AIA Santa Barbara Announces Recipient of the 2023 LUTAH Maria Rigga Presidents Award

Robert Ooley, FAIA with the 2023 Lutah Maria Riggs Award (Courtesy)

By The American Institute of Architects

The American Institute of Architects, Santa Barbara is proud to honor Robert Ooley, FAIA with the 2023 Lutah Maria Riggs Award. Robert is an award-winning public-sector architect and writer. He was elevated into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects for his distinctive accomplishments as County Architect in Santa Barbara.

Regionally recognized as a historic preservation professional and advocate, his leadership efforts for the Santa Barbara Courthouse Conservation earned the 2019 Preservation Design Award for Craftsmanship by the prestigious California Preservation Foundation and the California Governor’s Preservation Award in 2012, 2015. and 2018. Robert recently published a book titled ‘Butterfly Wood – Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie House West’ and is an acknowledged regional expert on Frank Lloyd Wright.

Additionally, Robert has served multiple terms on the Santa Barbara Historic Landmarks Commission, the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara chapter of the American Institute of Architects – including the position of President and has served for the California state chapter of the AIA. Robert is a champion of AIA fellowship here in Santa Barbara and has encouraged and mentored several candidates for fellowship.

Robert was honored at the AIASB 2023 Design Awards Gala on Thursday, December 7, 2023.

About the Award
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. This award is inspired by Lutah Maria Riggs, a prominent Santa Barbara Architect from the 1930s to 1970s who formed her own practice after years working with George Washington Smith, helping to shape the built environment of modern day Santa Barbara.

In 1979 the Chapter Board cast 10 medals, the first of which was presented to Lutah Maria Riggs, FAIA, at the “Celebration of Architecture” 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 persons 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
2018 Carl Palmer
2019 Ellen Bildsten, AIA
2020 Cassandra Ensberg, FAIA
2021 William “Bill” T. Mahan, AIA
2022 Detlev Peikert, AIA

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