Who We Are

Kava Massih Architects is a full service architectural firm with headquarters in Berkeley and a satellite office in San Francisco. Since its founding in 1996, the firm has been a driving force behind a wide range of innovative architectural designs in the Bay Area. 

The firm’s organization is characterized by an open and collaborative spirit that extends to its clients and communities. Our long list of repeat clients is testament to our creativity, dedication and flexibility.  We have earned a reputation as a firm capable of delivering innovative design within time and budget constraints. Our professional services include feasibility studies, programming, space planning, architecture, interior architecture, construction documentation and administration through occupancy. 

Our office has completed a wide variety of project types including market rate and affordable housing, public institutions, commercial buildings, restaurants, and highly specialized medical facilities. This project range benefits our clients, allowing us to transpose innovative solutions and problem-solving across project types. The firm’s practice is broadened and strengthened by design concepts that maximize each project’s potential.

Nearly all of our projects go through a public design review process, requiring extensive city, committee and neighborhood interaction. We find ways to embrace that involvement, weaving it into our building designs which ultimately become a source of pride for the entire community. By listening and responding to concerns, we widen the circle of ownership using the project to help reinforce communities.

We believe in a holistic approach to design which allows a balance between the current needs of our clients and a respect for the future needs of the planet. We understand that sustainable development is an integrated process involving all members of the project team. A successful collaboration results in a high quality product with minimal impact on the environment and maximum return on investment.

Kava Massih - principal

Since founding Kava Massih Architects in 1996, Kava has guided its steady growth, built its strong reputation, and garnered the respect of many repeat clients. Kava brings to all projects clear, innovative, and inspiring designs. He leads the firm’s design initiatives and his personal involvement in each phase results in a consistent quality for all projects.

In an article published in Diablo Magazine, Kava was described as a “visionary” who is “on the frontier of East Bay architecture…reshaping our world…Kava Massih’s buildings stand out.” Under his leadership, the firm has received numerous awards and jury invitations, including recognition as an “Emerging Talent Firm” by the California Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Kava’s philosophy is to approach each project without preconceived ideas in order to find the best design solution for that project. His environmentalist views and dedication to public service are also reflected in the values of the firm. Through his service as a member of the Emeryville Planning Commission, he brings an in-depth understanding of how cities approach the planning and approval process.

Kava works extensively with project stakeholders, keeping them interested and involved, ensuring that their concerns are addressed, and integrating their vision for the project into the design. He is regarded as a master consensus builder, able to satisfy the needs of various constituencies. Through his ability to listen and communicate effectively with multiple stakeholders, he ensures that all participants are on board with a design.

Jerry Mastora - principal

As a founding partner of Kava Massih Architects in 1996, Jerry has been directly involved with most of the firm’s significant projects and long term clients. With over 26 years of architectural experience, Jerry has effectively directed numerous complex, large-scale projects. He has coordinated input from a wide range of stakeholders to develop architectural programs that set the course to reach client’s goals. He has extensive experience in feasibility studies, programming, and master planning, with a proven ability to balance client objectives with project budgets. Jerry is also skilled in construction technology and directing construction administration for complex institutional projects.

Jerry has designed and managed the projects of several prominent Bay Area hospitals, including UC San Francisco, Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Alameda County Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital Oakland. One of his more notable projects was the re-design of the Emergency Department for the Summit Campus of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, including 25 treatment and resuscitation rooms. The project included careful construction staging so that emergency services could continue without interruption. He also designed the Health Sciences Building for Children’s Hospital Oakland. Because the building houses a sophisticated diagnostic tool known as a Ferritometer, it had to meet sensitive magnetic and vibration requirements, while also being cost effective, child friendly, and responsive to the historic context of the hospital’s Research Institute campus.

Jerry is currently overseeing the design of a new CEI PACE center in San Leandro.

