Levy, Toby

Toby Levy

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  • Barnard College, BA in Comparative Religion, 1972
  • University of California at Berkeley, M. Architecture, 1975


  • Levy Design Partners

Professional organizations

  • Joined AIA in 1981


Early Life and Education

Degrees: Barnard College, BA in Comparative Religion, 1972, University of California at Berkeley, M. Architecture, 1975

Career in Architecture

Early Practice Firm: Levy Design Partners, San Francisco, CA. Became AIA member 1981.

Toby Levy was the founding principal of a highly regarded woman-owned practice in the competitive San Francisco Bay area and a technically oriented expert in the emerging specialty of sustainable, nontoxic design. She popularized the principles of recycling, appropriate materials, energy conservation, etc. through demonstration works of outstanding architectural design, sponsorship of open seminars in her office, rewriting corporate building specifications and design standards, and graduate-level teaching at UC Berkeley. Her interest in sustainability and non-toxicity began the 1980s with design work for two residential clients with severe environmental sensitivities. She used the experience as an opportunity to research appropriate products which were obscure at that time. The most fully realized example of this notion is a 6-unit mixed use project on South Park which minimizes plywood, eliminates fiberglass and formaldehyde, and uses light and structural steel framing with homosote sheathing and natural cotton insulation. In addition, the project incorporated passive solar technologies, many recycled products, and materials with low VOC ratings. In addition she contributed through public service (e.g., service on an arm of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, and Citizen’s Advisory Group for UCSF), and through teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at Berkeley.

Press and Awards

  • Certificate of Honor from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office for insuring the safety and well-being of San Francisco, 1998
  • Certificate of Appreciation from the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection for special efforts to work closely with the Department of Building Inspection staff in improving the safety and quality of life, 1998
  • Fellow, American Institute of  Architects, for Achievement in Practice, 1999
  • Sunset Magazine Interior Design Jury Award for Esce3llence for the Holman Residence, 1994
  • Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Architectural Award Certificate of Merit of the Bank of America Lafayette Renovation, 1991
  • AIA Young Architect of the Year Award, AIA San Francisco, 1989
  • Women in Design International Competition: Award for Italian-American Delicatessen, San Francisco, 1981


  • Architecture California, Summer 1996, Volume 18, No. 1, Non-Toxic Development? By Toby S. Levy, pp. 36-40.
  • Architecture: July 1996; Live/Work Housing, by Reed Kroloff, pp. 117-123.
  • American Homestyle & Gardening: July/August 1998, Room to Breathe, by Rhoda Murphy, pp. 29-31.
  • Bon Appetit: July 1993; Kitchen in the Trees: The Ultimate Backyard Retreat, pp. 79-81.
  • Architecture: January 1987, p. 115; Interiors.

Institutional Affiliations

  • Jack London South Park, San Francisco, CA 1995
  • Holman Ranch House, Grants Pass, OR 1994 (Sunset Magazine  Interior Design Award for Exellence)
  • Bank of America, Sacramento, CA 1996
  • 612 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 1998
  • Katzman Residence , San Francisco, CA 1995
  • Academy Museum Store, San Francisco, CA  1990
  • Norman Offices & Gallery, San Francisco, CA 1990
  • Complements, San Francisco, CA 1989
  • Lightner Residence, San Francisco, CA 1991
  • MMX Platform Stations,  San Francisco, CA 1998

(Data from AIA Archives)