Legacy

We take pride in the enduring value our buildings provide Bay Area communities.

Established in 1906, Ratcliff is an established living and learning Bay Area architecture firm. We have seen tremendous change in society and the profession, and have experienced recession and prosperity, turbulence and peace, and social and technological evolution…vast changes in the modern era.

Ratcliff, based in Emeryville, is one of the longest-continually operating architecture firms in the nation. Founded by Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr., AIA, over a century ago, the firm continues to design meaningful and sustainable healthcare, academic and community architecture for Bay Area clients.

Ratcliff was recognized as Firm of the Year by the AIACC for a culture rooted in a core set of values that began with Walter and were carried on by his son, Robert, his grandson, Christopher, and the firm’s designers today. This family enterprise has evolved into a vibrant, dynamic practice with multiple partners committed to serving as co-creators of the future by designing structures that have enduring value for the client and the community in which they exist.

Our legacy brings us full circle to the ideals and enthusiasm of our beginning and affirms our purpose of engaging with people to create architecture that is sustainable, valued, durable and useful. Based on opportunities which best support our client’s Mission and Vision, our design concepts evolve as an integrated solution to diverse programmatic, functional, aesthetic, and technical considerations. Each of our buildings represents a unique response to a particular client, program, site, and architectural context. With an abiding respect for the environment, we employ technology and principles of sustainability to best achieve project goals.

Walter Harris Ratcliff

Professional License (1906)

Professional License (1906)

Anna Head Residence (1911)

Hillside School (1926)

Fidelity Bank (1926)

Pacific School of Religion (1926)

/ 1906 – 1945

Walter H. Ratcliff, Architect

Walter Harris Ratcliff is licensed to practice architecture in 1906. He practices residential design in the Bay Area alongside his peers – John Galen Howard, Julia Morgan, and Bernard Maybeck. Soon after he becomes campus architect for Mills College, Berkeley’s city architect and slowly shifts his residential design focus to include institutional work.

/ 1945 – 1953

Ratcliff, Haymond & Ratcliff

During Walter’s long career he executed more than 600 commissions, including family homes, commercial and civic buildings. Following the Depression and World War II, Walter expanded ownership to his son, Robert W. Ratcliff, and long-time employee Scott Haymond. At least three-fourths of the commissions during this time were residential. The firm remained centered in Berkeley.

UCB Fernwald Dorm (1945)

Scott Haymond

Brezee Residence (1947)

Berkeley Baptist Divinity School Chapel (1949)

Meads Residence (1950)

St. Margaret’s Chapel (1952)

UCB Fernwald Dorm (1945)

Scott Haymond

Brezee Residence (1947)

Berkeley Baptist Divinity School Chapel (1949)

Meads Residence (1950)

St. Margaret’s Chapel (1952)

/ 1945 – 1953

Ratcliff, Haymond & Ratcliff

During Walter’s long career he executed more than 600 commissions, including family homes, commercial and civic buildings. Following the Depression and World War II, Walter expanded ownership to his son, Robert W. Ratcliff, and long-time employee Scott Haymond. At least three-fourths of the commissions during this time were residential. The firm remained centered in Berkeley.

Walter and Robert (1960s)

Walter and Robert (1960s)

Partridge Residence (1956)

The Foster Residence (1957)

Berkeley Firehouse (1959)

Pacific School of Religion Holbrook Library (1960)

Bernard Maybeck and Robert Ratcliff (1960s)

/ 1953 – 1960

Ratcliff and Ratcliff

The father-and-son practice continued with housing for the University of California and in the design of several religious colleges fraternities, sororities as well as private residences throughout the East Bay. Robert Ratcliff declares himself a modernist and is quick to depart from his father’s architectural influences.