Mark Schlientz - principal

After completing a master’s degree program at the University of Texas in Austin in 1997, Mark returned to the Bay Area where he joined the newly formed firm of Kava Massih Architects. Mark has been responsible for the successful completion of a wide range of project types, including several institutional projects, as well as adaptive reuse, commercial, multi-family housing and healthcare. He played a key role in planning and designing of several large scale projects including, Rosa Parks Elementary School in Berkeley, the Bentley School in Lafayette, and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s headquarters in Martinez, taking these projects from early stage programming through construction. Mark excels in project team communication and maintains positive on-going relationships with clients, consultants and contractors through project completion and beyond. He was invited to become Senior Associate in 2010 and Principal in July of 2016.

Mark is currently overseeing the construction of one of the firm's largest housing projects to date, a 472 unit mixed-use development in Los Angeles.

Mary Young-Williams - associate

Mary’s architectural experience spans a wide range of project types including healthcare, institutional, commercial, education, and multi-family housing. She is involved in every aspect of the architectural process from early planning and schematic design to code review, construction and client move-in. Mary has been especially involved in tenant improvements, coordinating with the building owner, the tenant, and the contractor to arrive at the final product. Her specialty includes all aspects of interior architecture—from space planning and interior design to the selection of color palettes and furniture. Since joining the firm in 2008 she has been an invaluable team member. Mary was invited to become an associate in June 2012.

Mary recently completed the interior design for all of the common spaces at the new L Seven Apartments and Lofts in San Francisco. She is currently working on the interior design for the new CEI PACE Center in San Leandro.

2016 Awards + Publications

Office SnapShots, officesnapshots.com, Published July 21, 2016, SVS Group Headquarters Tenant Improvement, Oakland, CA

Finalist, Reader's Choice Awards, Affordable Housing Finance, "Ashland Place Adds to Community Revitalization Efforts in Bay Area", July 1st, 2016, Ashland Place, San Leandro, CA.  
California Economy Reporting, www.caeconomy.org,  March 14, 2016 , “Alameda County affordable housing complex aims to rejuvenate block, local economy”, Ashland Place, San Leandro, CA

2014 Awards + Publications

HealthcareDesign Magazine, PhotoTour: Stanford Children’s Health Specialty Services, February 14, 2014.
San Francisco Business Times, Structures, "Kava Massih: An architect learning to let go, and when not to." by Steven E.F. Brown, April 4-10 2014.
Award of Merit - Affordable or Workforce Housing2014 Builder's Choice Award,  The Ambassador, Emeryville, CA  

2013 Awards + Publications

People’s Choice Award for “Distinguished Architecture” sponsored by the Action for Beauty Council in Walnut Creek,  Rossmoor Table Tennis Facility, Walnut Creek, CA
Healthcare Design Magazine, October 2013, pages 36-39, “Give Me Strength”, Pain and Rehabilitative Consultants Medical Group Outpatient Clinic, Emeryville, CA
Healthcare Design Magazine, March 2013, “New Faces of Senior Care”,  pg. 28, Golden Valley Health Center’s Senior Health & Wellness Center, Merced, CA
AIA East Bay Design Awards Program - Citation Award for Architecture, SE Division Street. Portland, OR
AIA East Bay Design Awards Program - Merit Award for Architecture, Berkeley Bowl West. Berkeley, CA

Illumination Awards - Award of Merit, The Illumination Engineering Society of North AmericaPat Brown's Grill, University of California, Berkeley. 

2012 Awards + Publications

AIA Design for Aging Review, 11th Edition, Publish Award Building - pages 118-123.  “Agesong at Bayside Park”, Emeryville, CA

2011 Awards + Publications

Semi-Finalist, International Competition, Bangladesh Cyclone Center. Selected as 1 of 4 semi-finalist invited to site in late March.

