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The Best Multifamily Architects in San Diego, California

11 Min Read

With its amazing beaches and warm climate, many people would love to stay in San Diego for good. Fortunately, the coastal city presents many housing opportunities. And since most of the population of San Diego are renters, there is a variety of multifamily housing options to consider, including townhouses, small apartments, and apartment complexes. Investing in a multifamily unit here is also a great idea as the real estate value is high, especially in strategic locations.

If you are venturing or planning to venture into the multifamily housing sector, you will need one of the best multifamily architects. We made a list of the best multifamily architects in this coastal city. These are the professionals that can elevate your business in many ways—functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability, to name a few. Read on to get a glimpse of their project and get a sense of their preferred styles. You’ll also learn about awards they have won and their specializations.

Safdie Rabines Architects

925 Fort Stockton Dr, San Diego, CA 92103

Safdie Rabines Architects aims to design a better world with its site-specific and environment-friendly designs. The firm applies these principles to living spaces as well as civic, academic, and infrastructure projects. And to create further impact, the company also specializes in large urban master plans and offers creative and technical-commercial interior design services.

Safdie Rabines Architects

One of the human-centered multifamily projects of Safdie Rabines Architects is Block C, pictured above. As the first mixed-use project in North City, the structure provides residents a fresh urban experience in North County. Occupants enjoy the retail, restaurants, and entertainment areas. There are also outdoor dining spaces, public art, and a performance stage. And if residents want to stay home, the above-ground units have their terraces and balconies. This project was a runner-up in the 2017 Best Multifamily Project by Our City San Diego.

Humphreys & Partners Architects, L.P.

1124 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Staying true to its commitment to green building, Humphreys & Partners Architects integrates a Green Review in its design process. Complete with calculations, this review offers a long-term green building forecast to give clients a holistic perspective on the cost vs. benefits of sustainable building. For instance, while incorporating sustainable practices can cost 7-10% more, the client can recover most of that cost during the lifespan of the building.

Project by Humphreys & Partners Architects, L.P.

Humphreys & Partners Architects also knows the ins and outs of achieving sustainable certifications such as LEED and NGBS. For example, even minimal added calculations and items like parking labeled for “Fuel-efficient vehicles” can contribute to an accreditation. Take a look at Sterling Alvarado in San Diego. Due to the intelligent green strategies of Humphreys & Partners Architects, this affordable housing has been certified with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold. This project also won three awards, including the 2014 Best Use of Green and Sustainable Design/Construction from Student Housing Business Innovator.

Jonathan Segal FAIA Architects

3625 India Street, Ste 101 San Diego, CA 92103

Jonathan Segal has built a strong reputation for himself in San Diego. He pioneered the innovative practice of the “Architect as Developer,” where architects take the design and the building process into their own hands. This practice requires architects to gain a vast knowledge of the building industry, such as determining an ideal development area. Segal is also famous in San Diego for offering lower prices for his top-quality housing projects. To top that off, Segal often serves as an expert witness in development disputes and construction-defect litigation.

Project by Jonathan Segal FAIA Architects

Jonathan Segal has completed over 300,000 square feet of housing units, including medium to high-density, mixed-use, and live/work structures. Consequently, his firm has amassed 40 local, state, and national awards for residential and Urban Design, six of which are the national AIA Honor Awards. Pictured above is a peak of Segal’s work in San Diego. This mixed-use project, Mr. Robinson, features 36 apartment units and two restaurants.


144 N Orange Street, Orange, CA 92866

In 45 years of creating structures and building solid relationships, AO understands what clients genuinely need. Knowing that customers already have grand visions in mind, the firm comes in to help them develop their ideas while minimizing the risks. When it comes to multifamily projects, this client-center firm prioritizes bringing out designs that uplift the surroundings but are cost-efficient by incorporating sustainability.

Project by AO

Take, for example, this sustainable mixed-use development in San Diego. With a vision of a “Little Italy,” the Vici features a historically relatable neighborhood and exquisite amenities. The project also provides access to a coastal environment, so the firm decided on a fishing village motif. More than just buildings, this project has become a vibrant community where people live, work, and gather together. This urban village won ten awards, including the 2020 Gold Nugget Grand Award- Best Mixed-Use Project.

Carrier Johnson + CULTURE

185 W F Street, Suite 500, San Diego, CA 92101

Carrier Johnson + CULTURE is constantly on the hunt to recruit talented individuals to its team. For the firm, the key to success is the strategic gathering of the best innovators, entrepreneurs, and craftsmen. Together, they form a collaborative environment that defines the firm’s approach.

Project by Carrier Johnson + CULTURE

That collaborative approach has taken Carrier Johnson + CULTURE into various sectors and places. For example, the 520 West Ash (LUMA), pictured above , is one of the firm’s completed mixed-used developments. This 24-story building has an area of 433,746 square feet. Aside from mixed-use projects, Carrier Johnson + CULTURE’s works include hospitality, government, and education. The firm has also gone global: the firm took on the master planning of Hangzhou Jinsha Lake mixed-use development and the 640-acre Guangzhou China Bioisland.


