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Yamada Architecture (YA) is a Kyoto-based
architectural design practice by
a California-trained architect, Shinya Yamada.


We believe

good architectural design can

enhance people's creativity and vitality 
by highlighting the beauty 
of ordinary natural phenomena,
for instance, the sky,  
in hopes of creating moments that nurture
people's innermost minds.

We help

both international and domestic clients

create homes, commercial buildings, and more

in Kyoto, elsewhere in Japan, and in California,

through professional services that synthesize

clients' wishes and our creative expertise.

We also help our architecture clients

acquire real estate for the projects by

working with YA's partner real estate companies.
Shinya Yamada, Architect
1st-class registered architect in Japan #352593
California licensed architect #C30253
A member of the American Institute of Architects


山田 真也 建築家

ヤマダ・アーキテクチュア 主宰

​ヤマダ・アーキテクチュア (YA)は​、京都を拠点とする






















一級建築士  登録 第352593号

米国カリフォルニア州 登録建築家 第30253号


京都府建築士士会 会員

​京都府木造住宅耐震診断士 登録 第1697号

​Design Philosophy

Design Services



1972  Born in Kyoto, Japan

1996  Bachelor of Engineering,

          Kyoto University

1997  Richard Cutts Lundquist Architect

          -single-family home projects in L.A. 

1999  Master of Architecture,

          Univerisity of California, Los Angeles 

2000  Harold Zellman & Associates Architects

          -single-family home projects in L.A.

2004  KFA Architecture

          -Lafayette Library & Learning Center

2008  Launched YA in the SF Bay Area  

2009  Moved back to Japan

​          Worked with/at other firms

          -restaurant full renovation projects

          -single-family home projects

     -horseback riding club

          -office building renovation  


          -apartment building

          -nursing home

2016  Yamada Architecture

          -officially registered in Kyoto

           (Kyoto Pref. Registration#(03A)02758)

          -Machiya full renovations

          -single-family home full renovation

          -commercial building full renovation

          -social services facility project

       -and more



2003  The City of Los Angeles

          Certificate of Appreciation for:

          Pro bono service       

            Union Ave.- C. Chavez Community Garden

            Revitalization Project Design + Construction

          Design Studio Visiting Critic:

              at Woodbury University

              at Pasadena City College

2009  Publication:



                 [Health, Green Building, and

                  Traditional Japanese Architecture]

                 on Nichi Bei Times


            "The Sustainability of Japanese Architecture"

               at AIA East Bay Chapter

2012  Lecture:


     [Community Volunteer Project Experience in the U.S.]

                 at Council of International Fellowship Japan

2013  Pro bono service:

              Stoup for St.Viator Monastery Chapel


                Overseeing fabrication and installation

2017  Design Studio Visiting Critic:

               at Kyoto Seika University

2020  Presentation:

            "Common Threads Beyond Decades"

               at Pecha Kucha Night Kyoto Vol.38  

2021  Lecture:


      [Small house that feels airy and spacious]

                 at ASJ Kyoto Studio

2023  Guest Lecture:

            "The Sensibilities of Traditional

​             Residential Architecture in Kyoto"

               at University of Maryland

           Design Studio Visiting Critic:

​               at SCI-Arc


Shinya Yamada


We Do

Design Philosophy​

Buildings are shelters that in a sense enclose a small portion of the universe we live in.


For Yamada, architecture is what allows people to experience the inherent power of the universe from inside of buildings.


When successfully highlighting the subtle yet omnipresent beauty of everyday natural phenomena, architecture can open up human minds and make people feel at ease.


In other words, architecture can let us be in touch with the deeper & broader perspectives offered by the universe, taking us beyond limitations of our individual life biases.

​Service Overview

An architect is a trusted building design expert who stands by you, the project owner.


Your architect leads you through your project’s design and construction process, practically making most design decisions on your behalf and acting in the best interest of both you and the public. 

As your architect, YA provides a special custom architectural design that creatively synthesizes your wishes and YA's design values while meeting various requirements such as your budget and the building regulations.  

Then YA assists you find and hire a fair-priced quality builder.


During the construction YA regularly observes the site so the project gets built as designed and delivered to you per construction contract.


Those are what we architects usually do as standard architectural services.


As a rule of thumb, YA’s architectural service fee would be:

    For new construction project:

10% of the resulting construction work bill


    For renovation project:          

15% of the resulting construction work bill


Payments are usually made in several installments across the project phases.


