This year, the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture’s (AIA) tour will focus on fire-resistant projects. The public is invited to tour eight residences, including several “fire rebuild” homes which were destroyed and reconstructed in the aftermath of the Tea and Jesusita fires. Architects and their construction teams will be on site to describe the design, construction, and landscape fire-resistant qualities of each project. The following is a taste of the projects that will be featured on the Saturday, September 29 tour.

Appleton and Associates: Villa Ravello marries the nature of the client’s formidable modern art collection to the desire for a traditionally informed Italianate style in this Montecito residence. Due to the surroundings of the recent Tea Fire, the home was also designed and built to be sufficiently advanced to survive many generations, yet still a traditional and comfortable home of today.

Burnell, Branch and Pester Architecture: The architects approached this Tea Fire re-build project with a combination of code-prescriptive and project-specific elective materials and methods, to create the overall fire-resistive design. Some of these include exterior plaster, 1-hour fire-resistive wall assembly, and flat roofs with vertical parapets and no overhangs. This allowed the residence to be built closer to the surviving oak trees than normally permitted, and strongly influenced the design aesthetics.

Thompson Naylor Architects, Mountain Drive Residence: The owners had lived on this property for 28 years before their house burned in the Tea Fire. They are deeply committed to this little slice of land and were determined to build a new house that would last, be lighter on the environment, and take better advantage of the light and views available from the site. From the beginning of the design process, one of the main goals was to make the house as fire-resistant as possible on a limited budget.

Wade Davis Design, Orange Grove Residence: This residence in Mission Canyon was designed and built after the original house was destroyed in the Jesusita Fire. The family, including three teenage children, were forced to rebuild after losing most of their belongings, and their sense of home. Since their family life revolves around the kitchen, they chose it to be at the heart of their new home.

Paul Poirier + Associates Architects, Mission Ridge Poolhouse: This 500-square-foot pool house is nestled into the slope of the hill, in harmony with the detailing of the adjacent historic residence. The 1913 carriage house was converted into a residence that preserved the historic character of the structure. The design includes an outdoor kitchen with pizza oven, and is built to high fire standards, with all the main walls consisting of poured-in-place concrete, utilizing defensible space in the landscape design.

Barton Myers Associates, Inc., Arcadia Studio, Landscape Architecture, Bekins Residence: Perched on ten acres overlooking the Santa Barbara Channel, the Bekins Residence continues Barton Myers’ investigation into the blending of interior and exterior living spaces through the use of industrial, fire-resistant building materials in a residential context. The historic gardens, originally designed by noted Landscape Architect Lockwood de Forest, were restored by Derrik Eichelberger of Arcadia Studio with distinct fire-wise landscape strategies in mind.

John D. Kelley Architect, Harlin Residence:

After the Tea Fire, the owners were determined to rebuild on their land in the foothills on Coyote Road. They had a vision of a New Zealand farmhouse that was as fire-resistant as possible, with big porches and a hipped roof. Exterior materials, including metal roofing, stucco walls, aluminum-clad windows and steel garage door, are all extremely fire-resistant. Fire-safe, drought-tolerant landscaping and permeable paving integrate the home into the site.

JM Holliday Associates, Zen Hacienda:

This residence rose from the ashes of the 2008 Tea Fire. The site was planned to optimize functional use of the property while also providing ample outdoor living, recreation and gardening areas for the active clients. The end result is a comfortable and inviting home surrounded by outdoor patios, trellised porticos, and drought tolerant/ fire resistive landscape.

Winick Architects, Cielito Restaurant: Cielito is remodeled from the original which was built in 1926, after the earthquake of 1925. In recent years the site has seen several restaurants, but none have lived up to the promise of the iconic fountain and the magnificent space. The new Cielito is an expression of timeless elegance; a place which compliments both the inventive menu and the significant historic context of La Arcada.

ArchitecTours is an annual celebration of select local architecture presented by the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. ArchitecTours highlights the expertise that AIA Architects bring to building projects. These include a thorough understanding and expertise in urban design, sustainability, accessibility, structural improvements, building materials, and historic renovation. ArchitecTours draws attention to the extraordinary architectural legacy in Santa Barbara and the value of well-designed architecture to every member of our community.

The tour will be held on Saturday, September 29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and departs from the Santa Barbara AIA Chapter House located at 229 E. Victoria Avenue, in Santa Barbara. The tour includes van transportation and lunch under the oaks at one of the residences, and will wrap up with a festive party at Cielito Restaurant in the La Arcada courtyard. For more information and online ticket purchases, please visit or call 805-966-4198.


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