We design buildings that enrich people’s lives

a prefix meaning: together with; jointly; equally

We are dedicated to perpetual innovation and continual improvement through collaboration with our clients.

From inception in 1986, CO Architects’ employees have shared the singular goal of creating lasting impact through design for both the communities our buildings transform and the people who use them everyday to provide critical services and expand the frontiers of knowledge.

Our design, expertise, technical systems, planning, documentation and project management each play essential, complementary roles that enable us to pursue this goal as a unified team. CO Architects also provides programming, facility evaluation, comprehensive planning and laboratory and medical planning.

Molding everyday spaces of education, technology, health, and culture, CO Architects is driven to accentuate the nuance and intricacy that exists within the simplistic.

Where expertise meets curiosity

We strive to make buildings as useful as they are beautiful. The people who need our buildings to perform – students and surgeons, faculty and facilities maintenance, patients and physicians – remain our paramount focus. We understand their diverse needs and requirements to create memorable places that build community and celebrate the experience of being in a particular place at a particular time. Each step is an opportunity for communication and collaboration with our clients, consultants and builders. Our design emerges through a creative, iterative process of discovery. We look forward to our next discovery, together.

The ‘Big Idea’ guides all efforts

Focus lies on finding the physical representation of each project's vision and goals.

Create an individual expression
Support flexible space use
Strive for universal access
Encourage movement
Promote interaction
Foster wellness
Harness daylight
Reflect the context
Design for the environment

The CO Mindset

Ambitious Vision, Meticulous Detail

We are at our best when working on complex projects that require us to solve challenges in new ways, reimagine what’s possible and demand the highest standards of execution.

Design Thinking in Everything We Do

We are focused on elevating places for people who inhabit our buildings where the best ideas come through collaboration and diverse interaction.

Commitment to Continuous Improvement

We remain committed to always doing better than what we did last, innovating on our best or finding a new way.

People Powered, People Centered

We support every individual at CO and encourage their development and leadership to help employees and our firm reach their fullest potential.

Practice in Perpetuity

We are collectively a part of a firm that transcends each of our individual contributions to build an enduring legacy to be continued by successive generations of talent. The nature of our firm – our openness and curiosity – nurtures long-term relationships amongst ourselves and our clients, and our practice is set up for seamless transitions in leadership.

We Pledge Sustainability

Rather than append sustainability as an afterthought, we have inextricably interwoven environmental stewardship and sustainability into our design process.

We encourage our clients to adopt strategies during design and construction to achieve high standards of environmental sustainability and push beyond the limitations and boundaries of what was previously possible.

We are committed to minimizing the carbon footprint of new construction and when possible, we work to revitalize existing structures to prolong their lives and conserve resources.

Championing environmental sustainability is not only the right thing to do, it enables buildings to maintain usefulness and impact over the long term. Our integrated and multi-faceted collaborative approach includes assessment of socio-cultural implications, functional aspects, economic considerations, procedural efficiencies and the life cycle including the embedded energy contained in the building materials.

All contribute to creating the unique fabric and sustainability solutions for each project. We propose technologies that are durable rather than replaceable and that add value over time rather than realize only short-term economies.

The firm has set an example in the industry with projects like the Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center, the first Double LEED Platinum certified hospital in the world. As part of our strategy to achieve high-performance buildings with low energy and water use, we seek passive, commonsense solutions first, followed by consideration of active, systems-based ideas.

Careful to always remember the end user and the purpose of our work, we evaluate how technology and material selections can advance sustainability and consider its lasting impact on operations and maintenance during the project’s entire life cycle.