Working in the Garden
Carpinteria Sanitary District Headquarters

Reflecting its environmental mission, The Carpinteria Sanitary District needed to revitalize it’s identity, reinhabit it’s underutilized site, replace a failing 50 year old portable structure above a rising floodplain, and invite native flora, fauna, and community.

In deep collaboration, our team sensitively nestled the service headquarters amongst protected riparian habitat and historically significant Sycamores and Eucalyptus. Habitat diversity and stormwater management enhanced through expansive native planting and riparian bioswales. The gently sloping entry walkway and landscape stairs create a civic invitation – passing through a demonstration garden while accessibly connecting visitors and staff from street-side permeable parking to the knoll-top reception. Hovering above the floodplain adds resilience to critical infrastructure. Upbeat and modern – yet residential in scale – building and landscape create a park-like setting and a new open space resource for the community. Clear identity and entry create intuitive wayfinding.

A breezeway separates the modest yet civic public service administrative hub from the community room – supporting off-hours use by regional agencies, non-profits, and community groups. Oculi (sky holes!) naturally light the passage between. Creating an iconic architectural invitation, glass transparency at the community room displays the open process. Inside and out, bold colors pair with warm natural materials forming a bright and welcoming palette. Exemplifying the agency’s commitment to sustainability, a constellation of technically advanced measures – including, energy-net-positive solar, all-electric infrastructure, and high-performance envelope – augment design-with-nature fundamentals of proper site orientation, overhangs, passive cooling/heating, and abundant natural light and air.

  • Location

    Carpinteria, CA

  • Services

    Architecture, Interiors, Landscape

Blackbird Team | Ken Radtkey, Ray Twyford, Stefan Farmazon, Alisa Oberjuerge, Ambikesh Mishra, Adam Sharkey, James Kyle, Shaheen Ghazvinizadeh,
Nazanin Parhoodeh, Fabio Rainoldi, Ian Bankhead
Client | Carpinteria Sanitary District
Landscape Architect | VAI Van Atta Associates Inc.
Structural Engineer | T&S Structural
Electrical Engineer | Alan Noelle Engineering
Mechanical & Plumbing Engineer | Mechanical Engineering Consultants
Civil Engineer | Above Grade Engineering
Contractor | Newton Construction & Management, Inc.
Cost Estimator | C. P. O’Halloran Associates, Inc.
Photography | Alex Nye