Friday, May 25 , 2018, 4:02 pm | A Few Clouds 66º



Architect Brian Cearnal to Receive AIA Award

The American Institute of Architects Santa Barbara has selected local architect and community leader, Brian Cearnal to receive the Lutah Maria Riggs Award.

Cearnal, founding partner of the Cearnal Collective, a local and distinguished architectural firm, has been an integral part of the Santa Barbara architectural community since 1980; demonstrating throughout this time a dedication to beautiful and significant architecture and community leadership.

The Lutah Maria Riggs Presidents Award recognizes an AIA Santa Barbara member or firm whose work, community service and civic engagement have had a lasting influence for the betterment of Santa Barbara’s built environment.

Recipients must have both a body of distinguished architectural design and a history of advocacy for community architectural engagement in the area.

The award is inspired by Riggs, a prominent Santa Barbara architect from the 1930s-1970s who formed her own practice after years working with George Washington Smith, helping shape the built environment of modern day Santa Barbara.

In 1979, the Chapter Board cast 10 medals, the first of which was presented to Riggs at the Celebration of Architecture event, which was being held in fall of that year.

The medal was to bear her name and it was the board’s intention to further honor her for her lifetime love and pursuit of architecture.

The medal may be granted by the board to an AIA member or firm directly associated with the art, science, technology, construction or education of architecture, and whose life has shown insight, sensitivity and dedication to architecture.
The following individuals have been granted this honor:
1979 Lutah Maria Riggs, FAIA
1980 Architectural Firm of Edwards and Pitman
1982 Fred Noel, AIA
1986 David Gebhard, HAIA
1988 Jean Graffy
2017 Brian Cearnal, AIA
Nominated and elected by a committee of AIA Santa Barbara’s past presidents, Cearnal demonstrated the ideals of community leadership, architectural design, and civic engagement on behalf of the local architectural community.

Cearnal received his bachelor of architecture degree in 1976 from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo after studying his fifth year abroad at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark.

He was licensed by California to practice architecture in 1980 and started the firm in 1983. As founding partner of the Cearnal Collective, Brian is the heart and soul of the firm, AIA Santa Barbara said.

Cearnal has created a legacy of community leadership and quality design. He has a record of successfully coordinating challenging projects through the approval process. His interests in the community, plus his belief that design matters, have been the keystones of their success.

Deeply involved in Santa Barbara advocacy, Cearnal served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce in 1995.

He is a past president of the American Institute of Architects, Santa Barbara Chapter, and a former chair of the Santa Barbara Architectural Board of Review.

As a founding member of the Santa Barbara South Coast Economic Community Project and past president, he plays a continuing role in the community as an advocate for regional planning and the balance between economic vitality and quality of life.

Most recently, Cearnal participated in and organized a Design Charrette intended to bring the architectural community together to generate designs to revitalize the Lower State Street corridor.

As an architect, Cearnal’s designs have woven together the fabric of Santa Barbara’s built environment, the AIA said. A few of his firm’s most prominent pieces are the Orfalea Center, Braille Institute, Canary Hotel and Alma del Pueblo.

For these reasons and more, AIA Santa Barbara said, Cearnal represents an architect integrally linked to Santa Barbara’s landscape through quality architectural design, community leadership, and civic engagement.

The legacy Cearnal has created represents a continuation of Lutah Maria Riggs’ own dedication to Santa Barbara’s architectural community, AIA Santa Barbara said.

Bill Mahon, past president of AIA Santa Barbara, will present the award to Cearnal at the annual Design Awards Holiday Gala Dec. 9.

— Tara Rizzi for AIA Santa Barbara.


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