Ratcliff’s design philosophy is based on the concept that space matters; architecture impacts us every day, it enhances and amplifies our experience as human beings. We approach our work by gaining a deep understanding of the context within which we are working; this context is multivalent and includes physical, functional and cultural considerations. Armed with this deep project knowledge, our goal is to develop the most appropriate design response that will be enduring and will provide long-term value.


Our passion is to assist clients in creating environments that support their organizational mission at critical junctures in: learning, healing, living, working and worship. We believe that organizations, and the people who drive them, want to be heard, valued, and understood while also being engaged in creative work. The strong working relationships we create with our clients, firmly rooted in a philosophy of co-discovery and co-creation, have sustained our practice for over a century.

Ratcliff has an estimated 5,000+ structures to its credit, including several listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. We are proud to continue our decades long relationships with local and significant institutions, including the University of California, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, John Muir Health, California State Universities, Bay Area Independent Schools and dozens of regional cities and counties.

As a result, over 80% of our current commissions come from repeat clients. These long-term relationships are perhaps the best indicator of the quality and consistency of our work. Together, we have designed medical and academic campuses, private K-12 schools, and community buildings.