Philadelphia is the fifth-largest city in all of the United States. With a population at almost 1.6M people in 142 square miles, it can get a little crowded. So when it comes to finding and designing a home, there’s a lot of demand. But there is also a lot of supply. Philadelphia is home to some the best residential architects in the entire country, and they’re working on unique and innovative projects across the city. Do you want someone who has experience and knowledge designing homes in the area, and someone who really knows Philadelphia? You got it. Here are the Top 10 residential architectural firms working in Philadelphia right now, ranked by their reputation, their years in the industry, and their stellar, award-winning work.
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.
Archer & Buchanan
Daniel G. Russoniello
Michele L.W. Thackrah
PA Society of American Registered Architects Design Award,
West Chester Preservation Alliance Bricks & Mortar Award,
Preservation Alliance Award for Greater Philadelphia,
PA Society of American Registered Architects Outstanding Firm Award
125 W Miner Street, West Chester, PA 19382
About Archer & Buchanan
Architects Daniel G. Russoniello and Michele Thackrah have worked in different sectors of the industry. Most of their designs are inspired by the works of famed architects like Walter Durham, R. Brognard Okie, and Wilson Eyre. In 1996, they decided to elevate their craft by establishing Archer & Buchanan. The eponymous firm is a full-service architectural firm that focuses on residential projects like new homes, additions, renovations, historic restorations, and country property planning. The firm is not limited to residential projects; it has designed for colleges and universities, libraries, and other institutional projects. Archer & Buchanan also has more than a few awards under its belt. Some of its most recent include the 2019 Coatesville Award Program Best of Coatesville in Historical Landmark, the 2018 WoodWorks Wood Award for Durable and Adaptable Wood Structures, and a 2016 Design Award from the Pennsylvania Society of American Registered Architects.
Archer & Buchanan works on a variety of custom homes. The Connors Residence, located in nearby Radnor, was a new home that replaced an earlier version inappropriate to its charming old Main Line neighborhood. The client’s desire was to blend their home more seamlessly with the surrounding homes built in the 1920s, predominantly in the English mode. Off the master bath is a walled court with a spa. Throughout, special attention was given to the use of traditional materials and details to achieve a feeling of permanence. Another project by the firm was “Canary Cottage” in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Another traditional farmhouse the firm designed was inspired by the style of R. Brognard Okie. Inside is a series of special spaces for living, with comfort and gathering as the key elements. The open plan provides a visual connection from the den to the kitchen and living room and is articulated by the scale of spaces and the warmth of materials and furnishings. Located on a beautiful, wooded site, the seasonal porch brings nature into this alluring country retreat.
Atrium Design Group
1024 N 3rd St. Ste. 201, Philadelphia, PA 19123
About Atrium Design Group
Creating gathering places for the community through architecture is the mission of Atrium Design Group. It services residential clients and various commercial projects for retail businesses. Atrium Design Group also has an international reach because it has been commissioned by clients from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It has a very rigorous architectural process that includes conceptual design and 3D rendering. The firm also provides interior design and development services.
Found in 1822 Catherine Street is a red brick apartment that Atrium Design Group remodeled. The result is a chic residence with contemporary elements. The bohemian red brick exterior was retained in the interior. This burnt red palette also inspired the furnishing of the home. Hardwood oak floors were used and complemented by dark metal elements for a more industrial look. Large open windows were installed in the living area to maximize the natural light in the apartment.
Blackney Hayes Architects
Kevin R. Blackney
John Fox Hayes
New Jersey Business & Industry Association “New Good Neighbor Award,”
Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s Grand Jury Award
AIA Philadelphia’s Preservation Award,
IIDA Pennsylvania Merit Award,
New Jersey and Delaware Chapter’s Best Interior Design Award,
10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania’s “Building A More Perfect Pennsylvania” Award,
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection & Historic Preservation Office’s “Adaptive Reuse and Historic Preservation” Award,
Subcontractor Association of Delaware Valley’s Architect of the Year Award
150 S. Independence Mall West, Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19106
About Blackney Hayes Architects
Interactive design and exceptional service are what sets Blackney Hayes Architects apart from its competition. It was established in 1988 by Kevin Blackney and John Fox Hayes who have both been in the industry for more than 30 years. Its team of 40 architects and interior designers deliver a variety of design-build projects for its diverse clients. From multi-family residences to hospitality projects, the firm has done it all. It has been recognized three times over the years with the highest honors by the AIA and Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.