/ 1960 – 1978

Ratcliff, Slama & Cadwalader

After Walter’s retirement in 1955, Robert W. Ratcliff joined with associates Murry A. Slama and A. Burns Cadwalader in renaming the firm Ratcliff Slama & Cadwalader in 1961. As one of the largest firms in the East Bay the firm expanded to take on increasingly large civic projects, parks and recreation, historic renovation, public housing, research and technology and health facilities.

Church of the Resurrection (1961)

Highland Hospital (1964)

Alameda County Parking Structure (1964)

Robert Ratcliff, Murry Slama and A. Burns Cadwalader (1970s)

Lake Anza Bathouse (1965)

PG&E Engineering Research Center (1967)

Church of the Resurrection (1961)

Highland Hospital (1964)

Alameda County Parking Structure (1964)

Robert Ratcliff, Murry Slama and A. Burns Cadwalader (1970s)

Lake Anza Bathouse (1965)

PG&E Engineering Research Center (1967)

/ 1960 – 1978

Ratcliff, Slama & Cadwalader

After Walter’s retirement in 1955, Robert W. Ratcliff joined with associates Murry A. Slama and A. Burns Cadwalader in renaming the firm Ratcliff Slama & Cadwalader in 1961. As one of the largest firms in the East Bay the firm expanded to take on increasingly large civic projects, parks and recreation, historic renovation, public housing, research and technology and health facilities.

Oakland Airport Terminal II Expansion (1985)

University of Oregon Science Complex (1990)

Kaiser Fresno Medical Center (1994)

Alameda City Hall (1997)

VA Palo Alto Replacement Hospital (1997)

/ 1978 – 1999

The Ratcliff Architects

The Ratcliff Architects is established in 1978 and grandson Christopher “Kit” P. Ratcliff joins the firm in 1982. Under his leadership, the firm continued a tradition of top quality buildings of enduring design, and has adhered to management philosophies relying on an emphasis on relationships. In 1996, The Ratcliff Architects merged with Crosby Helmich Architects, bringing together two experienced firms with complementary practices. As Ratcliff, they continue to build relationships with local and regional clients and continue their involvement in community and professional affairs.

/ 2000 – 2014

Ratcliff

What began as a family enterprise has evolved into a dynamic group of architects who are driven by a sincere interest in helping others and are dedicated to improving the built environment through design excellence. The architecture industry begins to transform with the introduction of sustainable design tenets and delivery methods such as design-build. The firm is a proud recipient of the AIACC Firm of the Year Award in 2005 and soon celebrates its centennial in 2006.

UC Berkeley Doe Library (2008)

John Muir Medical Center (2008)

St. Mary’s College Filippi Hall (2008)

Windrush School (2009)

Kaiser San Mateo MOB (2011)

UC Berkeley School of Law (2011)

UC Berkeley Doe Library (2008)

John Muir Medical Center (2008)

St. Mary’s College Filippi Hall (2008)

Windrush School (2009)

Kaiser San Mateo MOB (2011)

UC Berkeley School of Law (2011)

/ 2000 – 2014

Ratcliff

What began as a family enterprise has evolved into a dynamic group of architects who are driven by a sincere interest in helping others and are dedicated to improving the built environment through design excellence. The architecture industry begins to transform with the introduction of sustainable design tenets and delivery methods such as design-build. The firm is a proud recipient of the AIACC Firm of the Year Award in 2005 and soon celebrates its centennial in 2006.

SJSU Wellness Center (2015)

De La Salle STREAM Center (2015)

Stanford Cancer Center South Bay (2015)

Valley Health Center (2016)

Highland Hospital Tower Replacement (2016)

Foothill College Learning Resource Center (2016)

/ 2015 – PRESENT

Ratcliff

After a decade of designing distinguished architecture, Ratcliff continues to offer a broad range of architecture, interior design and planning services to healthcare, academic and civic clients. As one of the nation’s longest continually-operating architectural firms, Ratcliff has evolved with the industry, from the days when architects sketched on linen to today’s thriving computerized practice illustrated virtual image building models. We take pride in the enduring value our buildings provide the communities they serve.