David Johnson joins SERA Architects

SAN MATEO, California, January 30, 2018

David Johnson, AIA, has joined SERA Architects as a Principal. SERA is a thriving West Coast practice with recognized leadership in private and public sector work and decades of experience with sustainable urban placemaking.

SERA and Johnson’s knowledge leadership around designed environments that support health and well-being, resilience, and sustainable urbanism are uniquely suited to the desires of many Bay Area clients and communities. SERA has been integral to the development of Portland, Oregon, where it was founded 50 years ago, and the firm has been bringing that knowledge base to the Bay Area for the last eight years, focusing on workplace, multi-family housing, hospitality, and urban design. Recent Bay Area projects include planning and workplace environments for Google, LinkedIn’s Middlefield Campus, Homewood Suites in Belmont, and Redwood City Parks planning.

Principal Clark Brockman is thrilled to have Johnson on board at this important time for SERA. “We believe that his range of experience and his deep understanding of the dynamic markets in the Bay Area and nationally offer tremendous value to our clients.” Brockman, who has been leading SERA’s work in the Bay Area and opened the Bay Area office in 2015, will be taking a sabbatical from the firm beginning in spring of this year.

Johnson has been based in the Bay Area for most of his career. For the past 12 years he has worked closely with sustainability pioneer William McDonough, FAIA. As Partner and Managing Director with William McDonough + Partners, Johnson collaborated with clients and consultants in the Bay Area and around the world on projects at various scales to realize the Cradle to Cradle design framework. This included Bay Area projects such as UCSF at Mission Bay and work with Recology, as well as projects in the Netherlands and China. Prior to that, while at Studios Architecture, he led the design of the 1.6 million-square-foot Foundry Square, a commercially successful, high-performance, award-winning example of urban placemaking in downtown San Francisco.

The news of Johnson joining SERA has sparked enthusiasm from clients and industry observers:

Mary Davidge is the Director of Global Design on Google’s Real Estate Development team, who has known Johnson and worked with SERA for years. “SERA has been a longtime valued partner of Google’s in urban design, masterplanning, interiors and sustainability R&D,” she says. “I’m pleased that both David and SERA share our values and commitment to placemaking and developing communities that prioritize the health and well-being of people and the environment.”

Don Young of D.R. Young Associates, a Bay Area developer and owner’s representative who has worked with both SERA and Johnson, sees this as “a positive step” and good news for clients. “This demonstrates SERA’s commitment to Bay Area clients,” he says. “I believe that owners will appreciate this expansion of depth, architectural expertise, and Bay Area knowledge in the SERA office.”

Nadav Malin is president/CEO of BuildingGreen, a consultancy and information resource. “Over the past two decades I’ve watched SERA nurture the Living Building Challenge, advance the industry in healthy materials and indoor air quality, develop EcoDistricts, guide the smart urban development of Portland, and champion progressive public policy in Oregon and California,” Malin says. “I’ve seen William McDonough and his partners, including David Johnson, use Cradle to Cradle thinking to bring design solutions to seemingly intractable problems. It’s exciting to see these leadership tracks converge. Johnson and SERA are both leaders in innovation and creativity; together they are perfectly positioned to apply that innovation at all scales in the Bay Area and beyond.”


SERA Architects is a 100 percent employee-owned architecture, interior design and urban design/planning firm specializing in sustainable placemaking at all scales. Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1968, SERA holds a key role in the development of the city’s national reputation for livability. Today, the firm builds on its early experience of adaptive re-use and historic renovations with design and planning for hospitality, workplace, mixed-use housing, and public projects. The firm’s second office is in the Bay Area, where clients welcome the expertise in supportive, resilient built environments, and sustainable communities.