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Hofmann Architecture: A simple story of small beginnings

01 Apr Hofmann Architecture: A simple story of small beginnings

M&W BWFrom Apple to Google, American businesses tend to have humble beginnings.  Many enormous companies started in tiny garages. Hofmann Architecture’s story begins with its founder, Matthew Hofmann, at age 6. He and his Dad (Wally) designed and built a six-story tree house in the backyard of their Eastern High Sierra home. Twenty-five years later they’re back together designing and manufacturing thoughtful spaces.

Today, Hofmann Architecture is a growing Architectural firm that has earned a reputation worldwide for uniquely-beautiful and highly-functional small space designs — most notably for more than 100 vintage Airstream renovations.

Tree House

Since opening in 2011, Hofmann Architecture’s crew of designers and craftspeople have designed and rebuilt more than 200 custom vessels for clients around the world — most valued at more than $150,000.

There are other Airstream renovators, from RV mechanics to cabinet makers, but Hofmann Architecture is unique because they are a licensed Architectural firm, with experience designing and building homes and commercial buildings.

“For the past two decades Matthew’s been hooked on progressive, small space design,” said his partner and father Wally.  “From tree houses, to brick and mortar buildings, to Airstreams.”  He earned his Architectural degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He studied a year in Florence, Italy and is also fluent in Italian. His alma mater’s motto is Learn by doing. In 2006, at age 26, Matthew became licensed to practice Architecture in California.

“Architecture is the perpetual exercise in making things better,” said Matthew.  “I’m drawn to learning new techniques and making our client’s dreams a reality.  Whether it’s a tree house, a commercial space, or an Airstream, it’s the creative process that captures my attention.”

Original Trade Wind

Matthew designed and built his first Airstream for himself as a home office.  “I realized that living in an Airstream was an ideal way to reduce my overhead and simplify my life as I ventured out on my own,” he explained.  “So, I parked my renovated Airstream on a piece of ocean view property above Santa Barbara, overlooking the Pacific.  I lived and worked in my Airstream for the next year. It was a hands-on discovery that has changed my life.”

The desire to live a simpler lifestyle motivated him to create the Hofmann Architecture Airstream renovation firm.  “I couldn’t see myself sitting behind a computer every day, so I stepped out in faith and starting doing for others what I had done for myself – a home that offers freedom, adventure and comfort in a mobile space.

“The view was stunning and the living was simple,” he added.  “Doing what I love, with people I love, in a place I love – it’s a dream come true.”

In addition to building custom mobile spaces, Hofmann Architecture designed and built a popular Airstream hotel in Santa Barbara.  The “AutoCamp” has five fully-renovated vintage Airstreams available for nightly rentals.  Check out for reservations and details.

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