Focus on Healthcare Foodservice, Spring 2011, featured projects - cover + pages 10-12, 14, 16. Janice Cha, “UCSF’s Mission Impossible,” UC San Francisco Medical Center Parnassus Campus - Moffitt Cafe, San Francisco, CA 

2010 Awards + Publications

California Home & Design, February/March, page 56, “A Warm Welcome,” Ashby Lofts, Berkeley, CA 

East Bay Monthly, April, pages 7-9, Lauri Puchall, “Bowled Over Again,” Berkeley Bowl West, Berkeley, CA

Grocery Headquarters, April, pages 31-38, Richard Turcsik, “Perfect Game,” Berkeley Bowl West, Berkeley, CA

Design through Dialogue, by Karen A Franck and Teresa von Summaruga Howard, J.W. Wiley & Sons. Ltd., pages 31, 64, 79, 95, 101, 122, 124, 150.

Merced Sun-Star, November 15, 2010, “Services for senior care to be offered under one roof” Golden Valley Health Center, Merced, CA

Award for Design Excellence, Berkeley Design Advocates, West Berkeley Bowl, 920 Heinz Avenue, Building Types - Commercial, Berkeley, CA

Architectural Record, “Berkeley Bowl West”, August 16, 2010,  Berkeley, CA

2009 Awards + Publications

SF Gate, September 1, 2009, John King, “New Berkeley Bowl Dares to Stand Out” Berkeley Bowl West, Berkeley, CA

San Francisco Chronicle, June 9, John King, “Postcards from the edge of Emeryville,” page E-1, Glasshaus, Emeryville, CA

Oakland City Council, Resolution recognizing Kava Massih Architects for their commitment to sustainability and green building, congratulating Zephyr Gate on its GreenPoint rating through the Build It Green certification program. 

San Francisco Business Times, May 8, p. 8, “AgeSong to wrap up Emeryville facility” AgeSong Assisted Living. Emeryville, CA 

2008 Awards + Publications

Archnews, February issue, p. 8, “Firm Profile: Kava Massih Architects” Bentley School, UC Berkeley Public Health Library, and The Sierra. Lafayette, Berkeley, and Oakland, CA

San Francisco Chronicle, February 12, “Place: West Berkeley builds community,” page E-1, Activspace, Berkeley, CA 

San Francisco Business Times, June 6, “Retail development planned for Southeast Division,” 3103 S.E. Division, Portland, OR

East Bay Business Times, September 19, “SF firm to build $29M senior residence,” AgeSong Emeryville, Emeryville, CA

Inside Bay Area, May 13, “Casa Verde opens in San Leandro,” Casa Verde, San Leandro, CA

The HayWord, July 28, “Celebration officially begins for Casa Verde,” Casa Verde, San Leandro, CA

Contra Costa Times, July 22 “District Attorney’s Office opens new headquarters,” Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, Martinez, CA

2007 Awards + Publications

National Association of Home Builders - Pillars of the Industry Awards Finalist, Best Garden/Small Scale Condo Community, City Limits. Emeryville, CA

Architecture of the San Francisco Bay: A History & Guide by Mitchell Schwarzer, 2007 © William Stout Publishers. The Sierra p. 148 and Bentley School Gymnasium p. 158.

Oak and Octavia Invitational Competition, Invitational competition to design a mixed-use residential building in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley neighborhood.

arcCA, February issue, p. 26–27, “Design Review in San Francisco: Three Perspectives”, Elephant Pharmacy and The Sierra. Berkeley and Oakland, CA 

2007 Educational Interiors Awards, Bronze Citation, University of California Berkeley, Cafe 3, Berkeley, CA

Berkeley Daily Californian, January 17, p. 5, “Dining Uncommon”, University of California Dining Commons. Berkeley, CA

2006 Awards + Publications

San Francisco Chronicle, February 12, p. CM15, “T-Rex Still Evolving”, T-Rex Barbeque. Berkeley, CA

PG&E Savings by Design Award, Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, Martinez, CA

Greenstop Design Competition, Competition Finalist. Tulare County, San Joaquin Valley, CA

Contra Costa Times, January 6, “BBQ Buzzes with Brontosaurus-Size Bones” T-Rex Barbeque. Berkeley, CA

