Van Atta Design Studios Interior

This 2,500 square foot studio office building makes the most of a constrained remnant lot, transforming an intensely urban setting into a green and welcoming studio environment for Blackbird and VAI  Van Atta Associates Landscape Architects.

Challenging site dimensions and adjacency to busy freeway and intersection noise were mitigated through the design. The shallow building profile on the narrow site capitalizes on northeast exposure for ideal daylighting throughout the interior. The large acoustically-glazed windows harvest light and provide outstanding city and mountain views. Volumetric play in interior space configurations, windows sizes, and facade detailing foster a layered reading of the building massing and complement the restrained exterior material palette.

Landscaping on and around the building helps naturalize a context characterized by traffic infrastructure and industrial land uses. Lush outdoor gathering spaces at the lower and rooftop levels offer serene breakout spaces. A Koi pond as well as permeable and planted parking surfaces keep water on-site and improve the microclimate.

As an SCE demonstration project for energy-efficient and sustainable building, design simulations optimized building performance by integrating exposed thermal mass, stack ventilation, and high-efficiency lighting and equipment. A “less-is-more” sustainability approach on the interior used building systems as finishes. Exposed slabs, structural concrete block walls, trusses, and mechanical systems are orchestrated with thoughtful detailing into an elegant light-industrial aesthetic.

  • Location

    Santa Barbara, CA

  • Awards

    AIA – Santa Barbara Chapter, Merit Award
    Santa Barbara Beautiful Award, Best Sustainable Building
    Santa Barbara Beautiful Award, Best New Commercial Building
    AIA Boston Society of Architects with AIA New York Jury, Honor Award (First Prize), Sustainable Design
    American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers Certificate of Appreciation

Landscape Architect | VAI Van Atta Associates Inc.
Structural Engineer | Van Sande Structural Consultants
Contractor | Paul Franz Construction
Photography | Matt Weir