At Studio Saha we specialize in residential projects: architecture, outdoor spaces, and interiors. The  Arabic word Saha means “plaza” and “internal courtyard”, and it can be a refuge from a busy city street,  or simply an inviting resting place within a building. For Studio Saha, it represents the enduring design principles of beauty, calm, shelter, and enjoyment.

Plaza (saha) in Seville, Spain

The Principal

Mercedes Corbell is the Principal and lead architect of Studio Saha. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design and has worked in firms doing residential work at a variety of scales, hospitality and commercial work, and urban design.

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Mercedes has lived in the San Francisco Bay area since completing university, working in architecture and interiors.

Mercedes spent close to six years working in the Arabian Gulf region doing design management for civic projects, project management, urban design, and sustainability review, living in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. This experience was a wonderful adventure. Among other things, she explored  the old city of Jeddah (Al-Balad), worked on an UNICEF program “Child Friendly Cities” for a Saudi based NGO, and was part of a large international team for an extensive planning exercise for the city of Jeddah.

Mercedes Corbell is a LEED AP and licensed architect in the states of California (C28967) and Arizona (67039).


Our office is in Oakland, California. The San Francisco Bay area has been an inspiring home base, with its many examples of excellence in architecture and landscape design, its multicultural population, proliferation of academic institutions, and a history of innovation in business and social movements, not to mention its beautiful and varied landscapes.

Our Approach

Our work celebrates the opportunities inherent in a given site, building, room, or space: its orientation in terms of outlook and daylight, the relationship between the interior and the exterior- a classic Californian opportunity given our typically temperate weather, and the use of color- whether vibrant and bright or neutral and subtle.

We carefully craft our floor plans to allow for not only a pleasing flow but also the inclusion of the activities and belongings that might come with a given project type or family.

We collaborate with a team of gifted consultants during the design process including lighting designers and landscape designers, and after the move-in stage, with interior designers for final staging.

Talbot ADU


Studio Saha has been part of the movement toward buildings and spaces that are healthy for their occupants as well as the planet.

Build It Green’s Green Point Guidelines have provided one framework for our green building work, as they are structured to mirror the construction process, while also providing tangible targets in the five categories of Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation, Indoor Air Quality/ Health, Resource Conservation, and Community.

Studio Saha works with many of our residential clients with “electrification”  or “going electric”. This refers to the decision to deactivate natural gas on a site and rely 100% on Electricity as a power source. Often there are plans for future solar, though this is not a requirement.

How We Work

The Principal, architect Mercedes Corbell, works as design lead and client contact on each project, with a small team of designers assisting as needed.

Studio Saha works with excellent local consultants as needed for projects, such as structural engineers, energy efficiency consultants, land surveyors, cost estimators, lighting designers, and civil engineers.

Studio Saha has a list of excellent local general contractors for consideration by our Clients, all of whom are accustomed to consulting during the design phases on  approximate construction cost in order.

Rose Street Co-Living Compound