With constantly evolving workplace trends, rising costs, technological advancement, and the sheer number of hours the average American spends at the office, San Diego’s top companies face myriad challenges when it comes to the design and planning of their workspace. This list includes talented architects who are experts at providing spaces that are mindful of their client’s multifaceted needs. In their designs, they have taken every detail into account to create ideal modern workspaces by incorporating the power of natural light, relaxation rooms, communal work areas. In sunny San Diego, the firms also bring the outdoors in and in some cases take the indoors out to suit the relaxed, but extremely driven SoCal workforce.
AIA COTE Top Ten Green Project Awards,
AIA Iowa Medal of Honor
797 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101
Founded in 1970, interdisciplinary design firm BNIM has worked on transformational projects across the country. Its extraordinary work includes sustainable design and community redevelopment; urban planning and design; educational facilities; campus master planning; civic, state and federal government work; residential; and corporate office spaces. Its national presence is solidified by its constant and consistent delivery of design perfection, coupled with sustainability and responsibility to time and place. BNIM’s design is human purposed, focusing on the health, well-being, equity, and resiliency of the communities they serve through design. At BNIM they say, “We deliver beautiful, integrated, living environments that inspire change and enhance the human condition.” They have received countless awards including 11 AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project Awards and the 2011 National Architecture Firm Award. BNIM was included among ARCHITECT 50’s top firm rankings as No.1 in sustainability, No. 2 in design, and No. 2 overall by Architect Magazine in 2019.
BNIM was enlisted to design two blocks of the Makers Quarter development in downtown San Diego. Block C, the linchpin of the comprehensive masterplan, is composed of a 29-story tower that provides 700,000 SF of creative office space atop 48,800 SF of ground-level retail space, including the historically significant Coliseum. For Block D, the firm designed a 6-story collaborative office hub in the heart of the development. Targeting LEED Platinum + Net Zero, highly flexible office suites creates natural ventilation through the use of motorized windows and garage doors on each level. A high-performance façade employs two active shading systems that enhance daylight and provide flexibility to operate preferences within individual tenant spaces. Block D earned a Green Good Design Award from the Chicago Athenaeum, a Merit Award from the San Diego Green Building Council, and a Citation Award from the AIA San Diego.
CarrierJohnson + Culture
Golden Nugget Awards,
Multi-Housing News Gold Excellence Award
1301 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
About CarrierJohnson + Culture
The award-winning design studio CarrierJohnson + Culture (CJ+C) has been distinguished as one of the most influential architectural firms in San Diego, with a wide variety of projects completed throughout the city. CJ+C is where they say they are exploring culture and crafting experience. The firm approaches architecture by striking a perfect balance between building and environmental context, exposing the vital connections between the social, physical, historical, and aesthetics. They believe in authenticity; they practice inspiring design through their work. The firm’s goal with each design is to translate visions into reality. CJ+C was awarded two Golden Nugget Awards in 2016 and a Gold in Best New Development for Student Housing at the 2014 Multi-Housing News Excellence Awards.
CarrierJohnson + Culture (CJ+C) worked on the design of the NBC 7 studio offices in San Diego. They were involved with the programming, space planning, and architectural renovation of the two-story, 52k-square-foot space. The LEED Silver-certified building’s design includes a modern exterior and interior that is a perfect reflection of San Diego’s current workspace architectural design. The space is complete with communal work areas that allow employees easy communication and collaboration, a modern open kitchen and dining area, and ample sunlight pouring in from endless large windows throughout the building. Another LEED Certified project from CJ+C is the North America Corporate Headquarters of Sony Electronics. The 450,000-square-foot facility is the response to Sony’s desire for a collaborative, adaptable, and inspiring environment to help attract and retain great talent. The final structure features 40,000-square-foot floor plates and an impressive top floor featuring multiple eateries and great views. The 11-story high rise office tower also includes a fitness center, conference center, and a six-level garage structure with 1,500 parking spaces.
