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B a n t a D E S I G N







People: Firm Principals


BantaDESIGN is headed by a team of hands-on Principals with complementary skills and decades of experience managing a dedicated staff of architects, draftspersons, and researchers. The deep pool of talent our firm has to draw upon allows us to put together design teams precisely matched to the specific challenges of our clients’ projects. Devoted to excellence in both environmental design and service, the Principals comprise the central advantage our firm brings to our clients and their communities.



Philip Banta, AIA, Architect, Founder & Principal Consultant

Philip leads BantaDESIGN in design direction and delivery of professional services to our private and public sector clients. Philip has received international, national and Bay Area recognition for his firm’s residential work. From his first commission (the super energy-conserving San Jose State Office Building) to his most recent urban design initiative (the neighborhood catalyzing West Oakland Walk), he excels at assembling the best project teams for successful collaboration between clients, consultants, communities and permitting agencies. He has been involved with all the firm’s award winning multi-family projects since its inception. Educated at Harvard University (BA mcl) and UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design (M Arch with honors) Philip has served as a lecturer at UC Berkeley and the University of Texas at Austin, and currently serves on the Emeryville Planning Commission. His wife and four children are his renewable resource for creative inspiration. They reside in the coastal community of Stinson Beach.

Clay Fry, Architect, Principal Consultant

Clay’s inspiring leadership of collaborative teams fosters a meritocracy for design ideas and productivity in the service of the Client’s agenda. His forthright analysis of the pros and cons of any given solution provides a refreshingly efficient approach to reaching consensus that keeps his projects on track. Clay brings to BantaDESIGN over 20 years of experience with his former firm MBH Arch, where he served as the Principal in charge of his design studio that produced many of the firms adaptive re-use projects both in the East Bay and San Francisco. In addition to his design talent he brings a keen technical perspective to his projects, first developed during his early tenure as a forensic architect with large insurance companies and at Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo where he received his Architecture degree. Clay leverages these professional skills with his proven effectiveness as a public presenter of project design concepts. Clay has two children, and lives with his wife in the East Bay town of Lafayette.

Norman Hooks, Architect, Principal Consultant

Norman provides tremendous depth of experience regarding outreach and engagement with communities for projects of all types. Norman has served as vice-chairman of the Oakland Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board and as a member of the Oakland Mayor’s Land- Use and Planning Task Force. He currently presides as president of the West Oakland Commerce Association. Norman’s professional expertise is built on an extensive portfolio of adaptive re-use and historic preservation projects in the Bay Area. He is co-director of the West Oakland Walk project for BantaDESIGN. Norman earned his Bachelor of Architecture from Hampton University, Virginia, and pursued postgraduate studies at the College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley. Oakland has been his home for the last 20 years.

Robert McGillis, AIA, Architect, Principal Consultant

Robert combines design talent and strong technical skills with a comprehensive code and permitting expertise critical to project success. His skillful management of approvals and budgets for BantaDESIGN projects consistently wins the respect of clients and building departments alike. Robert has worked on numerous urban in-fill commercail projects around the Bay Area. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with one year at the Academy of Architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark. Active in the East Bay community since his graduation, Robert lives with his wife and daughter in the Oakland hills.