Licensed California Architect
Authority: California Architect's License Board - Dept. of Consumer Affairs
California Licensed General Contractor
Authority: California Contractor's State License Board - Dept. of Consumer Affairs


University of California, Berkeley
Bachelor of Arts,
A's and B's. I got a 'D' once - and a story for that ;-)
Activities and Societies: Graduated with Honors in 1980. Designed and Built a Playground and Play structures for the Daycare Center on Campus. Transferred to UC Berkeley from UC San Diego with Liberal Arts and Applied Mathematics and Science major.
Ending up at Berkeley was not in my mind when I graduated from Yuba City High School - becoming a doctor was (maybe?) - but my heart wasn't in it. I ended up at Berkeley, in the City where I was born - after my epiphany of "finding my life's passion and work". Architecture for me is a way of seeing the world, of participating in the making of the built environment, of making a positive impact with my efforts for design that makes a difference. That was the idealism of youth, and my time living in Berkeley for some 6 years established the foundation of my education and experience as both a designer and a maker. I spent as much time in the wood shop building things as I did in the studio!
University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA
Masters of Architecture,
A's and B's. By the time you get to grad school, it doesn't really matter.
Activities and Societies: I won a classroom award for a "Sundial House" that is probably one of the coolest little buildings I ever designed. I also won a structures award for the lightest weight beam to hold the most weight spanning 24". It was made out of bamboo and many windings of silk thread - my fellow students called it the "Zen Beam". It held over 150 pounds and probably would have held more if the weight wasn't hung from a wire that cut through the bamboo - and produced a dramatic "failure" that shot it 20 feet in the sky! I entered another class competition and would have won (I was told by faculty later), but I went "outside the lines" for how I presented my work. Instead of the rigid and limited space on the wall that required reductions and photos of drawings and models, I showed all my work in watercolors, sketches and models on a special "easel" I built out of concrete, steel and wood where it could all be displayed in full authenticity. I was disqualified, of course - but I felt strongly about making a point. Not too many activities - getting through grad school and trying to have a bit of a social and love life was enough!
U Penn was a great experience - and why I ended up there was about a woman, and another story - but mostly it was about me getting serious about what it takes to get licensed and do what I'd set out to do. It was an opportunity to live on the East Coast - far from my native home of Northern California. I met students from all over, but mostly from the Midwest and East Coast. Penn is an "Ivy League" school and I really did not feel like I belonged there, but there I was, a weird Californian in a strange land. Philadelphia was a wonderful City to study Architecture - it had world class museums and a great urban core. The city was culturally diverse and surrounded with natural beauty. New York and Washington DC were both a short train ride away. I met a mentor there who had worked in the office of Louis Kahn - and who ended up introducing me to Macrobiotics and natural medicine. So in a way my education (starting out with an interest in medicine) came full circle. My Master's Thesis, which was about "reinventing the Mobile Home Park" came from his concepts that included what we now know as the "Tiny House" movement. He passed away recently in 2020. You can check out the tribute website I got help creating - www.gaborszalontay.com .


Energy Efficiency Historic Preservation Passive Heating and Cooling Daylighting Alternate Materials and Methods of Construction Innovative construction detailing Non-toxic materials and Indoor Air Quality Residential and Multi-Family Tenant Improvements Construction Experience from Concrete to Finish Carpentry Teaching Online about Green Building at Local Community College since 2010.

Pinerworks' Portfolio


Matthew Piner is a dedicated design and building professional living and working in the City of Sacramento since moving here in 1987. Educated at Berkeley, CA and in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts and with extensive travel throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, Mr. Piner has seen and appreciates great, timeless design from Ancient to Contemporary work. His skills of listening and of observation make him a great asset to your building project, helping create a unique solution for your site, budget and particular needs. Drawing upon many years of personal hands-on work and work with Sacramento's best consultants, craftsmen and artisans, he brings a special advocacy to every job - to see the work through the client's eyes and bring the project to a successful completion.

Over 30 Years Experience.

Tap over 30 years of travel, education and experience in environmental design, architecture, historic restoration and preservation work.

Hands-on Experience.

Hands-on experience from concrete to cabinetry -- with both remodel and new construction projects -- provide a solid foundation for working successfully with builders and subcontractors.

Our Reputation.

A well-respected reputation with Sacramento and other area building authorities bring a formidable advantage to your service and project success.

We Build Green.

Green Design is not just fashionable for us: Innovation in design and details, incorporation of building science in energy and water efficiency, use of salvaged, recycled and renewable materials, durable best practices in construction materials and techniques and an attention to a healthy and delightful living environment are all artfully combined in each project - all tailored uniquely to your needs, tastes and budget.

Pinerworks' Jobs

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