San Diego Architectural Foundation Orchid Award 2020
ENR “Best of the Best” 2020
1515 Morena Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92110
Architectural firm Delawie operates on a mission to build partnerships with their clients and the community through experience, creativity, and integrity. Since 1961, it has made a lasting impact on Southern California’s architecture and built environments. The firm’s five Principals, M. Andrew Rodrigues, Paul Schroeder, Frank Ternasky, Michael Asaro, and Greg McClure, mentor over 50 design professionals. They are responsible for designs that complement skylines, enhance learning environments, transform and better communities, create mindful corporate identities, and advance the functionality of civic and government facilities. They are recipients of a long list of awards including San Diego Architectural Foundation’s 2020 Orchid Award for Architecture and ENR National’s Best Project Award for 2020.
The design for J Street Hospitality’s new office in San Diego’s East Village has extremely high visibility due to its popular neighbor, Petco Park. From the materials to the amenities, the design perfectly caters to the savvy and young professionals working for the lifestyle-focused hotel developer. The entrance is a nod to the speakeasy as it is located behind a large, enhanced wall that acts as a hidden entry door. 30-foot ceilings welcome guests and employees along with exposed mechanical equipment, glass-fronted offices, and a shared communal space. The new mezzanine is suspended above both the open office area and the deli, which looks out onto 7th Avenue and Petco Park through the building’s large, historic windows.
Another of Delawie’s impressive large-scale projects consolidated two adjacent facilities housing multiple Oracle business units into one of the existing buildings. The renovated space has a vibrant and contemporary aesthetic and includes open and private office areas, conferencing centers, and laboratory spaces.
J. Kevin Heinly
ENR #1 Green Building Design Firm in Commercial Offices,
Building Design + Construction Giants #1 Office Sector Architecture Firm
225 Broadway #100, San Diego, CA 92101
Gensler is a world leader in the field of architecture and design. It operates out of 46 cities in 16 countries. Among their 3,500 clients are 40 Fortune 500 companies, the top 10 technology companies in the US, and nine commercial banks. In 2015, for the fifth year in a row, Gensler generated $1.18B in revenue, the most for any architecture firm based in the United States. The firm was founded in 1965 by Art and Drue Gensler and their associate, James Follett. Initially focusing on corporate interiors, they have since expanded to include a vast array of architecture and design firms, such as airports, entertainment complexes, commercial office buildings, and retail centers, just to name a few. Gensler believes in leveraging the power of design to create a better world for all. They say, “For us, the design is the means. The starting points are goals, strategies, and expectations, but it transcends them to create a new and better reality. Design is transformative.”
Goodwin Procter’s new San Diego office was designed by Gensler to use rich, dark materials accented by polished white marble, custom millwork, and gorgeous accessories. An unexpected and whimsical turn came when they incorporated a floor-to-ceiling photo image of a well-stocked law library on one of the walls. It serves as a true testament to today’s technological advances which have made the idea of a law library almost completely obsolete. Gensler was also enlisted to create a top-of-market, high-end office space in San Diego’s Del Mar Heights, called Township 14. The goal was to replace an obsolete property with a clean, contemporary design of workspaces that would appeal to professional and financial services firms striving to create a strong local presence and foster global operations. Township 14 is a 125k-square-foot, two-building project, located in a prestigious office submarket with freeway exposure that allows its tenants to use location coupled with a great design to achieve their goals.
I Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc.
J David Hawkins
Golden Nugget Awards,
SDAF Orchids Award
726 9th Avenue, Suite 1, San Diego, CA 92101
About H2 Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc.
H2 I Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc. is a San Diego-based firm with a strong sense of integrity, an emphasis on client collaboration, and the highest quality design. Founded by brothers David and Steven Hawkins, H2 brings over three decades of experience to its projects, where it builds creative solutions, maintains understanding and respect of the local environment, and strives to create environmentally responsible and sustainable designs. They are recipients of the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchid Award, Professional Builder Magazine’s Best of American Remodels Merit Award, and many Pacific Coast Builders Conference Gold Nugget Awards, among others. They have been featured in publications such as The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Business Journal, and AIA San Diego.
