We specialize in designing fine custom homes.

David is an environmental architect who is a pioneer in passive solar and sustainable architecture, creating buildings that heat and cool themselves naturally. He has designed everything from award winning homes to condominiums and office buildings.

We offer finely crafted custom home designs as well as predesigned plans, with completed projects in most states across the country. We’re sure there’s something here that will interest you.

"David and his team gracefully helped us complete an extensive renovation of an 1890 victorian in downtown Grass Valley, CA. His attention to details & our needs, his connections with the county/city, and the resources he provided helped us get through without much hassle. His fees were fair and the work was outstanding. We now have a beautifully remodeled rental thanks to David & his team's vision. We would hire David Wright Associates again in a heartbeat. It also didn't hurt that he reminded us of John Hammond from Jurassic Park."

 — Steve Medina, Grass Valley, CA

"We had a wonderful demo-and-rebuild opportunity on the upper Sacramento River in Shasta county, and David become an invaluable collaborator. We would never have thought of the "modern rustic" design he created, but the house turned out to be both dramatic and easy living. The county made the approval process unbelievably difficult (seems their idea of "protecting the river" -- which we are all for -- is to make construction near it as disagreeable as possible!) but David persevered and we are thrilled with the result. We especially appreciated how David struck the balance between taking our input and providing his own guidance, including a clear nudge now and then when we needed it! Our family-legacy house is light and airy, space efficient, very well insulated, fire-resistant, and a lovely place to be in the woods."

 — Kevin Smith, Shasta County, CA

"After deciding we would build our family home in bare land, we spoke to many architects before selecting David Wright to design a custom house for us. The design process was a blast. David quickly came up with the perfect look and configuration for our family. We wanted a home that 'worked' with our lifestyle and he created it. The kids are close, but in their own space. We both have private offices where we work everyday. The house is open, full of light and has a compact footprint helping keep the construction cost low. David is easy to do business with and flexible, balancing his recommendation with out wants and desires. Working with him was a great partnership resulting in the perfect home to raise out family."

 — Ehren & Stacy Maedege, Loomis, CA

"I am an owner builder, metal fabricator, and passive solar architecture student. I first came across David's book a decade ago, and found it the most comprehensive, informative, instructional text on housing design fundamentals I have seen. I recently was sketching a home and art studio utilizing many of the concepts David played out in his book. I reached out to see if I could interest David in helping with the design. Fortunately for me he said yes.

David took time to listen to my ideas and desires and helped me to create plans that exceeded my expectations in form, function, and cleverness of design. I am looking forward to building my home and am exceptionally thankful that David was willing to lend his expertise and experience. It has been a pleasure to work with him, and I look forward to finishing the project/house we collaborated on.

I recommend Davids book to anybody curious about passive solar architecture, and I recommend his architectural talents to anyone who wants a house that performs exceptionally with the climate it is in, and feels like a space that nourishes its occupants. David is very talented, and I feel those he chooses to work with are lucky for the opportunity. I feel lucky for the opportunity."

 — Mike Ferguson, Phoenix, AZ

"The way you have sited and designed the house is perfect. The plan is outstanding for the site. Unbelievable renderings, we love them. The gazebo is perfect! The view from each room is spectacular. Everyone who comes through the house is blown away. It's awesome. We are so stoked. Thank you so much. We are very happy with your work and the way it has come together."

 — Dave & Patti Marden, Shingle Springs, CA

"We purchased a property overlooking Rollins Lake and everyone who saw it said it had a lot of potential. David Wright converted the potential into the initial architectural design. After a few changes and budget revisiting, we had it. We received our certificate of occupancy and are enjoying our stunning, contemporary, energy-efficient and fire-resistant new home. We appreciate David's recommendation for our excellent builder Josh Moore and advocating for local businesses for the many purchases to complete our new home."

 — Dennis & Linda O'Rear, Rollins Lake, Chicago Park, CA

"David is currently designing my retirement home in Nevada City, Ca. He has personally walked us through each step and let us develop a complete list of wishes and wants for him to use in designing the best fitting home. After the initial layout and some revisions, we have oriented it on the site for a best fit. We are having him develop a 3D computer model to help us visualize what it will really look like inside and out. David has provided great tips on speciality items ( doors, windows) to get the look desired. Providing a world-class heat pump design will minimize the cost to heat and cool. Thanks David!"

 — Ken & Maria Bales, Nevada City, CA

"David Wright designed a wonderful home for my wife and me. We have a piece of mountain property that was very problematic to fit a residence into. I wanted the house to be filled with light and to feel like it was in the trees. David composes his work. Built of SIPS panels, he designed a place that is not only beautiful, but very comfortable. From a deck that encompasses the entire roof to the two story high windows in the living room, there is a feeling of air and space. Many modern buildings feel sterile and hard to live in. That's not in David Wright's plans. It is the most comfortable home I've ever been in. Visitors never want to leave. Mr. Wright interpreted our desires perfectly, producing a beautiful house that is easy to live in and is energy efficient. Thank you!"

 — Dan Alexander, Pollock Pines County, CA

"David was one of three architects we meet with when preparing to build on our land just outsides of Nevada City. His process to understand just what WE!! wanted was amazing, plus his interest in solar design and SIPS made the difference for us. It was clear to us when we received the first rendering of the house that we had chosen the right person. Now that the house is finished and we are comfortably living in it, we would with no reservation recommend David to anyone."

