarium, and shingles on the exterior. As a long-time friend of his, Camargo delivered above and beyond. The home features an 8000 gallon salt-water aquarium viewed by all the main rooms in the home, an infinity edge swimming pool, and the desired wood shingles. The home even features a luxurious full size garage bay for the owner’s German shepherds, complete with bathing, feeding, and sleeping facilities.

GKW Architects

710 E McGlincy Ln. Suite #109, Campbell, CA 95008

GKW Architects is a full-service architectural design firm that emphasizes honest business practices and exceptional architectural solutions to difficult building challenges. It has designed a variety of residential projects, from single-family homes to multifamily units, including condominiums and apartments. These projects have styles ranging from beautiful Mediterranean villas to zestful modern contemporary. Owner and principal architect Gordon Wong studied architecture at California Polytechnic State University-San Obispo and earned his master’s degree in Columbia University-New York. He is an AIA member and a past chair of the AIA Santa Clara Valley, Emerging Professionals Committee.

Project by GKW Architects

The firm has a complete team of architectural experts with diverse skill sets who cover all facets of architectural design. Those facets include master planning, renovations, zoning analysis, layouts, interior design, ground-up construction, and tenant improvements. GKW Architects is also notable for its use of high-level design software and a state-of-the-art 3-D printer. These technologies allow the firm to minimize any error in pre-construction and provide clear images and models for future projects. It also stays on top of the latest green technology and is capable of incorporating it into its modern homes. Featured here is the Martha residence in Saratoga which utilizes roof Tesla tiles for optimum solar energy capture.

Lean Lens Architects

12429 De Sanka Ave., Saratoga, CA 95070

A strong sense of urban design paired with sustainable practices makes Lean Lens Architects the preferred firm for many homeowners in Saratoga, San Jose, and Cupertino. The firm is headed by Bombay-born architect Lakshmi Subramanian. She has over two decades of experience in residential and commercial projects both in the US and India. The firm’s portfolio of residences displays an array of styles, from traditional ranch to modern contemporary. It also features landscape projects and commercial projects like tenant fit-outs.

Project by Lean Lens Architects

Lean Lens Architects fulfilled an artist couple’s dream of having a studio in their family home. The firm followed the homeowners’ request of putting the studio above the garage so the lush garden could continue to flourish. The roof pitch and windows styles remain coherent to the original home’s architecture while a thorough remodel of the interiors updated and modernized the living spaces.

M•Design Architects

4131 El Camino Real Suite #200, Palo Alto, CA 94306

More than four decades of experience backed by impressive awards makes M•Design Architects an outstanding architect of choice by residents and businesses alike. The Palo Alto-based firm specializes in sustainable design blended with contemporary architecture. Its expertise includes home and office remodels to ground-up homes, Eichler homes, townhouses, villas, estates, and mid-size commercial projects.

The firm’s strong leadership is brought by founders Chip Jessup and Malika Junaid. Jessup, an award-winning architect, has 30 years of experience in architectural and construction gathered from projects in the commercial, industrial, and residential markets. Junaid has earned awards for her work, including META Remodeling Awards from NARI as well as an Environmental Quality Award from the City of Menlo Park. Malika is also a founder of the Green Leaning Institute in California and a co-founder of the Pakistan Green Building Council.

Project by M. Designs Architects

This ultra-modern smart home is the abode of Junaid and her husband, tech entrepreneur Junaid Qurashi. Malika describes the home as a ‘very abstracted version of the Starship Enterprise.’ The $10 million residence merges cutting-edge technology and sustainable architecture, earning it a 2019 World Architecture & Design Award in the Residential Category.

Mark Stoklosa Architect

351 South Baywood Ave., San Jose, CA 95128

Intricate details and sustainable architecture defines the work of Marek Stoklosa. He began his practice in 1982 and has designed for hundreds of clients locally and internationally. His passion for green architecture started in an international competition and continued throughout his decades in the industry. In the early ’90s, he developed a sustainable way of creating buildings that are seismic resistant using rice straw bales and recycled steel. His work has been recognized with awards from the Alliance on Sustainable Living—California and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Project by Mark Stoklosa Architect

He continues to build sustainable homes and buildings through the instrument of his boutique architectural firm. His international experience designing modern buildings in harmony with the existing context of a historic city makes Stoklosa a preferred designer of clients who want the perfect blend of old and new. The firm serves Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Mayberry Workshop

96 North 3rd St. Suite #110, San Jose, CA 95112

Boutique architectural firm Mayberry Workshop uses over 15 years of experience to craft tailored homes from San Diego to Northern California. The firm carries on the legacy of principal Adam Mayberry’s family. He named it after his grandfather’s workshop in their family home in Massachusetts, where his grandfather practiced carpentry and model making. Born and raised in San Jose, Adam took up Architecture and Development and has served the community with specialties in custom residences and accessory dwelling units. The firm has also designed commercial spaces, including cafes and restaurants.