North Island Credit Union Corporate Headquarters is one of H2’s largest office projects. It is a 128k-square-foot, six-story building with LEED Silver certification. The building’s design uses stone, light glass, and the aluminum curtain wall. It embraces the “Island” theme and includes multiple balconies, a large community center, a health club, a café/lunchroom, a large training facility for employees, a corporate boardroom, and a quiet relaxation room featuring a Zen garden. The Rio Courtyard, an 85k-square-foot, four-story corporate office complex located adjacent to the San Diego River Walk in the Mission Valley area, is another H2 project. It provides Class A professional office space of up to 16k square feet per floor and was created with the ability to accommodate multiple tenants. It expresses the contrast between the “Padre Gold” stone massing and the solar green glazed curtain wall. An elegant two-story lobby enriched with wood panels and stone reflects the beauty of its natural locale and serves as a perfect transition space for the building.
SDAF Orchids Award,
AIA Merit Award,
SDG&E Energy Efficiency Award
1955 Bacon Street, San Diego, CA 92107
About HGW Architects
Led by its founding principals Randy Hanna, Jim Gabriel, and Matthew Wells, HGW Architects is an architecture, site, and interior design studio with a focus on problem-solving while making beautiful and sustainable places. The firm describes their work as giving form to life’s activities with an emphasis on the value of the human experience. Their designs result in environmentally responsible and unique places that encourage collaboration, ignite idea development, and promote healthy living and a strong sense of a unified community. The firm views architecture as a unique opportunity to better the world and make a positive change with each project they undertake. They are the recipients of numerous awards, including the Orchid Awards, the AIA Merit Awards, and an Energy Efficiency Award.
A former auto repair shop turned into beautiful, mindful, and sustainable office spaces, with the firm’s brilliant design of the Bacon Street Offices in Ocean Beach. The plan repurposed over 90 percent of the existing structure, including service bays revamped with large ground floor windows and new streetside landscaping to add functionality and space. The overall result is a model for environmentally responsible design, and it has received LEED Gold certification. The firm was awarded the 2011 San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchid Award, the 2009 AIA San Diego Merit Award, and the 2009 SDG&E Energy Efficiency Award for the first commercial net-zero energy building in the San Diego area. Another sustainable office project of HGW Architects is the corporate headquarters for MedImpact Healthcare Systems. The San Diego-based pharmacy benefit management company commissioned the firm to design its LEED Gold Certified Class A office building. The six-story building features articulated façades that provide dramatic views of the building from the adjacent freeway. Natural stone, low iron glass, and integrated metals add to the building’s rich character and create a relaxed business environment.
3655 Nobel Dr., Suite #550, San Diego, CA 92122
About HKS Architects
Founded in 1939, HKS Architects has built a legacy as a leading architecture and design firm across the US. Started by Harwood K. Smith in Dallas, the firm steadily grew from a local practice to one with a national and global reach of unrivaled industry-leading architectural delivery. Current CEO Dan Noble, FAIA, FACHA, LEED AP, leads the company to consistent success in aviation, civic, cultural, education, health, commercial, hospitality, mixed-use, sports, and entertainment projects. The firm ranks third on Building Design+Construction’s List of the Top 150 Architecture Firms in the country. Its list of impressive awards includes numerous AIA Awards, IIDA National and Global Awards, and ENR Awards.
In the affluent community of North San Diego, HKS delivered architecture and interior design services for the new medical office building for Sharp Rees-Stealy. The structure nearly doubles the size of Sharp’s existing space yet minimizing negative environmental impacts through a responsible design approach. At the entry, a three-story glass wall and skylights open the space to beautiful views and generous daylight. Each branch of the building features exam and procedure rooms, provider offices, and a conferencing center. It also features larger exam rooms and the ability to add more physicians and services over time.