Please note additional fees and expenses may be incurred depending on your project scope and terms. 

​For further details on fees and expenses, please contact YA.

Typical Workflow

​Initial Inquiry


Please feel free to contact YA for inquiries via email or phone. 

In your email or phone call, we would appreciate it if you could provide your preliminary project information as much as you can. 


This would allow us to respond to you more helpfully, regardless of whether you eventually hire us or not. If you are currently looking for a property to purchase, please mention it so we could help accordingly.

Your information will be kept confidential and used only for our communication regarding your project. It won't be shared with any other party without your consent. 

Preliminary project information list

(please share as much as you can)

  1. renovation, addition, or new construction?

  2. approximate floor area, size of building ( in SQM or SQFT )

  3. existing property information: location, size, and if renovation: struct. type, years built 

  4. overall budget / funding plan

  5. when you wish to complete 

  6. project purpose

  7. design requirements, wishes 

  8. particular problems to be addressed

​Pre-Design Consultation

(First Meeting Free of Charge)

Following your initial inquiry, YA may offer a meeting in YA’s office or via online ZOOM meeting for free of charge.     


During this first meeting, please be encouraged to discuss your project information further in detail. Your preliminary budget, funding plan, overall schedule, and lifestyle wishes - no matter how vague or unarticulated they might be.

If you can, please share some reference images pertaining to your wishes, your lifestyle, and things that you like - even those that are seemingly unrelated to architecture. Photos of the existing property, drawings, and other property records would enable us to have more practical discussions.

Scope of the project, a realistic budget, YA’s service fees, payment terms, needs for other specialty design consultants, i.e. structural engineer, mechanical / electrical / plumbing consultants, etc., approximate completion target schedule, and major design requirements will also be discussed.


Based on this first meeting discussions, upon mutual consent YA may prepare a service proposal for your project. By signing this proposal document, you can officially get YA’s services started. 


Fee: Email inquiries and first meeting are free of charge. Subsequent consultation meetings may be subject to an hourly rate-based fee. 


​Step 1: Schematic Design 

In this phase YA first prepares a preliminary design package that consists of:


1) floor plan sketches,

2) rough 3d sketches,

3) a brief report on the site conditions and relevant regulations.


Your feedbacks on this preliminary design will be crucial to development of design.


Using your feedbacks, we keep revising the design, may try a few schemes if necessary, until the design requirements are adequately met and the design becomes to your liking.

We then along with you interview a qualified builder or a few of them to solicit an rough construction cost estimate from one of them, based on a set of schematic drawings listed below. When necessary for budget reasons, we revise the design.


The end deliverables of this phase would include:

1) floor plans, 

2) sections,

3) elevations,

4) preliminary specification table,

5) perspective sketches.

Fee: Usually 35% of YA service fee is billed upfront as a retainer that covers all services up to the completion of schematic design phase.

​Step 2: Construction Documents

In this phase, the schematic design scheme is developed further in detail.


Technical details of architectural, structural, mechanical, & electrical system design will be designed, engineered, and documented for both construction and bidding purpose. 


A set of more detailed drawings & specifications are produced to solicit an approximate construction cost estimate from a qualified builder. When necessary for budget reasons, we revise the design accordingly.  

Fee: Usually 20% of the entire YA service fee when starting this phase.


If a structural consultant's service is required, additional structural design fee may be incurred. 


Fees for mechanical & electrical design would not be incurred for most private residence projects or commercial projects of similar scope.

Step 3: Bidding & Negotiation​

If deemed necessary and also some project time extension is permissible, another or a few other construction cost estimates could be solicited from other builders.


They would be compared & analyzed to help you select a builder. If a building permit is required by regulations, plans are submitted to public agencies during this step. 


Additional agency fees and our processing service fee would be incurred if required by the regulatory requirements applied to your project.


When public agency permitting process is complete, we assist you review and sign a construction contract prepared by your builder.  


Fee: Usually 20% of the total YA service fee upon signing the construction contract.

​Step 4: Construction Administration

During the construction, the builder and YA hold a site meeting, in principle, every week.


YA performs site observations & visual inspections to see if your builder's work is executed fairly according to the design and quality as stipulated in the construction documents.


When necessary, we instruct corrective work. Usually upon confirming final completion of work, the project is handed over to you.

Fee: Usually  25% of the total architectural service fee payable upon completion

Service Overview
Design Philosophy
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