Diablo Magazine, November issue, p. 96, “Chow House: Berkeley Architect Kava Massih is Master of Tastefull Design”, Epicurious Gardens, Nation’s Giant Hamburger and T-Rex Barbecue, all in Berkeley, CA

San Francisco Chronicle, July 18, p. D3, “Humble Burger Bistro Gets Stylish Treatment” Nation’s Giant Hamburger. Berkeley, CA 

Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards Special Needs Housing, Honorable Mention, University Neighborhood Apartments, Berkeley, CA

Oakland Tribune, February 8, p. Living 1, “Gourmet To-go” Epicurious Garden. Berkeley, CA

2005 Awards + Publications

AIArchitect This Week, August 1, Project Watch,“Unique Partnership Produces Nation’s First Affordable, Universal-Design Apartment Complex”, University Neighborhood Apartments. Berkeley, CA

Access by Design, Winter issue, #105, p. 14–17, “University Neighborhood Apartments–A Case Study from the USA”, University Neighborhood Apartments. Berkeley, CA

Business Week, November 28, p. 108–109, “Home is Where the Factory Is” City Limits. Emeryville, CA

San Francisco Chronicle, November 10, p. E1, “Don’t Let Architectural Snobbery Interfere with Your Enjoyment of These Five Ugly Duckling Bay Area Buildings”, Chevron Station. Emeryville, CA

Multi-Housing News, September issue, “The Nation’s Top 100 Multi-Housing Architects”

Builder Magazine, December issue, p. 154–156, “The Starter Set”, City Limits. Emeryville, CA

Multi-Housing News, August issue, p. 13, “Universally Designed AH Opens in Berkeley,” University Neighborhood Apartments. Berkeley, CA

Architecture, April issue, p. 72–73, “Stair-Case Studies”, Evolve Software. Emeryville, CA

Competitions Magazine, Winter issue, p. 20–27, “Learning to Love the Freeway, MOCA at the Luther Burbank Center”

Invitational Competition, Finalist. Luther Burbank Center. Santa Rosa, CA 

San Francisco Chronicle, September 15, p. E1, “Plans for new D.A.’s office in Martinez offer a smart step forward”, Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office. Martinez, CA

West Berkeley Foundation Award, West Berkeley Foundation. Berkeley, CA

2004 Awards + Publications

Contra Costa Center for Jewish Education, Winner, Invitational Competition, Campus Masterplan and Expansion. Walnut Creek, CA

Museum of Contemporary Art, Finalist, Invitational Competition. One of three top firms invited to final stage of competition. Luther Burbank Center. Santa Rosa, CA

Architectural League of New York Finalist, Invitational Competition

San Francisco Chronicle, February 22, p. G1–G12, “The Name Game”, Liquid Sugar Lofts. Emeryville, CA

Architectural Record, March issue on website – Bentley School. Lafayette, CA

Affordable Housing Finance, Volume 12, No. 3 “Pioneering ‘Universal Design’ project gets under way.”, University Neighborhood Apartments. Berkeley, CA.

Oakland, July/August issue, p. 86–91, “Living Aloft”, The Sierra. Oakland, CA

Architectural Record, July issue, cover, p. 9–12, Review: “Small Schools, No Small Effort”, Bentley School. Lafayette, CA

Gold Nugget Awards, Award of Merit - Residential Project of the Year—Attached, Liquid Sugar Lofts. Emeryville, CA

Gold Nugget Awards, Award of Merit - Best Attached Project—30 dwelling units/acre, Liquid Sugar Lofts. Emeryville, CA

McGeorge School of Law, Finalist, Invitational Competition, Sacramento, CA

2003 Awards + Publications

Arch•Tech, January/February issue, p. 16 “Integral Lighting–Office Design”, Evolve Software. Emeryville, CA

East Bay AIA Design Awards Program - Merit Award Silver—Out of the Box,  Sliver Project. Emeryville, CA.

East Bay AIA Design Awards Program - Merit Award for Architecture,  Bentley School Gymnasium. Lafayette, CA.