AIA COTE Award,
AIA Honor Awards,
AIA Merit Awards
1600 National Avenue, San Diego, CA 92113
About LPA Inc
As one of the largest integrated design firms in California, LPA has been a leader in the architecture and design industry for most of the last century. Under the leadership of CEO Wendy Rogers, they have been providing architecture, planning, landscape architecture, interior design, engineering, and graphic/signage services from the early stages of program development to the very end of each project. They are passionate about — and believe strongly in — connections that exist between design excellence and sustainability. Their unique, collaborative atmosphere creates an energized office space, which encourages employees to live balanced, sustainable lives both in the office and at home. They have received more than 700 major design awards — a true testament to their firm grasp of excellence in design.
LPA was commissioned to transform a dated and under-performing property into a modern, active landmark — 1 Columbia Place. The 27-story highrise in downtown San Diego is notable for its distinctive glass façade, stair-step design, and the American flag flying high above it. The dramatic, seven-story atrium lobby, common and private terraces open up to spectacular views of San Diego Bay, Coronado Island, Balboa Park, and all of downtown San Diego. There are beautiful terraces, a delicatessen, a gym, a spa, and much more. Another of their beautiful office spaces was for MindTouch, a San Diego software company that wanted a new space with personality, creativity, and branding. LPA’s design incorporated exposed open ceiling areas, direct and indirect lighting, private offices with sliding doors, informal gathering spaces, and a break/game room that encourages social interaction and serves as an after-hour workspace.
Safdie Rabins Architects
SDAF Orchids Award,
AIA San Diego Design & Vision Merit Award
925 Fort Stockton Drive, San Diego, CA 92103
About Safdie Rabines Architects
Safdie Rabines Architects is a full-service architecture, interiors, and urban design firm established in 1993 by the award-winning, husband-and-wife team Ricardo Rabines and Taal Safdie. The team’s work can be found throughout the globe as they strive to present unique, humanistic, and socially and environmentally responsible design ideas. The firm is acutely sensitive not only to the specific needs of their clients but also to the deep effect they have on the experience and health of the people who enjoy the spaces they create. They are determined to ensure their work minimizes — or, in the best scenario, completely eliminates — any negative ecological impact on the environment. Among numerous other awards, the firm has received Orchid Awards from the San Diego Architectural Foundation and the San Diego Design & Vision Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
The firm is behind the sleek design of the Jacobs School Board Room — a space that previously served as a laboratory. The design team completely reworked the space, modernizing and brightening it by installing large windows in existing exterior walls to allow guests views of the eucalyptus grove outside. They designed a custom white conference table that accommodates 26, and a large, curved, slate ceiling suspended over the table, which cleverly conceals audiovisual equipment. The use of neutral colors and green fabric on chairs creates warmth and draws in the campus landscape. Safdie Rabines Architects is also responsible for UC San Diego’s Structural and Materials Engineering Building. The 183k-square foot, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified structure completed in 2012 is home to several departments, including the office spaces of Structural Engineering and NanoEngineering. The building also houses the Department of Visual Arts, with 12 visual arts studios, a gallery and black box presentation space, and a state-of-the-art paint booth.
Sillman Wright Architects
SDAF Orchids Award,
AIA COTE Award,
Gold Nugget Award
7515 Metropolitan Drive, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92108
About Sillman Wright Architects
Sillman Wright Architects is a San Diego-based architectural firm that above all values collaboration with its clients to ensure that all goals are met throughout the design process. Founded in 1976, the firm has designed a vast variety of spaces and believes that quick communication is the key to solving problems that arise. They incorporate sustainable thinking throughout the design process and have designed more than 25 LEED Certified and sustainable projects. Its partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council and the San Diego Regional Sustainability Partnership ensure their buildings are healthy environments for people to live, work, and learn. Under the leadership of its principals Larry Sillman, AIA; Mark Baker, AIA, LEED AP; and Brett Tullis, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, the firm has received many awards, including the San Diego Architectural Foundation Orchid Award, the AIA COTE San Diego Award, and the Gold Nugget Award of Merit, among many others.
