Our Team

Rynerson OBrien Architecture
990 Peralta Ave.
Albany, CA 94706

tel 510.452.9152
fax 510.452.9155

Stephen Rynerson, principal

Stephen Rynerson photograph

Growing up in “The Levittown of the West” Lakewood, California, ROBA co-founder Stephen Rynerson experienced first hand all the well-publicized drawbacks of the planned suburbs of the 1950’s. As a young man exploring utopian alternatives to the suburban model, Mr. Rynerson worked at Arcosanti, Paolo Soleri’s visionary city in the Arizona desert, studied under Sim Van Der Ryn at UC Berkeley, and lived in Mendocino county during the early days of the “back to the land” movement.

He apprenticed at the pioneering restoration firm San Francisco Victoriana, where he learned to appreciate in detail the differences between the buildings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that compose much of the urban fabric of San Francisco. It was here that Stephen found his calling and where he learned that what is initially built is only the beginning: that cities and suburbs alike evolve by the slow, organic accumulation of incremental changes, and that good design can contribute to the quality of change.

As a sole proprietor, Mr. Rynerson expanded his practice to include commercial work, including over 50 retail stores in 10 states over the span of a 20 year relationship with Crazy Shirts. Since joining forces with Patrick O’Brien in 1989, Stephen Rynerson has continued to focus on historically appropriate residential alterations as well as adaptive reuse of commercial structures.

Patrick O’Brien, principal

Patrick O’Brien photograph

California registered Architect No. C14848
Patrick O’Brien (b. 1944) was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1969, with a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Bachelor of Architecture degree. However, while studying abroad in Rome, he was bitten by the travel bug. Mr. O’Brien served in the Peace Corps in Iran and then lived in London, England for six years.

In 1976 Mr. O’Brien moved to the Bay Area where he became a partner in the firm of O’Brien Wilson Associates. Mr. O’Brien passed the State of California architecture boards in 1986, and in 1989, with Stephen Rynerson, formed the partnership of Rynerson O’Brien Architecture.

Mr. O’Brien has a vast experience in architecture and planning. He has designed housing and transportation centers for London Transport, waterfront projects in Alameda, commercial buildings throughout the Bay Area and many elegant Bay Area homes.

Commenting on ROBA’s philosophy of additions and restorations, Mr. O’Brien says, “A house that gets our attention will feel and look comfortable to itself — you will have a hard time telling what’s old from what’s new, guaranteed.” Mr. O’Brien and his wife, Dr. Susan Willman, live in the Rockridge district of Oakland, California.

Nathan Rynerson, draftsman

Nathan Rynerson photograph

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Nathan graduated Magna Cum Laude from Connecticut College in December 2004. Nathan originally cut his teeth working for architectural firms in New York City, and has been a draftsman at Rynerson O’Brien Architecture, Inc. since 2005.

Beyond his burgeoning experience in the field of architecture, Nathan’s perspective is rounded out by a multitude of extra-vocational passions ranging from world travel to ethnomusicology to rock climbing.

Angel Vasquez, draftsman

Angel Vasquez photograph

A native of the San Francisco Bay Area, Angel has been actively pursuing a career in Architecture since enrolling in Chabot Community College in Hayward CA, where he earned an AA Degree in Architecture Technology in 1996. Angel then attended California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Oakland campuses, where he received a Bachelor of Architecture in 2004.

Mr. Vasquez has been working for Rynerson O'Brien Architecture, Inc. since 2007.

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