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Goring & Straja: Firm Profile

Goring & Straja principals, Jim Goring, AIA and André Straja, AIA met while working in San Francisco at William Turnbull Associates in the 1980s. There they refined their core values about place, attended occasional ‘bad attitude’ lunches, and learned much as they could from Bill and their colleagues.After separately being invited to ‘graduate’ William Turnbull Associates in the 90’s, Jim and André ventured out to form independent practices.  Goring received the call one day from Straja in Milan suggesting the transnational alliance and it seemed natural to say yes.  The two branches maintain their alliance by leveraging the near 24-hour active office – sharing staff, collaborating on marketing and design efforts, and staying close to their mission statement: have fun, do good work, and stay in business.

Over the past two decades, Goring & Straja have helmed a wide range of projects. In Milan, André has grown his side of the practice by focusing on mixed-use commercial work in Italy and retail development across Europe, bringing an American model of service and a professionally driven business practice with him. In the Bay Area and across California, the firm has been involved in a variety of institutional, residential, and commercial projects, particularly finding success in the ‘wicked problem’ challenges of complex institutional clients.

In the firm’s California work, GaS embraces the eclecticism of the region’s traditions, finding that each client and community inspires a unique approach. Working with Nespresso’s Milanese concept architect in Beverly Hills to develop a flagship retail café, the team drew on the particular tradition of LA modernist architecture to support an international brand with an international style of Southern California spirit. The result is an inviting light-filled boutique and café open to the sidewalk that celebrates both the lively local promenade and the client’s quality driven brand identity.

At the Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, Goring & Straja is in the construction phase of a science and technology wing, merging a sustainable steam punk attitude with the bucolic hillside campus. At the same campus GaS recently completed a high school classroom building which was awarded Sustainable San Mateo’s Green Building Award, and PG&E’s Savings by design recognition. Targeting net zero performance, the first year’s metrics placed the building’s energy production very well above its consumption.

Most recently, Goring & Straja was invited to create a proposal for an updated master plan for the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church campus in Orinda. Our faith community work currently includes worship space improvements at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Daly City, master planning at Sequoia Community Church in Oakland, as well as ongoing work with Valley Christian Church and Schools in Dublin.

Whether for churches or schools, retail brands or private individuals, Goring & Straja Architects approaches every project as an opportunity to enhance the spirit of a particular place, while providing clients and communities with spaces that serve, engage and delight.

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