East Bay AIA Design Awards Program - Merit Award for Interior, Evolve Software. Emeryville, CA

National Home Builder Association Awards Finalist, Attached Community of the Year, Liquid Sugar Lofts. Emeryville, CA

National Home Builder Association Awards - Best Interior Merchandising, Western United States Regional Winner. Liquid 2. Emeryville, CA

Oakland Heritage Alliance - Partners in Preservation Award. Adeline Lofts. Oakland, CA

Home and Architectural Trends, Vol. 19, No. 4, p. 98–112, “Lofty ideas” Liquid Sugar Lofts. Emeryville, CA

Oakland Tribune, Sunday, May 4, p. B1 “Lofty Living”, The Sierra. Oakland, CA

San Francisco Chronicle, April 18 “A new Berkeley development is 21st century artists’ colony.” Activspace. Berkeley, CA

Berkeley Voice, January 10, p. B2 “Leading residential developer enters Bay Area market” The Sierra. Oakland, CA

East Bay AIA Design Awards Program - Merit Award for Architecture, The Sierra. Oakland, CA.

Architectural Record, "The architects carve an expansive school project out of a challenging site". Bentley Upper School Gymnasium. Lafayette, CA.

2002 Awards + Publications

San Francisco Chronicle, July 21, p. A27 “Lofty goals for Oakland warehouse district”, The Sierra. Oakland, CA

San Francisco Chronicle, July 21, p. A23 “London Calling”, The Sierra. Oakland, CA

California Construction Link, June issue, p. 30 “Oakland’s Iron-Deficient Building” Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. New Health Science Building. Oakland, CA.

Diablo Magazine, April issue, p. 48–57 “The Mod Squad; Four Hot Architects are making Modern Art in the East Bay’s ’Burbs.” 

Berkeley Design Advocates Award The Dakota. Berkeley, CA. Warehouse rehabilitation project.

Berkeley Design Advocates Award. 8th Street Lofts, 3 live/work units. Berkeley, CA

East Bay Business Times, Structures 2000 – Interior Design of the Year Award Crown Renovation Project. Emeryville, CA

San Francisco Business Journal, March issue, p. 21, “Oakland’s former PG&E building reborn, again”, Oakland, CA

Architecture, January issue, p. 34, Sliver Building, Emeryville, CA

Architecture, February issue, p. 40–42, Health Science Building, Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland. Oakland, CA

2001 Awards + Publications

Western Metal in Architecture, May/June, p. 8–9, Hollis Business Center. Emeryville, CA

Architectural Record, June 2001 issue, p. 158–160,"Retaining an old factory's airy gradeur", Evolve Software. Emeryville, CA

AIASF and SF Examiner Magazine Best of the Bay—Inside, Merit Award, Evolve Software.
Emeryville, CA

AIACC and Monterey Design Conference, Statewide invitational competition. Emerging Talent invitational award winner and Monterey Design Conference presenter. Sponsored by the AIACC, Spring. Asilomar, CA

Downtown Berkeley Association  Excellence in Design Award, Kaplan Educational Center. Berkeley, CA

SF Examiner Magazine, February 18, p. 28, Evolve Software. Emeryville, CA

Places Magazine, Winter issue, p. 6–9, Rosa Parks Elementary School. Berkeley, CA (Formerly Columbus Elementary School)

San Francisco Business Journal, May 4–10, p. 38, “Sound Structure.”

2000 Awards + Publications

Building Design & Construction, February issue “Give Me Shelter”, Shattuck Senior Homes. Berkeley, CA

San Francisco Chronicle, March 21, Datebook B1, “Emeryville on the Rise,” EmeryTech. Emeryville, CA

San Francisco Business Times Real Estate Deals of the Year - Best Rehab/Renovation Finalist EmeryTech. Emeryville, CA

San Francisco Business Times, May 12, p. 13, “Another Emeryville Warehouse Conversion”, Glashaus Project. Emeryville, CA

Berkeley Daily Planet, July 19, p. 1., “Facelift for newly remodeled building revealed to public,” Kaplan Education Center. Berkeley, CA