Blackney Hayes Architects designed the Bryn Mawr Residency, a home designed to eliminate its dark 1980’s aesthetic. The use of materials and bright colors on the exterior accentuates individual areas and creates a much more linear outline. The interior rooms were designed to flow easily together, using bright colors, the strategic placement of abstract expressionist art on the walls, and large expanses of glass windows. The firm also created a new home out of a traditional carriage house in Philadelphia, designed as a retreat from the busy city and to entertain friends. The design team juxtaposed modern elements against the historic wood of the existing structure. Antique wood plank ceilings and beams were installed, and crown molding was used to generate the feel of the original, historic trim details. In contrast, stairs, lighting, and furniture were contemporary, as is the open-plan treatment of the main living space.
Bright Common Architecture
PO Box 3635, Philadelphia, PA 19125
About Bright Common Architecture
The Philadelphia residential community has been seeking the comprehensive design services of Bright Common Architecture for the past ten years. The firm calls its residential services high concept design: the firm does extensive research for each project to provide the most sustainable solution for its clients. As Passive Housebuilders, Bright Common Architecture always makes sure that its designs consume less energy than other homes. Its state-of-the-art Passive House technology helps the firm to build homes with low carbon footprints. Principal Jeremy Avellino oversees every project that the firm handles and is involved from start to finish. Recently, Philadelphia Magazine did a profile on Avellino due to his innovative contributions to the city’s architectural community.
One of Bright Common’s standout Passive House projects is House 8. The project was given this name because it has eight levels, quite unusual for a single-family home. From the outside, the home looks cramped but the interior reveals a very open layout with 10-foot high ceilings. House 8 has many unique rooms, each connected by a vertical stair core. When guests enter, they can lounge in the chic main living room that is angled towards the backyard’s lush green garden. Another green feature of the home is its Energy Recovery Ventilator which cleans and reuses the fresh air from outside for the interiors. Perhaps the best part of the home is its roof deck level. Bright Common designed the roof deck to be west-facing so it can frame a perfect view for sunsets.
Cecil Baker + Partners
Cecil Baker + Partners
American Builders Quarterly Building Excellence Awards,
Residential Architect Magazine Hall of Fame Leadership Award,
Friends of Pennsylvania Commonwealth Gold Award
1107 Walnut Street # 2, Philadelphia, PA 19107
About Cecil Baker + Partners
Internationally-renowned Cecil Baker + Partners offers a long list of services that include feasibility studies, programming, design of new structures, adaptive reuse of existing structures, and interior design. Principal Cecil Baker is a revered figure in the Philadelphia architecture industry. Before establishing Cecil Baker + Partners, he was the co-founder of BRHB Developers. This real estate venture included 279 apartments and single-family residences for the city. Baker was also handpicked by the Mayor of Philadelphia to be on the board of the City Planning Commission’s Civic Design Review Committee. As the firm’s principal, he has received more than 50 local and national design awards. His firm continues to make contributions to the city by giving a new life to forgotten buildings and turning them into multi-family residences.
Cecil Baker + Partners has worked on high-end apartments in many of the famous buildings of the Philadelphia skyline. The firm’s works can be found in Rittenhouse Square, at Wanamaker House, and at Independence Place. For one project, the firm was tasked to design a penthouse pied-a-terre, single-family residency in Philadelphia. The goal was to create a modern and urban home that also functioned as an art gallery: the family wanted to display its collection of contemporary glass crafts. The design process involved converting three original penthouse units into one shared residency. The result was an 8,500-square-foot home with extensive terraces and sweeping views of Philadelphia. The firm and the clients collaborated with a number of local artists to incorporate their work into the architectural experience. Cecil Baker + Partners also designed two kitchens. The larger one included an open space for visitors, as the client was looking to offer opportunities to present the theatrical possibilities of food preparation. The firm also designed a secondary kitchen that allowed the client to display an extensive wine selection and a full bar.
