Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects was originally formed in 1996 as Backen Gillam Architects by principals Howard J. Backen, FAIA and Jim Gillam, AIA. The firm has two offices, one located in Sausalito near the San Francisco Bay waterfront and our newly designed office in St. Helena adjacent to the restaurant, French Blue. Principals Loren Kroeger and Elizabeth Mitchell along with the firm’s 70 employees, bring a wide range of experience to Backen, Gillam & Kroeger projects. This experience enables the firm to provide clients with the very best in design and project management in a number of specialty building types, including private residences, resorts, restaurants and wineries. In the seventeen years since its opening, the firm has designed over 50 upscale homes, 40 wineries, seven major resorts, 20 restaurants, a new line of retail stores for RH (Restoration Hardware) and Williams Sonoma Home, an equestrian center, The Napa Valley Reserve (a private members-only vineyard and winery which has approximately 400 members), and the Performing Arts Center for St. Helena, CA.
Aside from being featured in numerous publications, many of the firm's projects have earned coveted design awards, including citations from Progressive Architecture, Grand Awards from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference, First Honor Awards from AIA/Housing Magazine and the Presidential Award for Design Excellence. In 1992, Howard J. Backen was awarded a Fellowship in the American Institute of Architects, which is the highest honor in the profession, and served as a juror for the 2001 California AIA awards. The firm has also been nominated one of the top 100 Architects in Architectural Digest (2007-2012) and one of the top 30 in the Robb Report.