The firm was founded in 1988 as Barnes and Cavagnero, and in 1993 became Mark Cavagnero Associates, grounded in a set of core values with a strong focus on public and institutional projects and a belief in the power of collaboration and community building. Our wide-ranging portfolio of completed work includes large and small-scale institutional, non-profit, commercial, residential and work spaces. In all of our work, we balance the critical concerns of budget and schedule to create contemporary facilities that are contextual, timeless and offer a dignified presence to the communities they serve.

Our vision is sensitive to the ever-evolving needs of the built environment. We consistently pursue design solutions that will ensure long-term benefits for the communities we work in to result in legacies that will last for generations. In pursuit of innovation, we investigate design concepts through an iterative process to resolve complex design issues with clarity and simplicity.

Our founder, Mark Cavagnero, is especially sensitive to the cultural heritage and historic significance of place. Throughout his career, he has deliberately developed and honed his talent for preserving it. Adhering to this philosophy, by carefully investigating the cultural roots and social patterns of each place, we arrive at a response to each context.

Our office consists of more than 70 multi-disciplinary professionals, committed to the practice of architecture, and in pursuit of design excellence. Mark is a socially and environmentally conscious architect, with a significant contribution to the context and quality of San Francisco’s civic life. Our company was founded by Mark’s creative endeavor and commitment to the practice of architecture—a spirit that each one of us carries forth as we take on new roles to solve complex problems and seek fresh solutions to each project.


While many of our clients initially approach us with a goal of building green, we strive to adopt sustainable strategies in all of our projects. Sustainable design continues to be an ever-more important part of our practice. We approach a new project by carefully observing the parameters of each specific site, including light patterns, seasonal variations, and location of existing trees. We then integrate the requirements of the program, sustainable technologies, and methodologies of construction to achieve clear responses to the qualities demanded by the client, the site, and the program.