Our Team

Blackbird Architects began in 1995, and is a full-service architectural firm skilled in the art and science of designing unique environments for living, learning, work and recreation. We believe that collaboration between clients and architects, as well as landscape architects, engineers and artists, can ensure the realization of buildings and landscapes as places of clarity and beauty. In every project we aim to realize the most thoughtful, sensitive and sustainable design using common sense and an economy of means.

 

Our firm is dedicated to providing comprehensive service and achieving optimum results through efficiency and open communication. Time and budget considerations are incorporated into our design and planning process to produce creative and cost-effective solutions. Our design graphics, production and presentation capabilities, and our ability to respond quickly and flexibly throughout the process help ensure successful outcomes for our clients.

Ken Radtkey

Founder | FAIA, LEED AP

Ken received his BSME, in Mechanical and Environmental Engineering from UCSB, and his Master’s in Architecture from MIT. Before establishing Blackbird, he worked at Behnisch & Partner Architects in Germany. Ken was project architect for the German Bundesbank Headquarters in Frankfurt and collaborated in the design of many internationally recognized buildings. Ken has lectured at, among other places, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Alayna Fraser

AIA, Architect, LEED AP BD+C

Alayna joined the Blackbird team in 2012. She is originally from Santa Barbara but moved away for more than 15 years during which time she studied architecture at UC Berkeley, the Harvard Graduate School of Design and later worked in Switzerland, Italy and Argentina. Alayna is delighted to be back in Santa Barbara and grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community in which she grew up through inspired and thoughtful design.

Ray Twyford

Architect

Ray returned to Santa Barbara in 2014 to join Blackbird Architects. His passion for architecture began early on and flourished during his studies at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA and is now nourished by the highly collaborative and design oriented team at Blackbird. He is grateful for each opportunity to help realize an idea or vision through physical space in a creative and thoughtful way.

Juli Langley

Office Manager

Juli studied Communications and Marketing at San Francisco State University. Prior to joining the Blackbird team, she held various eclectic jobs that provide her with a unique and resourceful perspective. While supporting the creative team she also aims to assist in upholding and fostering the diverse and collaborative culture at Blackbird.

Alisa Oberjuerge

ARCHITECT, LEED AP BD+C, CID

Alisa’s interest in design began early in life by observing and working on constant renovation projects at her 1920’s-era childhood home. She is interested in the positive impact that design can have on the inhabitants of a space as well as the surrounding community and environment. She is grateful to have been at Blackbird since 2011.

Janet Rhodes

Bookkeeper

Janet attended Western Michigan University before moving to Santa Barbara. She worked in accounting and bookkeeping for various local businesses and a CPA firm in Santa Barbara until joining Blackbird Architects in 2013, where she has happily been since. In addition to bookkeeping, she has a background in Music, Fiber Arts, and Interior Design.

Liqiang Huang

Designer

Originally from China, Liqiang studied at Beijing Jiaotong University and later received her Master’s in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis.  Liqiang is interested in sustainability, nature, and poetry.  She believes that architecture provides space sequences in nature in a comfortable and poetic way.

Adam Sharkey

AIA, Architect, LEED AP BD+C

Adam has been a part of Blackbird since 1999. He received his BA from Pomona College, and his Master’s in Architecture from the University of Oregon. Originally from Vermont, he appreciates the climate and landscape of coastal California and seeks opportunities for indoor-outdoor connections in all aspects of design. Community involvement and thoughtful approaches to sustainability are a key part of Adam’s work. He has been LEED Accredited since 2002.

James Kyle

Designer

James has been a Blackbird since 2007.  Originally from the outskirts of Joshua Tree, CA he came to UC Santa Barbara for undergraduate study in architectural history.  He relocated to Claremont, CA for graduate study in architecture at California State Polytechnic University Pomona.  Like a magnet, Blackbird and Santa Barbara brought him right back.  He loves small places, big ideas and strives to imbue meaning and inspire enjoyment in the spaces he designs.

Raj Gajjar

Designer, LEED AP BD+C

Having completed his architectural education in India, he made the move to the United States to seek unfamiliar prospects in his creative endeavors. He believes that good design is about simplicity while being conscious of the unbuilt environment. He is intrigued by the use of diverse materials & construction techniques in design. Outside of architecture, he enjoys pursuing his passion for photography & he can often be found on a field playing outdoor sports.

Shaheen Ghazvinizadeh

Architect

Shaheen is an architectural designer from South Florida, that studied at the University of Florida and Arizona State University. He believes that good design derives from a careful balance between poetics and functionality. 

Clara Hembree

Office Manager

Originally from the Santa Barbara area, she spent a few years exploring Lake Tahoe and Northern California. Being homeschooled from an early age has helped Clara bring a unique perspective to office management and tech support. She enjoys supporting the office and solving the mysteries of technology. Clara is grateful to be a part of a team that is dedicated to timeless design and is sensitive to the surrounding natural environment. Clara is also a musician and amateur recording engineer.

JUSTIN SAGER

Designer

Justin joined Blackbird in January 2022. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with a graduate focus on ecological architecture and sustainable design. He draws inspiration from travel and other cultures, including time spent in Japan and Scandinavia. He believes design should be sensitive to its context and that spaces can strengthen a sense of place within the surrounding environment and community.

Stefan Farmazon

Designer, Int'l. associate aia

Originally from Romania, Stefan graduated from Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bucharest in 2014 with a Master’s in Architectural Design. Additionally, he took classes of an itinerant Master’s program at Academia Adrianea di Architettura e Archeologia in Rome, Italy, with a major in Interventions on Archeological Sites. Passionate about traveling and exploring new places and cultures, Stefan moved to the United States in 2016 to join the Blackbird team.

Kat Seth

DESIGNER

Kat received her Bachelor’s in Architecture from Cal Poly, SLO. After college, Kat worked in San Francisco on single and multi-family residential design. Her upbringing in Hawaii informs her design interests, both in site-specific architecture and indoor-outdoor spaces. She likes the work of Luis Barragan and Lina Bo Bardi for their utilization of light, materiality, and greenery. Outside of design, she enjoys reading and being by the ocean.

FATIMA JALALI

Designer

Fatima joined Blackbird in 2021. Originally from Tehran, Iran, Fatima received a Bachelor’s degree in Public Management from The University of Tehran. After moving to the United States, she received a degree in Interior Design from SBCC before attending the Master’s Program in Architecture at SCI-Arc. In addition to architecture, her other passions include designing and making furniture, pottery and clothing. She also enjoys climbing and backpacking whenever she gets the chance.

SUBHAM MALPANI

DESIGNER

Subham joined Blackbird Architects in 2023 after graduating from Penn State University with an M. Arch. His architectural perspective is enriched by his work experience and exposure as an architect in India and Sri Lanka. Beyond architecture, Subham finds joy in experimenting with cuisines in the kitchen and advancing in his self-taught musical journey.

SUSAN VAN ATTA

FASLA

Susan Van Atta approaches design with a deep understanding of environmental processes gained from a degree in Environmental Studies, an early career in California coastal planning and environmental impact assessment, and over thirty-five years as a practicing landscape architect. Van Atta strives to “make places better” by regenerating the land, engaging the public in site understanding and site stewardship, and promoting health for both people and the environment.

Open positions

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Nullam et nibh ligula. Aliquam vestibulum ligula eget ipsum iaculis dictum. In ullamcorper interdum libero, eget pharetra enim pulvinar et. Vestibulum imperdiet enim ac ex tempus efficitur. Donec vitae odio vulputate, fringilla nunc et, suscipit leo. Quisque vel maximus felis. Nam a pulvinar arcu.

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