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Firm Profile: Baran Studio

Baran Studio Architecture is a full-service design firm with projects that include mixed-use, commercial, large-scale residential, and single-family homes. Our work balances the conventions of design and construction with an open mind toward invention.  The underlying studio philosophy incorporates adaptability, improvisation, and resourcefulness into an understanding of real-world constraints such as regulatory agencies, neighborhood groups, and construction costs. We believe good design is derived from a process, not a style. And we pride ourselves on a collaborative spirit in our partnerships with clients and all parties that contribute to our projects, both inside and outside of the studio.

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Founded in 2010 by Matthew Baran, Baran Studio Architecture was born out of his experiences practicing architecture for 15 years, and then returning to academia to rethink the architectural process. Matt graduated from the post-professional Master’s pro-gram at UC Berkeley at the height of the 2009 recession. Turning to teaching part-time at UC Berkeley and The Academy of Art, he began the fledgling firm with a back-pack and a laptop. In his studies, he developed robotic solutions that adapted to specific site conditions, prima-rily on sites that presented challenges such as contamination, crime, and a general lack of resources. The robot-ic research translated well into practice because of the focus on site conditions, and how they can influence built form. The studio still integrates these adaptive principles today, taking very simple, inexpensive, and con-structable forms, and adding site-specific components to give the projects a unique quality that roots them in their location.

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Our focus is on process rather than a style, and we look to diverse factors when beginning a new project. These typically include environmental and built conditions such as solar access, prevailing wind, views, light, air, and privacy, but we try to focus on what makes a site unique and to play off those characteristics, often in an unconventional manner and with irreverent spirit.  While our projects appear unique and often refuse to blend in, we strive to create architecture that grows out of its site con-ditions. Additionally, we pride ourselves on our ability to improvise in difficult situations, turning potential lia-bilities into assets. We excel at making the best out of given conditions and operating within constraints. Ultimately our projects balance practical concerns with visionary direction. ■