David Baker Architects

About Us


“No local firm has a better track record than David Baker Architects at mending the civic fabric.” 

—John King, Urban Design Writer, San Francisco Chronicle 


David Baker Architects is a progressive architecture firm located in San Francisco and Oakland that creates acclaimed buildings in urban environments. Formed by David Baker in 1982, DBA is known for exceptional housing, creative site strategies, designing for density, and integrating new construction into the public realm. 

DBA has a passion for and deep understanding of the power of humane and respectful environments  to transform neighborhoods and elevate the lives of individuals and families. We design thoughtful places that allow communities to thrive and that serve as a multiplier of good—that is, that enable or support further engagement, connection, or community benefit. 






Founded: 1982

Principals: David Baker, Amanda Loper,  Daniel Simons

Areas of Expertise: Multifamily Housing, Architectural Interiors, Urban Design, Fabrication, Policy and Advocacy

Locations: San Francisco, Oakland

Units Designed: 10,000+

Units Built: 5,400+

Affordable Units Built: 4,000+

Completed SF Projects: 29

LEED Certified Buildings: 23

Awards Received: 250+




Housing Expertise

David Baker Architects has designed and built more than 10,000 dwelling units, including nearly 6,000 affordable units throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. For decades, creative multifamily housing has been our primary focus. We are experts and innovators in housing design covering a spectrum of typologies: micro-units, nested units, detached and semi-detached homes, stacked units, townhouses, and co-housing. Our housing design practice is characterized by exuberance, elegance, and economy. Our housing practice is informed and enriched by our work in urban planning, hospitality design, interior architecture, and fabrication.

Award-Winning Design and Commitment

David Baker Architects has garnered more than 250 local and national design awards as well as certifications and accolades for the humaneness and sustainability of the firm’s projects. 

DBA was recently honored by NPH as a Visionary and Innovative Design Leader, and by Livable City as a Livability Innovator in Architecture and Urban Design

The firm was selected as the AIA California Council 2012 Distinguished Practice, and in 2010 David Baker received the Hearthstone Humanitarian Award, honoring the housing industry’s 30 most influential people of the past 30 years. 

Leadership in Healthy Building

From an early focus on sustainability, David Baker Architects has taken the lead in establishing sustainable-building practices. DBA has participated in several LEED pilot programs and achieved the first LEED-NC Silver certification (in 2007), the first LEED for Homes certification, the first LEED-ND Certified Gold Neighborhood, and the largest LEED for Homes Platinum development in Northern California. We prioritize an ecologically sound approach to design and are experienced in all major green-building certification programs.

A recent project, Zero Cottage, is the first Passive House-certified home in San Francisco and officially achieved Net Zero Energy Building Certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), which comprehensively evaluates buildings in terms of Growth, Energy, Rights to Nature, Inspiration + Education, and Beauty + Spirit. DBA was recently added to a working group of Affordable Housing Innovators started by the ILFI.

Active Design Principles

DBA designs housing with creative common spaces and active, human-scale edges. We emphasize dynamic physical connections to the street and to shared areas and we utilize strategies that enable and encourage both social interaction and physical activity. We preserve lively sidewalks and incorporate such features as community agriculture, decompression courtyards, flexible spaces, and more. We place a lot of value on what we call the “first 20 feet”: Humans commute, commune, eat, shop, share, and play amid buildings and at ground level, immersed in the first 20 feet of the vertical space around us. A great ground floor is a valuable amenity for the residents of the building as well as a way to contribute vitality to the neighborhood at large. 

Green Business

We not only have a sustainable practice, DBA is also a San Francisco Certified Green Business. San Francisco Green Businesses meet high environmental standards and are recognized by the City and County of San Francisco for their achievements. But we would do it anyway! Learn more about the SF Green Business program here.



To learn more about DBA Principals, Associates, and creative team, visit our People page.