Our Mission 

Our philosophy is simple: always design with the client’s vision in mind. We truly believe good design must be responsible and responsive in order to bring harmony to function, budget and schedule. We have built our practice and our designs around helping our clients achieve their objectives and our mutual desire to enhance the greater community in which we live.

Our History

Shah Kawasaki Architects (SKA) was founded in Oakland on March 15, 1999 by longtime friends and colleagues, Alan Kawasaki and Harish Shah.

Since its inception, SKA has utilized a hands-on, collaborative and tailored approach in order to deliver a full range of architectural, planning and interior design services. The firm specializes in the design of new and restored civic, educational and commercial facilities that are welcoming, memorable and optimally functional. Our portfolio comprises public safety, community centers, health care, educational facilities, retail space and office buildings.

Our Clients

Shah Kawasaki Architects partners with and becomes an extension of its clients. These include local municipalities such as the City of Oakland, Port of Oakland, Alameda and Contra Costa Counties; and educational clients such as the University of California.

Our practice is “relationship based.” We seek to understand and participate in achieving our clients’ long-term goals. Utilizing our creative design capabilities, we enable them to bring better services to our East Bay community.

Local projects include the renovation of Wheeler Hall at UC Berkeley, San Francisco International Airport’s Fire House 3, Studio One Arts Center, Charles Porter Recreation Center, Oakland Fire Stations 8 and 18,  Alameda County Peralta Oaks Labs, and Highland Hospital (with Smith Group and Ratcliff Architects).

Because of our extensive work in the public sector, we are adept at building consensus among stakeholders toward a common vision for a project. Our community workshops are not simply presentations. We engage the community through discussion and group exercises, and we pride ourselves on our responsiveness.


Shah Kawasaki Architects has been designing sustainably before it was fashionable to do so. In 2000, before the establishment of LEED, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognized San Jose Fire Station No. 1 as one of the first sustainably designed fire stations in the nation.

Over half of our professional staff are LEED accredited professionals, and several hold the advanced certification of BD+C professional.

SKA is one of the first firms to design a project (SFO Firehouse No. 3) under the new LEED version 4 system, which includes substantial lifecycle cost analysis. In addition, the firm has achieved three gold certificates, two silver certificates, and currently has three projects registered with LEED in design.

Our success in this area can be attributed to our commitment to understanding the technologies behind sustainable materials and systems, and our ability to navigate a project through the often conflicting environmental goals and fiduciary tensions of a publicly funded project. Our substantial commitment to sustainability in these areas is not only in the way we design projects, but also in the way we manage our office and actively educate our employees. Our office standards, including specifications, incorporate sustainable goals that make the process seamless.

Our Team and Approach

We have the available resources and staff to perform numerous projects simultaneously and to make meaningful adjustments when necessary. Our firm is organized around providing personalized service to our clients directly by one of our two principals, Alan Kawasaki and Philip Luo.

Shah Kawasaki Architects utilizes a studio-based problem solving structure. Our collaborative design process regularly incorporates “pin-ups” in which staff, principals, and consultants review work in progress, bringing added value to the client by ensuring that critical information is not individually held but scrutinized by an informed array of trained professionals.

Timing Is Everything

SKA has an extremely successful track record meeting schedules for public projects. Examples include Oakland Fire Station No. 8 and San Francisco International’s Fire Station 3, both of which were designed and constructed in less than 18 months.

Bottom line: what matters to you, matters to us. Contact us today to discuss how we can help make your project a successful one.

Our services include the following:


  • Feasibility Studies
  • Programming
  • Construction Budget
  • Basis of Design
  • Site Assessment
  • Building Assessment
  • Master Planning

Architecture & Interior Design

  • Design
  • Planning Approval
  • Rehabilitation and Restoration
  • Space Planning
  • Bridging Documents
  • Concept Design
  • Schematic Design
  • Design Development
  • Construction Documents
  • Construction Administration
  • Sustainable Design