The team at Sillman Wright Architects is responsible for the designs of several business parks. Among them is The Mission Valley Heights Business Park, a collection of 23 one- and two-story office buildings that provide over 600k square feet of tenant space. The complex is a high image corporate office building with modern and comfortable workspaces, a large kitchen with an outdoor patio area for employees to enjoy the natural world, and a common conference room available for use by each tenant. Sillman Wright Architects also created the Carlsbad Medical Center in nearby Carlsbad, California. The two-story structure is home to The Scripps Healthcare Facility. Built in 2008, the center provided the first medical offices for Scripps Health. The 40,655-square-foot space has both medical offices and exam rooms. The tilt-up concrete evokes the perfect SoCal sentiment, and the stone accents bring a feeling of sophistication and out-of-the-box design.
2825 Dewey Road, Suite #200, San Diego, CA 92106
About Taylor Design
Linda Taylor, AIA, ACHA started Taylor Design in 1979 as Taylor & Associates, Inc. — a California architectural firm that specialized in hospitals and other medical facilities. Over the years, it has widened its reach and services and now develops design solutions for healthcare, education, science & technology, and senior living market sectors. This strategy-based design firm contributes positive experiences in the creation of everything from modest facility models, new construction, and infrastructure improvements, to large-scale hospital replacements and master planning. It ranks among the Top Design Firms for 2019 on the lists of ENR California, Building Design + Construction, and Architectural Record. Its work has also earned awards and accolades from the US Green Building Council, Los Angeles Business Council, Design Build Institute of America, and the AIA. Taylor Design serves the whole of California from its offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco.
Taylor Design’s San Diego office has produced more than 800 projects to date. Among this stellar portfolio are workplace projects that marry great form and function. Its work on the UC San Diego BioMedical Science Building Suite involved a tenant improvement of a vintage 1960 space. Its overall design goal was to include a small nod to the mid-century and modernist design of the original building. Clean-cut lines, natural textures, and neutral colors permeate the open layout of the building. The 4,600-square-foot project included new ceiling construction and lighting, renovation of restrooms, addition of a gender-neutral restroom, and a re-wok of the School of Medicine Dean / Vice Chancellor’s office. Another medical-workplace project from Taylor Design is the Scripps Clinic – John R. Anderson V Medical Pavilion. Its design seamlessly integrates office and administration space among the vital facilities for diagnostic and medical procedures. The firm also designed two pedestrian bridges that provide immediate access between the pavilion and the adjacent Prebys Cardiovascular Institute.
3911 Sorrento Valley Blvd, Suite 120, San Diego, CA 92121
About Ware Malcomb
Named as one of ENR’s Top 500 Design Firms 2020 and one of Interior Design’s Top 100 Giants, Ware Malcomb is an acclaimed architecture practice operating 22 offices across the country, Canada, Mexico, and Panama. The award-winning international design firm offers planning, architecture, interior design, branding, and civil engineering services to commercial real estate and corporate clients. The firm was started in 1972 by Bill Ware and Bill Malcomb. Today, Ware Malcomb is led by CEO Ken Wink, President Jay Todisco, Executive Vice President Matt Brady, and EVP/CFO Tobin Sloane, along with a team of talented design and business leaders.
A perfect example of the firm’s design prowess in corporate architecture and interior design is its own San Diego office. The new workplace of the firm accommodates the tremendous growth of the firm while incorporating the latest in interior design trends and sustainable features. It features a work environment that fosters collaboration while also allowing for privacy and heads-down work when required. It includes two different types of workstations – a benching station and a desking station solution, some with adjustable desk heights – to provide a variety of work options and cater to every individual’s work preference. The project earned the San Diego Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Award in 2020. For the new steel building addition for tech company Qualcomm, Ware Malcomb found the delicate balance between forward-thinking collaborative spaces and traditional focus workspaces. The rectilinear plan was designed for efficiency, with each floor incorporating collaborative co-working. Its amenities include a conference center, a cafe, a gym, a workroom, collaboration pods, enclaves, and game rooms. The project also achieved LEED Gold Certification for its efficiency and sustainability.