Interiors, October, p. 83, “Industry Non-Standard,” Evolve. Emeryville, CA

Award of Merit: Commercial Over 10,000 SF, AIA San Francisco, Evolve Software, Emeryville, CA

1999 Awards + Publications

Gold Nugget Awards, Merit Award, Best Multi-Family Project, Shattuck Senior Homes. Berkeley, CA

Berkeley Design Advocates Award - Affordable Housing, Shattuck Senior Homes. Berkeley, CA

Gold Nugget Awards, Merit Award, Best Affordable Housing Project, Shattuck Senior Homes. Berkeley, CA

Architectural Record, February issue “Seniors with Style”, The Avalon. Emeryville, CA

National Council on Seniors’ Housing, Honorable Mention, Shattuck Senior Homes. Berkeley, CA

1998 Awards + Publications

Outstanding Adaptive Re-use Award, The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association - Pyramid Brewery & Alehouse, Berkeley, CA

AIA East Bay Merit Award Shattuck Senior Homes. Berkeley, CA

Award of Excellence, Berkeley Design Advocates, Pyramid Brewery, Berkeley,  CA

AIA East Bay Merit Award  Pyramid Brewery. Berkeley, CA

920 Grayson Street
Berkeley, CA 94710  

Phone: 510.644.1920

95 Federal Street
San Francisco, CA  94107

Phone: 415.357.1740

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Job Listings

We are currently seeking to fill the position of Intermediate Designer

We are seeking a qualified candidate with a 4-year architectural degree (min.) and 5+ years of architectural experience. You should have strong technical ability with experience in both design and design documentation. You should be capable of managing a project including client communication, consultantant coordination, agency review, and team oversight. You should be an effective communicator as well as a willing collaborator. Candidates must be proficient in AutoCAD, (Revit preferred), Microsoft Office applications, and Adobe CS applications. Licensed Architect and/or LEED accreditation is beneficial. Salary, commensurate with experience

Our current work includes multi-unit housing and various commercial and institutional projects throughout the Bay Area and the state. As a midsized firm our benefits package is comparable to that of most large firms.

Come work in an environment where your skills will be challenged and creativity rewarded.

Please email resumes to:


(Please, no calls)


Mixed-Use Building in the heart of San Francisco

November 8th, 2017

This past July, construction was completed at L Seven Apartments and Lofts. Located in a historically industrial neighborhood with a colorful past, L Seven provides an entire city block of rental apartments plus commercial, retail, office and artist studio space in San Francisco’s lively SoMa district. A large public park, café with outdoor seating, and a central promenade green space provide opportunities for social gathering and respite from the busy urban environment. Ringold Alley Art Walk features numerous public art installations commemorating the history of the area.

Formerly a surface parking lot, the entire project consists of seven buildings constructed over an underground parking garage. The 410 rental apartments are a mix of flats, lofts, flex units and two story townhomes. Along the two side alleys are PDR, Production-Distribution and Repair, spaces with roll-up doors and flex units with private garages. Residents have exclusive access to multiple roof decks, a community lounge, fitness facility, dog run and conference center. The project was built to achieve LEED Silver certification.

Photography by Bruce Damonte and Miller Company. 

Happy Hound delights dogs and humans

September 26th, 2017

This ½ acre triangle site in West Oakland was previously abandoned and neglected. We designed a new one story 10,800 sq ft specialized animal care facility on this site, improving the surrounding area with a cheerful color and a lenticular wall mural.

Happy Hound is a unique dog boarding and training facility focused on creating a nurturing, comfortable and safe environment for dogs of all ages.  They provide boarding, daycare, training, fitness programs and spa service in a cage free environment. Their new facility accommodates dogs of various size and ages. For the humans, there is a large reception area, staff offices and a director’s office. The project incorporates numerous green building strategies such as storm water treatment planters, bicycle parking, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and exceeds Title 24 standards.

Photography by Tubay Yabut.