Jerry K Roller
100 E Penn Square #1080, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Found in the heart of Center City, JKRP Architects was founded by ten very experienced architects who want to create a firm that designs contemporary spaces for communities. When JKRP takes on a project, it will go to the extra step of exploring the site and meeting the potential neighbors. It is important for JKPR that each project strengthens communities by tending to its needs. The full-service architectural firm has a variety of services that include sustainability strategies, interior design, construction documentation, and other post-construction services. Some of its award-winning works are renovations of residential projects including the Nugent Senior Apartments and the ICON|1616 Walnut Street, which both won a Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia Grand Jury Award.
JKRP has worked on a variety of custom homes across the Philadelphia area, one of which is a single-family private residence at a penthouse apartment in the famous Rittenhouse Square. Using custom millwork, the firm worked with its client to design new rooms for entertaining and private living spaces in the 7,500-square foot apartment. A 3,200-square-foot, separate, private balcony was designed with floor-to-ceiling windows to create a large conservatory and to offer a beautiful view of the city. Another standout custom home project is a single-family house in Center City. The 1,900-square-foot carriage home included two bedrooms and a living room. The original building was completely converted from an old office building into a beautiful new home. The living room featured double-height ceilings. A new one-car garage echoes the antique decor with a wooden garage door that matches the traditional carriage home façade.
Krieger + Associates
Jeffrey F. Krieger
PA Council of Society of American Registered Architects Design Award of Honor,
Chrysalis National Award,
Society of American Registered Architects Professional Award of Honor
14 West Highland Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19118
About Krieger + Associates
Award-winning residential and commercial services have been the strength of Krieger + Associates since its inception in 1992. It has a diverse range of clients from the residential, institutional, and commercial sectors. Krieger + Associates is led by President and Principal Jeffrey F. Krieger, AIA, LEED AP. Krieger has over three decades of architectural practice and prior to founding the firm Krieger worked at Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates in Philadelphia. He is also a member of the Pennsylvania Society of Architects and the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA. The firm is most experienced in residential projects and its latest accolade was for its Chestnut Hill Renovation project which won the 2018 Chrysalis Award for basement remodeling.
Krieger + Associates has designed a number of unique homes in and around the Philadelphia area. The “Family Room With a View” in Chestnut Hill is a beautiful, remarkable example. This 1930’s house is an unusual blend of the Cotswold style, common to Northwest Philadelphia, and the avant-garde International style. Krieger + Associates renovated the living and sleeping spaces on the first and second floors, updating the bathrooms and lighting. Two additions were created on the street side of the house. One provides a new mudroom and rear entrance, while the second adds a large breakfast room and family room, large skylights, and a fieldstone floor. White cabinets and cherry and slate countertops harmonize with the exposed interior stone walls. Another project in Chestnut Hill was the “Right-Sized Modern.” This modest-sized stone and brick twin house had a dated interior and suffered serious neglect. Krieger + Associates restored it with all new finishes and systems. A second-floor window bay had to be completely rebuilt due to damage discovered when replacing the roof. The firm took out walls on the first floor for a bright and modern open plan; the living room now flows into the dining and kitchen area.
American Association of Museums Excellence in Exhibition Design Award,
City of Philadelphia Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative Storefront Challenge Best Overall Design,
HGTV Fresh Faces of Design,
Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums “Buildy” Award,
City of Philadelphia Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative Storefront Challenge Best Overall Design,
PA Brownfields Conference nExtreme Makeover Award.
