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Michael Holliday of Santa Barbara Named American Institute of Architects Fellow

He's the first local architect to be awarded the distinction in more than 20 years

South Coast architect Michael Holliday has been designated as an American Institute of Architects Fellow, the highest honor bestowed on the organization’s general membership.

Michael Holliday
Michael Holliday

Only about 3 percent of AIA members nationwide are recognized as Fellows. The last time any Santa Barbara architect was elevated to that distinction was more than 20 years ago.

“Had it not been for the fantastic clients and the talented team of design professionals working alongside me, I would not have received this award,” Holliday said. “The credit for this recognition deservedly goes to them.”

Fellowship in the AIA recognizes architects who have made significant contributions to the profession of architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. The nation’s leading architectural service organization, the AIA was founded in 1857 and represents more than 80,000 architects and design professionals worldwide.

Holliday will receive the Fellowship Medal in May at the National AIA Convention in Washington, D.C., at a ceremony in the Washington National Cathedral. A South Coast celebration and reception for the AIA and community members will be announced in the coming weeks.

Holliday has been a leader in the Santa Barbara community for more than two decades and recently served as chairman for the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce. His pool of clients consists of an array of public and private institutions, including the City and County of Santa Barbara, UCSB, Westmont College and SBCC, as well as a number of private corporations and high-tech start-up companies.

“Santa Barbara is extremely fortunate to have someone of Michael Holliday’s caliber, integrity and deep care and compassion in our community,” Mayor Helene Schneider said.

Of Holliday, county Supervisor Janet Wolf said, “Mr. Holliday is a forward thinker with a dedication to environmental issues. He has always been vocal on the importance of building green.”

Holliday designed a commercial office building at 1100 Santa Barbara St., which his colleague Bill Mahan called “one of the nicest designs that’s been done in Santa Barbara since the 1930s. It’s just a wonderful building, beautiful composition, simple, incredibly compatible. It’s a standout.”

Holliday is a past president of the AIA Santa Barbara Chapter and has served as the government relations chairman for the group. He has helped the organization lead various planning, energy conservation and “green” environmental initiatives to benefit the community. He serves on the boards of the UCSB Economic Forecast, the Santa Barbara Region Chamber Commerce, the MIT Enterprise Forum Central Coast and Kids Helping Kids, and is chairman of the South Coast Business Forum.

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