Project by Mayberry Workshop

Online reviews shower praise on Adam for his eye in design and the efficiency he brings to every project. Dubbed as an artist as well as a realist, past clients respect his love for history and culture in his designs as well as his natural ability to solve problems and manage projects. Adam is accompanied by a general contractor that acts as an advisor to his firm, ensuring clients are well aware of costs to build from the initial point-of-contact through construction and completion.

Noel Cross + Architects

148 E. Virginia St. Suite #2, San Jose, CA 95112

Eco-effective architecture is the central philosophy of Noel Cross and his team of architects. Noel Cross + Architects work towards the goal of creating architectural solutions that regenerate the earth and its resources rather than deplete them. For 30 years, Noel Cross has been motivated by this philosophy in creating timeless spaces and designing sustainable buildings that create “Shelter for the Soul”. The firm’s credo of eco-friendly architecture is evident in its many high end residential projects. From a complete historical restoration of the 1910 Tibbet House in Saratoga to new estate homes across Silicon Valley, Noel Cross + Architects believes form and function are best achieved when the environment is taken into consideration.

Project by Noel Cross + Architects

A perfect embodiment of the firm’s design capabilities is this ‘uber-green’ net-zero energy residence in Los Altos hills. The home caught international attention when Beyonce and Jay-Z made it their Super Bowl 50 hangout. It boasts a modern architectural style combined with meticulous design sensitivity to the site. Sustainability elements include passive solar design, solar arrays that provide 100% electrical power, rammed earth walls, rainwater harvesting systems, and a living roof. The design achieved a Green Point Rating of 263, exceeding California Title 24 Energy Standards by 62%.

Studio S Squared Architecture

1000 S. Winchester Blvd. San Jose, CA 95128

Studio S Squared Architecture is a full-service architecture firm that is as diverse as its portfolio. Eugene H. Sakai, co-founder and president, puts a premium on cultural and architectural diversity. He leads a team of architectural experts from all over the world who each have their strength in conceptualization, design, and artistry. Sakai himself is a LEED Accredited Professional, a former member of the San Jose Arts Commission, and a past Chair of its Public Art Committee.

Project by Studio S Squared Architecture

From new custom homes to renovations of classic silhouettes, Studio S Squared Architecture is the firm many homeowners in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area rely on. Since its inception in 1996, it has designed hundreds of projects, ranging from small commercial remodels to large corporate campuses, from single-family homes to multi-family buildings. Its full range of services includes master planning, architectural construction drawings, interior design, permit procuring, and contractor selection. Featured is a remodeled San Jose home. Formerly a ranch house scheduled to have an addition placed above the garage, the firm took the home and transformed it into a contemporary masterpiece.

Studio3 Design Inc

638 University Ave., Los Gatos, CA 95032

Los Gatos-based Studio3 Design Inc. comes highly recommended for its streamlined process and superb customer service. The firm is headed by Bess Wiersema, AIA, who has over two decades of experience in residential architecture. Servicing the South Bay area, the full-service residential design firm efficiently manages all aspects of the building process while putting the needs of its clients front and center. Homeowners rave about how the firm goes above and beyond to satisfy their clients—supervising entire projects from initial design discussions through construction and even some interior furnishing selections.

Project by Studio3 Design Inc

The firm remained faithful to this home’s colonial revival roots throughout its remodel. Built in 1925, the Willow Glen residence took four years to renovate. Brad Cox collaborated with Ricco Style to maintaining the home’s architectural integrity by salvaging and restoring all the original windows, doors, floors, sinks, tubs, and much of the original hardware. The project was part of the 2019 Willow Glen Lifestyles Home Tour.

Warren Design Inc.

579 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell, CA 95008

Daniel Warren is an experienced custom home designer with a demonstrated history of working in the architecture and planning industry. He uses his more than two decades of experience in designing homes for his firm, Warren Design Inc. The Campbell-based architecture firm does residential design for a variety of clients, whether they are homeowners or large residential developers. By only focusing on residential design rather than commercial projects, the firm has become an expert doing the design, understanding the building codes, and the government approval process for residential homes. The firm has an expert team of consultants, engineers, and contractors that are dedicated to producing successfully captivating homes throughout the Silicon Valley including Campbell, San Jose, Saratoga, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Los Gatos, Morgan Hill and Menlo Park.

Project by Warren Design Inc.

Warren Design Inc. specializes in a variety of Architectural styles, including modern ranch, craftsman, transitional, Spanish, and Mediterranean residences. This beautiful home on Settle Avenue features a classic white wood siding exterior with a combination of metal and composition shingle roofing.


  • Shahe Demirdjian

    Shahe is an Editor at San Francisco Architects with around four years of experience as a writer and editor in the construction space. Shahe has always had a huge interest in commercial/residential construction and real estate. On top of his experience at San Francisco Architects, he has two years of experience as a Construction Partner Specialist at BuildZoom and six years of experience as a licensed real estate agent. In his work, he takes advantage of his expertise to take complex technical jargon from those realms and transform them into accessible, engaging content, blending his business administration expertise with a degree from Arizona State University with his experiential insights. Expertise: Architecture, Home Design and Build, Home Remodeling Key Highlights: Arizona Real Estate - Licensed Salesperson Education: Arizona State University - Bachelors in Business Administration

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