211 N 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
In 2002, Alan Metcalfe invited one of his clients, Aaron Goldblatt, then deputy director at the Wagner Free Institute of Science, to start a new firm together. Metcalfe, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, worked as lead designer and partner at three Philadelphia firms before starting Metcalfe. He holds a Master of Architecture from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Tufts University and is a LEED AP and NCARB certified. The firm’s work has been featured in a variety of publications, including The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Context Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the New York Times. Metcalfe has also been feted with a long list of awards, including the 2017 American Association of Museums, Excellence in Exhibition Design Award; the 2016 City of Philadelphia Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative Storefront Challenge, Best Overall Design; the 2015 HGTV Fresh Faces of Design; the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums “Buildy” Award; the 2014 City of Philadelphia Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative Storefront Challenge, Best Overall Design; and the 2013 PA Brownfields Conference, Extreme Makeover Award.
Bringing traditional Philadelphia homes up to 2017, Metcalfe has worked on a variety of residencies near and around Philadelphia. One of these includes “The Seidenberg House” in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. The firm reinvented this Mid-century “kit house” by reorienting the house towards its rear yard and adding a glass connector bridge, linking a new bedroom nestled in the trees to the rest of the house. The renovations completed at the Seidenberg House convey their unique approach to play, design, and appreciation of tree-filled vistas. The project won Metcalfe the 2012 Pennsylvania Society of Registered Architects Design Award of Merit. Metcalfe also worked on “The Cohen Residence” in Philadelphia. They redesigned the renovation of a 1925 stone Colonial in the Mt. Airy neighborhood. The home features custom-built shelves, cabinets, bureaus, and expanded closets in each room. Its open floor plan puts the focus on the back terrace and glass-encased entryway. The firm also inserted a new mudroom in the back of the home for the family’s use. Creative inspiration from the family’s art collection can be found in colorful vignettes and artistic finishes.
The Omnia Group Architects
HBA Synergy Award for “Best Architectural House Plan” and “Best Custom Landscaping.”
323 S York Road, Hatboro, PA 19040
About The Omnia Group Architects
Founded in 1993, The Omnia Group Architects delivers an exceptionally broad range of creative architectural solutions to residential and commercial clients in the greater Philadelphia region. From their offices in nearby Hatboro, Omnia’s portfolio includes single- and multi-family homes, apartments, offices, retail spaces, and restaurants, whose liveability and workability belie their extraordinary buildability. Omnia also specializes in high-end, new home architectural design, along with architectural additions and renovations. They have a fluency in many high-end architectural tools, including Autocad, Revit, and 3D modeling and building information modeling. They are lead by principals and co-founders Gene Grimaldi. Brian Mann holds degrees in design, engineering, and management from the University of Pennsylvania. Grimaldi, RA, AIA, NCARB, graduated from Temple University. The firm has won numerous awards. Most recently, Omnia Group Architects received the 2015 HBA Synergy Award for “Best Architectural House Plan” and “Best Custom Landscaping.”
The Omnia Group Architects designs and offers custom homes across Philadelphia and the surrounding area. One of these includes a custom home in Lower Moreland. The firm worked with the client from first concepts through to final color selections. The commanding yet elegantly balanced street presence of this Manor-style custom home gives way to stunning, gleaming volume in the foyer, which holds a magnificent glass and wood circular staircase. Each of the main living areas opens out to a grand patio and then into views of the woods and creek beyond. Another home by Omnia is a custom riverside home in nearby New Hope. Perched above the beautiful Delaware River, Omnia dispensed with conventional historicist styles and created an open plan blended with traditional forms, punctuated by vast rows of glass windows and doors to bring in the panoramic views of Lambertville, the bridge, the wooded opposite bank and river. A sweeping front porch integrates the entry with the vibrant pedestrian streetscape. Low garden walls enclose a beautifully landscaped courtyard, defining private space without turning its back on the street. The second floor features a common loft area with a large balcony overlooking the water.
