Casa Nueva County Office Building

Working in the Garden – a model project on a County Government campus creates a breath of fresh air in a daylit, garden setting. The L-shaped building shelters a courtyard from freeway noise, and fosters community within intimate protected landscape terraces.

A 400’ long, 30’ tall tensile structure & flowering vine trellis acts as a high-performance thermal and shading device – as well as the agency’s identity.  Elegant, comfortable office spaces encourage users to “tune their own environment” – with operable windows, and controllable shading.  

A simple, narrow building footprint maximizes access to natural light and ventilation, as well as access to verdant outdoor gathering spaces to work, meet and recreate. Tactile and sustainable materials, and amenities such as outdoor workstations, functional artwork, and native landscape define the intimate individual experience.

Highly visible on the sloping campus, tensile fabric roof screens define a dynamic terminus to the architecture, while lowering roof temperatures and cooling intake air for the mechanical system.

Built at extremely low cost, the sustainability tour de force solves campus-wide planning needs and serves as a model for all future County of Santa Barbara design and construction.  The subject of an Emmy Award-winning documentary on PBS, AIA California awarded it a rare “Award of High Honor” for its elegance, sustainability, and innovative simplicity.

In collaboration with artist Michael Singer and VAI  Van Atta Associates.

  • Location

    Santa Barbara, CA

  • Services

    Architecture, Landscape

  • Awards

    ASLA National, Honor Award

    ASLA Southern California Chapter, Award of Excellence

    AIACC, Award of High Honor, Savings By Design, Energy Efficiency Integration Awards

    The Sustainability Project Green Building Awards, Award of High Honor, Design Award for Distinguished New Institutional Building and Landscape

    Goleta Valley Beautiful, Sustainable Development Award

Blackbird Team | Ken Radtkey, Yianni Doulis, Matthew Eastwood, Adam Sharkey, Ray Twyford, Alisa Oberjuerge
Landscape Architect | VAI Van Atta Associates Inc.
Structural Engineer | Ehlen Spiess & Haight Inc.
Mechanical Engineer | Mechanical Engineering Consultants
Electrical Engineer | JMPE Electrical Engineering and Alan Noelle Engineering
Civil Engineer | Flowers & Associates, Inc.