David Baker and Sherwin-Williams Inducted into the 8th BALA Hall of Fame

By Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki

David Baker Architects (DBA) is led by namesake David Baker, FAIA, himself, who this year claimed a well-deserved spot in the Best in American Living™ Hall of Fame, as part of the eighth class of inductees. Baker is the founding principal of DBA, a progressive and collaborative practice based in San Francisco and Oakland, California and Birmingham, Alabama. More than just words in a company profile, under Baker’s leadership, “collaboration” is tangible. DBA is committed to advancing the practice of great design and lives this commitment by pledging one percent of billable hours annually to pro bono service for non-profit clients who may not otherwise have access to design professionals.

Photo Credits | Top Right: Mariko Reed. Middle Right: Bruce Damonte. Bottom Right: Bruce Damonte.

In reality, DBA estimates they typically spend three percent of annual working hours in the DBA_Lab, a flexible research and experimentation studio interested in temporary and tactical explorations of the public realm. One such project the firm is proud of is its 2019 design of the 1,570-square-foot location for the first brick-and-mortar presence of Bini’s Kitchen, an acclaimed Nepalese culinary start-up. The full story can be read here and is an example of collaboration and physical storytelling brought to life.

Photo Credits | Clockwise from Top Right: Bruce Damonte, Bruce Damonte, Matthew Millman, Bruce Damonte, Bruce Damonte, Bruce Damonte.

DBA is a leader in the affordable housing sphere and has designed and built more than 13,000 affordable homes in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond. David’s diverse current projects include modular housing for formerly homeless individuals in San Francisco, boutique hotels and mixed-use master plans. Baker’s career — and his leadership — have been focused on giving generously of his talents. He does this tangibly through the thousands of places he’s helped design and create, and through his thought-leadership and open sharing of ideas, including “How-To” content offered online on a variety of topics.

The Sherwin-Williams Company has been a proud supporter of the National Association of Home Builders for many years and is always looking for ways to support the inspiring work of builders in the community. So, it’s only fitting that the company joins the list of other design and creative firms in the Best in American Living™ Hall of Fame. Sherwin-Williams made its first can of paint in its Cleveland Plant in 1880 and opened it 36 years later, on the company’s fiftieth anniversary.  It was still in perfect condition. From those beginnings, to how it operates today, Sherwin-Williams is committed to excellence in the building industry. Product education about color and its application is the core focus for the company’s field teams and everyone in their 4,300 paint stores.

For the past decade, industry professionals and homeowners alike have waited annually for Sherwin-Williams to reveal their color of the year. According to an interview in Architectural Digest, it’s “chosen after the company’s global color and design team travels the world to experience the ways that people, societies, and institutions use and interact with color, in realms ranging from fashion to design and pop culture. The team puts together a Colormix Forecast, from which a standout hue is chosen and crowned the official Color of the Year.”

For 2020, that color is Naval, a deep bold color choice that also creates a grounded environment.

This annual tradition may only be a decade old, but for more that 150 years, Sherwin-Williams has been a fierce advocate for the homebuilding community, improving tools and resources that both new and seasoned professionals can use. From extending the painting season, to reducing time on the job and sharing color leadership, Sherwin-Williams is constantly innovating. Quality homebuilding is not just about completing a house, but about creating a home, and Sherwin-Williams is proud to support customers all throughout the journey. The team that accepted the BALA Hall of Fame honor on behalf of the company did so with humble pride in joining other influential individuals and organizations committed to excellence in the homebuilding industry. 


Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki is the principal of tst ink, bringing a customer-focused “how might we?” approach to creating communities and brands that connect and engage with how people want to live their lives.

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