Storefront Challenge for Best Design,
Restaurant Design Awards Finalist,
AIA National Emerging Professionals Exhibition,
James Beard Foundation Finalist for Outstanding Restaurant Design Award,
AIA Pennsylvania Emerging Professional Award,
Remodeling Design Grand Award.
453 Johnson Street #100, Jenkintown, PA 19046
About OTTO Architects
Located in suburban Philadelphia, in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, Otto Architects LLC provides architecture, interior design, sustainable design, product and furniture design, and graphic design services for a variety of both public and private clientele. The firm is led by Principal Joshua Otto. Otto is registered architect and LEED Accredited Professional and is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland. He also holds an NCARB certificate. Prior to founding Otto Architects, he worked at Brett Webber Architects, GBQC Architects, and Roger Ferris + Partners. He holds a Master of Sciences in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kentucky. Otto has has served on AIA Philadelphia’s Board of Directors and co-chairs the AIA Philadelphia Design Committee. He is also the co-founder and coordinator of the Philadelphia Emerging Architecture Prize. Otto and his firm have won numerous awards, including the 2016 Storefront Challenge for Best Design, finalist for the 2016 Restaurant Design Awards, a 2015 AIA National Emerging Professionals Exhibition, a 2014 James Beard Foundation Finalist for Outstanding Restaurant Design Award, a 2014 AIA Pennsylvania Emerging Professional Award, and a 2014 Remodeling Design Grand Award.
Otto Architects worked on a custom townhouse on Leithgow Street in Philadelphia. The 900-square-foot building lot posed some challenges in a tight city like Philadelphia. The firm used a design solution that provided light-filled interiors on each floor. Each living space receives abundant natural light. Otto Architects included a walk-out basement that also creates a large, open living area. A two-story atrium allows natural light to reach each room in the house; three roof decks encourage flexible outdoor living. Glass interior partitions offer visual transparency for wide, open floor plans. Outside of Philadelphia, Otto Architects also worked on a family’s residence on Washington Lane in Meadowbrook. They retained the exterior of the home’s original stone Colonial home facade, but created a modern addition to the rear. Fiber-cement panels and reclaimed wood matched the antique aesthetics. A new dining room, a double-height living space, and a family room were designed for the lower levels, while a fourth bedroom and master suite complete the second floor.
Maria Keares Wyant
2103 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
About Wyant Architecture
Wyant Architecture is a Philadelphia-based design-build firm led by Principals Jeffrey Wyant and Maria Keares Wyant. The firm’s work focuses on site-specific, custom residential architecture, including thoughtfully planned and detailed interior renovations, significant additions to existing structures, and sustainably designed new construction. Wyant Architecture’s work has been featured in a new hardcover book Home Extended, edited by Francesc Zamora; on HomeDSGN.com; and in the Spectacular Homes of Greater Philadelphia publication, AIA Philadelphia’s Quarterly Journal, Context Magazine, Philadelphia Style Magazine, and Garden House Magazine. Wyant, AIA, LEED AP, has over 25 years of professional experience managing a broad range of project types. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects and is registered in the state of Pennsylvania. Keares Wyant, RA, LEED AP, manages design development and construction documentation for many of the firm’s projects. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. She is NCARB certified and is a registered architect in the state of Pennsylvania.
Wyant has been the architect of record for a long list of single-family homes and apartments in and around Philadelphia. One of their jobs was a designing a one-family apartment at the Parc Rittenhouse at 227 South 18th Street in Philadelphia. The firm worked to make the best of the existing parameters, including low ceilings and deeply imbedded concrete structure. Unique, coffered ceilings and soffits were introduced to alleviate the issue both physically and aesthetically, to maximize the height, and to define space, while also facilitating infrastructure and utilities. Another one of their projects was the Center City residence in Philadelphia. The adaptive reuse project allowed the firm to convert a vacant community building into a single-family residence. The building’s original street-fronting exterior walls and facade were salvaged, reused and reintegrated. The firm also designed new floor levels within the old building’s original frame, including an additional third story that matches the height and scale of the local skyline.