1642 University Ave, Suite 210, San Diego, CA 92103

FoundationForForm is fearless when facing complexity, particularly in housing projects. The firm is fond of designing its way around challenging adjacencies, easements, restrictions, and zoning regulations. The company also works best when faced with tough infill redevelopments and high-density developments. With such bold capabilities, the firm has garnered the attention of numerous publications including BisNow, San Diego Tribune, and San Diego City Beat.

Project by FoundationForForm

The firm has bagged the Gold Nugget National Builder Awards for three consecutive years (2016, 2017, and 2018). The company’s multifamily projects have also been performing great. The Earnest project was named the 2018 Grand Award for Best Multi-Family Housing. This mixed-use apartment building stands out with its full-block presence and geometric lines creating a contemporary appeal for the neighborhood.

H2 Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc.

726 9th Avenue, Suite 1, San Diego, CA 92101

H2 Hawkins + Hawkins Architects is another firm on this list that takes green building seriously. Understanding how vital green building is for improving quality of life, the firm dedicates competitive LEED accredited project teams, led by the Project Architect and Principal-in-Charge.

Project by H2 Hawkins + Hawkins Architects, Inc.

One of the firm’s best green building showpieces is the Greenstone Row Homes. The project’s sustainable features include overhang shading, high efficient equipment, and low-E tinted glass. H2 Hawkins + Hawkins also ensured that the building orientation and site design uses solar energy. More so, the firm designed each of the ten units with site walls that seemingly blend the landscape into the structure. This urban infill multi-family residential project won the Gold Nugget Grand Award for the Best Multi-Family Housing Community.

TCA Architects, Inc.

19782 MacArthur Blvd. Suite 300 Irvine, CA 92612

TCA Architects sets itself apart with its forward-thinking design. First, the firm goes to the field to get to know the community’s needs. The architectural elements then follow—from the foundations up to the smallest building detail. For example, in the residential sector, the company saw the demand to build communities that encourage living, working, and gathering. Hence, the firm typically incorporates both technology and a human touch into its designs.

Project by TCA Architects, Inc.

So when TCA Architects designed the Millennium Mission Valley in San Diego, the firm had to think of intelligent ways to connect the residents. One of the firm’s strategies was to put the project’s front door close to the public plaza for residents who prefer to walk. The courtyards with several social areas encourage creative visual interactions. More so, the firm skillfully designed the retail parts to highlight the building’s public spaces. And to break down the extent of massing, the firm worked on the key corners and balconies that provide a sense of openness.

MVE + Partners, Inc.

1900 Main Street, Ste 800, Irvine, CA 92614

MVE + Partners trusts that its straightforward process and, consequently, the outcomes attest to the firm’s excellence. Carl McLarand, the firm’s founder and now the Chairman and CEO, has always pushed for exceptional designs that move clients, users, and society. These designs are what he calls “evocative architecture.”

Project by MVE + Partners, Inc.

An epitome of MVE + Partners’ exceptional design is the 9th & Broadway project, pictured above. With 12 levels of the building dedicated to residential units, the occupants can revel in the fantastic views of San Diego Bay and the city skyline. And to promote interaction among users, the firm designed this project with spacious open areas to dine and perhaps sip a drink. In addition, this evocative architecture is certified LEED Gold, featuring naturally ventilated corridors and an eco-roof.

MW Steele Group, Inc.

1805 Newton Avenue, Suite A, San Diego, CA 92113

Having a fully integrated practice allows MW Steele Group to understand beyond the design aspect. In this setup, the firm is entirely aware of how to build its designs and how these designs may impact the urban environment. Forming the firm’s integrated practice are AICP Certified Planners, Project Architects, an Interior Designer, and other professionals active in their communities.

Project by MW Steele Group, Inc.

An example of MW Steele Group’s community-centered projects is The Beacon, a 44-unit studio apartment building. This project will give permanent supportive housing for the homeless. The firm worked around a constrained site and managed to provide residents with a comfortable living experience. The building features a welcome lobby and a landscaped yard big enough to have trees and allow natural light. The building also features a community room, a laundry room, and even a counseling office for the occupants’ convenience. Most importantly, the firm ensured that the individual units have decent access to natural light and ventilation. This project was featured in The San Diego Daily Transcript and won the 2020 – San Diego Housing Federation Ruby Award – CSH Supportive Housing Award.


  • Alex Mericle

    Alex Mericle is the Chief Editor at San Diego Architects with five years of experience in the construction space. Alex has always had a strong interest in residential and commercial construction and architecture, and he has built up technical experience with building permit data, subcontractor operations, and materials procurement over the years. On top of his experience at San Diego Architects, he has prior experience at BuildZoom. His analytical skillset, honed through a degree in Business Analytics from Creighton University and from his work experience, allows him to transform complex construction data into actionable insights and useful, captivating content. Expertise: Residential and Commercial Construction, Building Permit Data, Home Design and Build, Architecture, Subcontractor Operations, Material Procurement Key Highlights: Over 5 years of experience writing and editing in the construction space, Chief Editor at San Diego Architects, Previous experience at BuildZoom Education: Creighton University, Degree in Business Analytics

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