nonzero\architecture provides full architectural, planning and design services to local, national and international clients from its offices in Santa Monica, California. Evolved into its current form around 2004, it builds on an experienced team and seamlessly continues the work of its accomplished predecessor firm studio bau:ton, founded in 1990.
nonzero\architecture explores the potential of architecture to enrich and enhance people’s lives. Our designs address the human desire for both the beauty and functionality of their surroundings, whether at home or at work, at leisure or in the public realm. Based on an awareness of historical evolution and broader culture, we search for contemporary architectural solutions to the challenges of today’s built environment.
The creation of stimulating spaces and structures is a primary aspiration of the firm. Concurrently, we carefully consider the economic realities, social dynamics and limited natural resources that all demand a thoughtful and conscious approach to design and construction.
nz\a’s innovative strategies aim to make the most of any given budget, and to conserve materials and energy at every practical level. Sustainability and the preservation of building substance, of financial and material resources, are always integral parts of the firm’s designs.
Our team understands that in a truly successful project the interests of owners, users and the public at large need to converge. Based on this awareness of architecture as a non-zero-sum game we try to balance each part of the project to the fullest extent possible.
But a constant infusion of fresh ideas and a passion for good design must be inherent to the process to transcend buildings into architecture. Balancing divergent needs is only the foundation on which we build our own strong point of view, aiming to fulfill our client’s needs to the fullest and to offer a unique modern design sensibility for a contemporary world.


On nonzero\architecture’s name:
 “The founders of game theory […] made a basic distinction between ‘zero-sum’ games and ‘non-zero-sum’ games. In zero-sum games, the fortunes of the players are inversely related. In tennis, in chess, in boxing, one contestant’s gain is the other’s loss. In non-zero-sum games, one player’s gain needn’t be bad news for the other(s). Indeed, in highly non-zero-sum games the players’ interests overlap entirely”.

Robert Wright, “NONZERO: The logic of human destiny” Pantheon Books, New York, 2000