Point Loma’s Skala Architecture aims for designs that are exciting but not ‘forced’

Sue Skala owns Skala Architecture in Point Loma.
(Provided by Sue Skala)

Business Spotlight


Sue Skala has owned and operated Skala Architecture in Point Loma for more than 30 years, focusing on residential design and remodeling, small commercial buildings and historic preservation analysis.

The California native has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from UC Berkeley and a master’s in historic preservation from Columbia University.

To learn more, the Point Loma-OB Monthly posed the following questions to Skala:

Q. What is your business’s mission? Who founded it?

A. I founded my solo practice in 1987 when I gave birth to my first child and wasn’t ready to return to full-time work outside my home. At first, the vision was to replace my income. Over time, though, my mission has become all about delivering high-quality design solutions to the tight residential spaces of our small urban San Diego lots.

Q. What services do you offer?

A. As a licensed architect with both an undergraduate architecture degree and a master’s degree in historic preservation, I offer design and drawing services that result in building permits for residential expansion, redesign (what many people call remodeling) and new construction. I shepherd my building plans through the permit process, whether that means over-the-counter approval or, at the other extreme, [California] Coastal Commission review. I also help the client find a quality contractor and work to adjust the project to the client’s budget. Throughout construction, I help the client understand the construction process and work with the client and the contractor to bring the project to completion on time and on budget.

Q. What makes you and/or your company unique compared with similar businesses?

A. I practice what I preach. My own home on Tarento Drive is an expansion — we increased the footprint from about 1,100 square feet to 1,600 square feet and added a second story. After over 30 years of living in this home, I can confidently say that it still works. Our house continues to provide the same special spaces, the same comforts, the same magic that it did when we finished it back in 1992. That’s design. There’s nothing glitzy, nothing gimmicky, nothing forced. In my business, that’s unique.

Q. What’s new recently with the business that you want everyone to know about?

A. Watch out for the people who answer that question with a lot of negativity! I’d say one great new thing is that clients can visualize their project better than ever, thanks to 3D programs and online product catalogs. Also, we’re designing spaces for work-from-home that support powerful career demands, and I can’t wait to see how that translates to an increased focus on quality spaces for our kids to study. Interestingly, that also means we need spaces in our home for relaxing and being together, without our electronics staring at us from across the room.

Q. What do you like about working in the Point Loma-Ocean Beach area?

A. The quality of the client is fantastic: sophistication without pretension. My clients are fascinating. Their stage of life is either a stage I’m in or that I went through — small kids, Little Leaguers (Skala Architecture is a proud sponsor of the Skipjacks at Point Loma Little League), MadCaps, mission trips to Mexico, the emptying nest — and it’s so rewarding to be a partner in those stages. Finally, the projects themselves are great to work on. We’re often creating an unexpected and exciting solution.

Skala Architecture is at 864 Tarento Drive. For more information, call (619) 221-0959, visit or email

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