David Baker Architects


Pedram Farashbandi, AIA, Principal

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Principal Pedram Farashbandi, AIA, is a visionary architect focused on mid-rise and high-rise design. He specializes in guiding projects in the initial phases, rethinking conventional approaches, and adapting workflows. Pedram leads DBA’s exploration of new technologies, including 3D and VR visualization software, multimedia presentations, and automation.

A high school summer job building 3D digital models set Pedram on a path to a prolific, international career in architecture. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Azad University in Shiraz, Iran, and a Master of Architecture from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

His diverse projects for DBA include A2, market-rate housing in Baltimore, Maryland; Union Flats, an extensive modular development in Union City, California; Edwina Benner Plaza, all-electric affordable housing in Sunnyvale, California; and OME at 1178 Folsom, a mixed-use micro-unit building in San Francisco.

Currently, he is working on a range of projects—from modular to high-rise—in various stages in San Francisco, including: Treasure Island Tower, 921 O’Farrell, Sutter Park, 53 Colton Street Affordable Housing, and Tahanan Supportive Housing.

“Pedram asks the best questions and has a way of elevating everything he touches. He has been single handedly responsible for leveling-up our visualization and the way we communicate our work.”
—Amanda Loper, AIA, LEED AP, Principal

Get to know Pedram.

Where I’m from:

I grew up in Iran, in a southern city called Shiraz—just like the wine. It’s the origin of shiraz wine and is also well-known for having a lot of poets. I got my undergraduate degree in Iran, and then went to Edinburgh, Scotland, to study architecture and urbanism. Because I like whiskey better than wine, probably!

We studied traditional Eastern architecture, but the architecture education in Iran is very similar to what students learn here. Many of our teachers had trained outside Iran. One was a young architect who had trained in the United States, and he was proposing very contemporary designs, which generated a lot of controversy. He was very inspiring. However, access information was very limited then. But I think that limitation brings creativity, and now that I look back, I realize it helped me to imagine spaces and to work with what I have.

Getting to DBA:

I came to California at the end of 2008, when the recession hit, so I found a job designing gas stations. Eventually, I gained a position with Kanner Architects in Santa Monica by day, and I was working for an architectural rendering company by night. Stephen Kanner was an important figure in shaping my ideas and character as an architect. I learned how to have a holistic view while paying attention to details. After he passed away and the firm shut down, I relocated to the Bay Area.

I was working on a multifamily development in West Sacramento that was right next to the Rivermark, a DBA project under construction at the same time. It was my first exposure to DBA. My project was market-rate housing, and DBA’s was affordable housing, but I said to myself, “Those guys are doing things that I cannot do in a market-rate project. So they must know something.” Essentially, DBA made the project I was working on better, because I started comparing my work with theirs and used it as something to aspire to. When that project was coming to an end, DBA was at the top of my list of firms to apply to.

Role and goals at DBA:

I’m a utility player and a problem-solver. I constantly want to push my own boundaries, so in my free time, I research what is coming up next in terms of software or workflow. I know a little bit about everything and a lot about some things, and I can see how things that seem unrelated are connected.

Rather than run one or two projects at a time, I help on 50 projects at different phases. My goal is not only to make buildings as it is to make everyone’s work on our buildings better and to put people in a position where they can leverage their strengths. As a principal, I’m taking more of a mentorship role, but I’ve found that, rather than teaching directly, working with others and figuring things out together really facilitates the transfer of skills and ideas.

An emphasis on people is really important to me. I originally became interested in designing multi-family housing because there is something very humane about it. It gives you a better feeling when you take care of someone who really needs help. When my kids ask me what I do, and can I tell them that I design housing for people who don’t have houses, that is something that makes me very proud.

"The form, feel, and economy of a project will eventually be more successful if we give our attention to all users."
Hear more in Pedram's bio video.


Connect with Pedram at pedramfarashbandi@dbarchitect.com.

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