 — Larry & Mary Ann Dulmage, Nevada City, CA

"We at Sierra Custom Homes have built Mr. Wright's homes and have more builds currently in process. Our clients and ourselves included are consistently impressed by his extremely comfortable, functional, and energy efficient designs. He maintains excellent communication throughout the design process, ensuring the end result truly meets the desires of his clients. David is an extremely competent and experienced architect that brings a unique personal touch to every project, a true industry leader!"

 — Sean Chrisman, Twin Bridges, CA

"When we decided to build a retirement home in the Sierra Nevada Foothills we interviewed several architects and ended up selecting David Wright, AIA. We were interested in a "contemporary southwest" style with just one living-level and high energy efficiency. We noted that David had practiced in Santa Fe and had been a leader in the field of passive solar design his entire career.

The elegant result exceeded our expectations and introduced us to structural insulated panel (SIP) technology. SIPS simplified construction, provided the desired fire resistance needed on our heavily wooded site and thermal efficiency we didn't realize was possible. We ended up with a beautiful, comfortable and functional home we love and appreciate more every year since its completion. Our experience with Mr Wright was outstanding in every respect and we recommend his services without reservation."

 — Chuck Peterson, Colfax, CA

"My wife and I selected David Wright, AIA to design our "retirement home" in the Sierra Nevada foothills. His design process, using an extensive questionnaire and collaborative personal interaction resulted in an initial design that met or exceeded 95% of our requirements and expectations on the first iteration. With a few minor modifications we ended up with the home of our dreams. David's varied and extensive experience produced a beautiful "contemporary southwest" design on a topographically demanding site. His refined design sense, combined with his expertise in cutting edge building technologies produced a very elegant and thermally efficient home; one that continues to amaze those that visit as well as the two of us that are fortunate to live there. We couldn't be more pleased with the process, professionalism and results of our association with Mr. Wright."

 — Patti Peterson, Meadow Vista, CA

"We have used David Wright, AIA for the design and construction of three buildings at our ranch, our passive solar home of 2000 sq. ft. a shop/office building of 1000 sq. ft. and magnificent concert hall of 3000 sq. ft. We used the architect's recommended contractor for the home and shop, and the architect's recommended construction coordinator for the concert hall. All the buildings were built to the architects and engineers drawings with frequent consultation between the architect and the contractor and construction coordinator. The home performs stupendously, we use 50 gallons of propane a year, that's just for cooking. We are completely happy with our long-term relationship with the architect and our buildings."

 — Bill & Anna Trabucco, Nevada County, CA

"We LOVE our house on the American River. We have settled in nicely. The elevator has been helpful. The radiant heat is awesome. In winter the driveway is very icy and slippery (whee!). In the summer, when Sacramento is 100 degrees, the house stays in the 70's. A concern will always exist regarding how well the hillside holds. In the meantime, we have enjoyed getting to know our neighbors. Thank you for designing such a solid house. Watching the snow fall outside the huge windows is dreamlike."

 — Dan & Gale Alexander, El Dorado County, CA

"My wife and I went to David with a general idea of what we wanted to build. We were ready and eager to build our (dream) retirement home. David listened to our needs and wants and came forth with a design that was immediately embraced by the both of us. The passive solar design has proven to be significantly efficient and the house is both functional and very esthetically pleasing. Our home is 800 square feet, and David's design easily allows one to feel that the living space is much more spacious. Overall, we simply could not be happier with the design and home that David created and the process of working together with him was a positive and productive experience."

 — Peggy & Chris McDonald, Sierra City, CA

"I have found this architectural firm to be open and very above board. David, or his minion, always answered my many questions and concerns appropriately and on time. his drawings and building requirements have been rendered at the very highest level. If one wishes a professional approach and wishes value in return for money spent, I know of no better business of this sort to deal with."

 — Russ Turner, Dunsmuir, CA

"David is working on a major remodel for our home in Grass Valley. He has taken a small home and developed ideas that are functional, have the best features and designs and plans that work for our needs. He listened carefully to our thoughts and quickly followed through with an amazing design. He also knows the latest about Eco friendly designs and hardware that make a house functional, save money and the environment. He is a pleasure to work with and we would highly recommend him."

 — Joe and Sheila Dallarosa, Grass Valley, CA

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Project Examples

David Wright has over 30 years experience designing private residences, commercial & institutional structures, custom homes and remodels and additions.

Click button below to see some examples of our projects.

David photo


We focus on architecture as functional art. As Solar Environmental Architects, we embrace a wide scope of appropriate technologies to design buildings that respond to the individual client’s needs, the site, the climate and the regional character.


Solar Design

As an early pioneer in passive solar design, David has designed solar architecture for virtually all climate zones and has authored three books which have helped define the principles of architectural climate design and the types of architectural solutions which are the mainstream concepts today.

Smith House & Studio – Shasta County, CA

Smith House & Studio – Shasta County, CA

July 15, 2021

This fine modern two-bedroom home and studio/ garage is a year-round retreat located on the Sacramento River near Mount Shasta. It is designed to be very energy efficient and fireproof. Inside the two-story great room space, a window wall frames the beautiful river view. With…

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A Passive Solar Home Built Into the Hillside Asks $610K in Northern California

June 16, 2021

Article from Dwell Magazine written by Kathryn M. on April 27, 2021. Click here to read the article on Designed in 1980, the partially sunken Sunburst Residence keeps a low profile—and a low carbon footprint. In Applegate, California, halfway between Sacramento and the mountains of Lake…

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From Action News Now: Rethinking fire-safe construction

May 25, 2021

May 11, 2021 – Action News Now reports on giving your Butte County home the best chance of surviving a fire by using non-combustible building materials such as rock walls, hardy planks, steel walls, enclosed eaves, and double or triple-pane windows. David Wright Architects designed…

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