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The name of our proper connection to the earth is good work. For good work involves much giving of honor. It honors the source of its materials; It honors the place where it is done; It honors the art by which it is done; It honors the thing that it makes and the user of the made thing. - Wendell Berry

About UsOur Work


We Create Awesome Stuff

We are CATALDO ARCHITECTS. Los Angeles is home to all manner of culture but one anchors all the others. That is the bedrock culture of industry - innovation, commerce, and manufacturing. As today’s technology becomes ever more complicated, the buildings that serve these complex businesses need to be precisely designed to reconcile all these ever-changing internal systems, assembly methods, showrooms, transportation access, and distribution technologies, often operating 24-7.

Architectural Design

Cataldo Architects focuses its attention on each client's wants, needs, budget, and time frame when creating problem-solving engines in the client's vision.

Nourishing Relationships

All relationships need nourishment, all relationships change. While many conventional firms dissolved during the recession, leaving clients in the lurch, Cataldo Architects kept navigating, finding new ways to provide astute guidance to builders, developers, buyers.

Construction Administration

Large projects have many moving parts. With Cataldo, you are family, meaning you’re in the loop at all times.

How We Work

Making something that contributes to the world, honestly and fairly, is what Cataldo and his internationally diverse team strive to embody in their work. Over decades, our agile, multi-cultural, multi-skill approach has resulted in loyal clients who come back with ever larger or more challenging projects to us. In turn, we deliver award-winning, sustainable buildings on budget and on time. Can’t emphasize that enough: on budget, on time.


Who We Are

It's easy to be glib about diversity, it’s such a buzz word, but Cataldo Architects really does mimic Los Angeles – diversity is what the city is and who we are. We benefit from all those different gifts, it makes us strong. Architecture by nature is hard work, and accepting one another means we put aside our various ethnicities and focus on the task at hand. It’s all a learning process … and it’s great to have the ability to provide services in various languages.

Mike Johnson

A Bachelor's degree in Architecture from University of Arizona; graduate work in architecture at USC and UCLA; and a Master's in Business Administration, Real Estate and Development from Pepperdine University

John Cataldo AIA CSI
Principal Architect

Jessica Specter

Our team takes pride in working with Cataldo. Many have worked here now several years, and some seasoned architects more than 20 years. Combined with sharp new talent, that continuity and oversight helps streamline excellence.

The Cataldo Architect Crew
Engineers, Architects, Interior Designers, Draftsmen, and Illustrators

We want to change
peoples lives

Out of a strong sense of gratitude for his life and well-being, that quest for honor also extends to human appreciation. Cataldo consistently seeks out opportunities to contribute his expertise, from funding scholarships, to most recently, brainstorming on creative solutions to homelessness.

No More Boring Spaces!

There is no need to subject folks to static, dull spaces.

Even low-key areas and entries can welcome, can be lively, can direct people effectively so they accomplish what they came to do. And that’s the goal, right?

Our Numbers

Some cool facts about us


Commerce and Manufacturing

Our Skills

Our Main Skills

Cataldo Architects specialize in "deep design", design that goes far beyond how the exterior is dressed, to precision buildings calibrated to meet exacting needs.

We saw CAD’s potential right away; today we use it exclusively and in combination with a variety of other programs. Not all software is appropriate, but those we do select we make sure we master, using the latest versions to aid every team member on a project.

Design is the question, the primary question, but it’s not just a question of form, the hard shell. Of course it’s physical layout, sure, but so much more than that. We are really designing processes and the relationships between processes so that everything works as it should, at maximum potential. That means the layout of equipment, components, discovering every element or technology that needs to be interrelated, and planning for the inevitable change in the future. We work with related professions as needed, interior architects, landscape architects, and we coordinate and influence their work to achieve overall compatibility.

That level of thinking is there right from the beginning: I worked for structural engineers for 15 years of my life, and we have an in-house engineer and as well as other independent SEs who have been working with us for decades. We also have virtually exclusive relationships with mechanical and electrical engineers, people really tight with us, our speed, our methods. We bring in specialists, whether it’s an expert in automation, waste systems, or even a racehorse track consultant -- whatever’s needed to make sure we thoroughly address an issue.

A lot of what we do are “entitlements,” which are all the requirements to buy, sell, permit, and occupy a commercial or industrial building. While we are experts, we have to keep learning constantly -- with all the layers of agencies and government bureaucracies, some 60 municipalities in Southern California, everything is getting more and more complicated. So we have to know what the policies are, and, equally importantly, and as much as is possible, where they are headed in the future.

On most projects, we offer full Construction Administration (CA) support. While we are not general contractors, on some occasions, for example for an out-of-state owner, we administer some limited aspects of construction for them, helping with “spot help” if needed.

We are classic architects in the sense that we are constantly thinking about materials – meaning investigating new materials (such as new concrete additives whose structural strength eliminates R-bar in some cases, and therefore saves money.) We search for ways to use traditional materials in unusual ways, or look at entirely new systems, such as roofing and cladding. We also rethink “big” paradigms as though they are new problems: right now, we are rethinking the whole idea of how to build multi-story structures and how to locate heavy loading to better exploit warehouse space on the ground floor.



Keep In Touch

Tel: (626) 799-4400

835 Mission Street
South Pasadena, CA 91030