At Mark Cavagnero Associates, we believe Design is inherently a catalyst for positive change. Our office consists of more than 70 multi-disciplinary professionals, committed to the practice of architecture, and in pursuit of design excellence.  Mark Cavagnero 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 the creative endeavor and commitment of Mark Cavagnero 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.  Our work varies in scale and building type, and includes education, museums, civic buildings, theaters, residential, commercial and cultural projects.

We have a diverse group of architects from different generations within our practice.  Project teams combine a group of highly experienced architects with a younger generation of our staff, allowing for an ongoing exchange of knowledge, information and skills.  We achieve continuity through the process by ensuring that each team that starts a project sees it through to completion.  



In support of innovation, we encourage each member of a project team to investigate the experiential qualities of our work.  Drawings and models are our mediums of thinking, enabling us to bring conceptual trajectories to life. Through the process, we are consistently balancing the synthesis of the client’s needs, the community wants, and budget.


Our practice was built on a foundation of serving civic, cultural and institutional clients; thus, we approach each project with a focus on the immediate and greater community it will serve.  This is a consistent thread that we carry through all of our projects.  The community’s and the users’ needs and stories, informs and enriches our design.  Through actively engaging with individuals we learn important aspects of the essence of our communities, enabling us to create spaces that are unique to and reflect the culture of a place.


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.

Design Approach

Mark Cavagnero’s practice of architecture is founded on respect for each generation that has been committed to recognizing the value of place making.  His work, while refined, is not one with pretentious character.  His attention to detailing demonstrates great care and respect for the clients and the users of each project. It is timeless, as it doesn’t follow a certain fashion or style, allowing each building to be a unique reaction to its specific requirements. His continued selection of a minimal material palette has achieved great richness in each project by creating subtle contrasts and contradictions that emphasize the true nature of each material. Concrete, glass, steel, and wood are manipulated, combined, and detailed to create simplicity and clarity in his designs, belying the complexity of thought and specificity of intention.  He seamlessly integrates environmental, cultural, and contextual strategies in a holistic design approach that is a direct response to the unique parameters of each project.