Firm

Created in 1979, this firm is the first Hispanic-owned architectural firm in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, and has the longest running success of any such firm. We offer superior professional services for successful building projects throughout California and abroad.

Following his completion of a M. Arch. degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design, Efren Gutierrez interned for several years with Sasaki Associates in Cambridge and Bechtel in San Francisco, and then opened his own practice in Oakland.

His early design style is reminiscent of the work of Luis Barragan, Mexico’s great modernist architect, but it reflects a California vision which is part a perception of Mexican modernism and part California sensibility. The buildings are cubic forms with long planar surfaces, nestled into their surroundings, and with an almost rustic image, yet in contrast to Barragan, broken up by large rectangular columns and painted adobe white. Landscaping is modest but a key element of the spare design. Often he creates courtyards surrounding simple native greenery. Function is the determining factor for each floor plan, yet the design, massing and scale of each building carries a visual weight that defines it uniquely. Cost control is paramount, and is conveyed in the design by the use of simple, quality materials, fixtures and finishes. His designs from the 1970′s and 80′s utilize passive solar energy saving systems with shading elements which fit harmoniously into exterior elevations.

Mr. Gutierrez’ current work keeps the tradition of quality design that he began in the 70′s. His current buildings use more color, typically combinations of distinctive natural tones which give them an almost native vitality. Sloping, metal roofing systems are standard now, as opposed to the early flat built-up roofs. Quality details and quality materials continue to be used for construction, refined over many years and weighted in favor of advancing technology. Much of his recent work has involved renovations of existing buildings. Mr. Gutierrez spends most of his time skteching, creating design possibilities and solving construction document issues, thereby crafting his own architectural expression, and at the same time resolving his clients’ facilities needs.