|2016||Chrysalis Award, Commercial Remodel, “Alma Rosa Tasting Room”|
|2015||Master Design Award, “Alma Rosa Tasting Room”|
|2015||Project Achievement Award, CMAA Southern California Chapter, Oxnard Union High School District’s Adolfo Camarillo and Hueneme High Schools Aquatics Centers.|
|2014||Regional Chrysalis Award, “Micheltorena Residence”|
|2013||Master Design Award, “Micheltorena Residence”|
|2012||Merit Award, So. Cal Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for Coyote House|
|2012||Structural Engineers Association of California, Excellence in Structural Engineering, Westmont College Expansion|
|2011||Southern California Concrete Producers, Cornerstone Award, Westmont College Expansion|
|2011||US Green Building Council California Central Coast Chapter (C4), LEED Parade Awards – Grand Prize, Westmont College|
|2011||National Honor Award, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for Casa Nueva|
|2010||The President’s Award, Santa Barbara Beautiful for Santa Barbara Zoo California Trails Exhibit|
|2010||Award of Excellence – American Society of Landscape Architects, “Casa Nueva” Office Building (In collaboration with Van Atta Landscape Architects)|
|2010||Builder of the Year Award – Santa Barbara Contractors Association, California Trails Exhibit Santa Barbara Zoo|
|2009||Green Business Award – Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County|
|2007||ASLA Award of Merit, ASLA Southern California Chapter, A Community on the Green, MTD Housing|
|2008||ASLA Award of Honor, ASLA Southern California Chapter, Lagoon Park: Living at the Edge of Wilderness (In collaboration with Van Atta Landscape Architects)|
|2005||Award of High Honor (First Prize), Savings By Design Energy Efficiency Integration Awards, “Casa Nueva” Santa Barbara County Office Building|
|2002||California Council of the AIA, Savings by Design, Energy Efficiency & Integration Award Citation, Watershed Resource Center|
|2004||Award of High Honor, The Sustainability Project Green Building Awards, Design Award for Distinguished New Institutional Building and Landscape, “Casa Nueva” Office Building|
|2003||American Institute of Architects – Santa Barbara Chapter, Design Award for Architectural Excellence & Innovative Building and Technology Award, El Capitan Canyon Campground|
|2003||American Institute of Architects – Santa Barbara Chapter, Design Award for Architectural Excellence & Adaptive Re-use Award, New England Science Center|
|2003||Finalist – Livable Places: Innovations in Community Design & Housing Competition|
|2002||First Place, Santa Barbara MTD Housing Design/Build Competition; a sustainable, transit-oriented community with 400 units of workforce and affordable housing.|
|2002||Santa Barbara Green Award, Blackbird Architects|
|2002||Santa Barbara Beautiful Award, Best Commercial Remodel, Watershed Resource Center|
|2002||Santa Barbara Contractors Association, Best Commercial Green Building, Watershed Resource Center|
|2002||National Remodelers’ Association Chrysalis Award, Best Commercial Remodel in Southern California, Watershed Resource Center|
|2001||American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers Certificate of Appreciation, Van Atta Design Studios|
|2000||AIA / Santa Barbara Chapter Merit Award, Van Atta Design Studios|
|2000||Santa Barbara Beautiful Award, Sustainable Building, Van Atta Design Studios|
|1999||Santa Barbara Beautiful Award, Best New Commercial Building, Van Atta Design Studios|
|1999||Honor Award for Sustainable Design, Boston Society of Architects and AIA for Van Atta Design Studios|
|1999||Honor Award (First Prize) – The Great Valley Center and the AIACC, Housing the Next 10 Million Competition, Redevelopment Site|
|1999||Honor Award (First Prize), Sustainable Design, Boston Society of Architects/AIA with BSA/AIA New York Jury, Van Atta Design Studios|
Blackbird Architects began in 1995, and is a full-service architectural firm skilled in the art and science of designing unique environments for living, learning, work and recreation. We believe that collaboration between clients and architects, as well as landscape architects, engineers and artists, can ensure the realization of buildings and landscapes as places of clarity and beauty. In every project we aim to realize the most thoughtful, sensitive and sustainable design using common sense and an economy of means.
Our firm is dedicated to providing comprehensive service and achieving optimum results through efficiency and open communication. Time and budget considerations are incorporated into our design and planning process to produce creative and cost-effective solutions. Our design graphics, production and presentation capabilities, and our ability to respond quickly and flexibly throughout the process help ensure successful outcomes for our clients.
Blackbird Architects designs spaces where one will be easily and naturally oriented – where one has the sense of being at home in a place. We believe that a building and its environs are an integrated landscape for experience and enjoyment. Just as a tool can fit the hand and task comfortably, a place or building should embrace its inhabitants and their lives.
In our work, we value radiant space and light over expensive materials and difficult details. We design for the innovative use of proven technologies to realize spaces of clarity and beauty that will function extremely well for our clients over the long-term.
Our office, projects, and clients have been recognized locally, regionally and nationally for design achievements where beautiful spaces are realized that conserve resources and are sensitive to our environment.
It is only through the work of teams – comprised of clients, architects, engineers and other consultants – that projects of vision and substance are realized. Blackbird Architects is continually refining its abilities to lead, coordinate and participate in the collaborative endeavor. The firm assembles the best team available for each project, and takes pride in building good relations as well as good places. We find that people with different backgrounds offer unique points of view and lead us to new and unexpected discoveries (solutions). The process of realizing a project should be rewarding and it should be a pleasure.
Blackbird Architects is itself a coherent team. Like-minded yet diverse, our personnel bring expertise from diverse countries, cultures and endeavors. This has led us to respect many points of view and sets of priorities as integral to the quality of our work.
We pride ourselves on being good listeners, and on being able to translate our clients’ needs into thoughtful design. This has led Blackbird Architects to develop uncommonly clear, colorful and striking graphic communication techniques for use in our programming, outreach and design process. We find that attractive and clear communication of good design is critical in an ever more complex and participatory approvals process.
Van Atta Associates | Landscape Architect
Michael Singer Inc. | Artist
Behnisch Architects | Architect
Yianni Doulis Architecture Studio | Architect
Tom Hurt Design Office | Architect
Next Phase Studios Inc. | Architect
Lynch/Eisinger/Design | Architect
David Vanhoy Architect Incorporated | Architect
Awards, Honors, Commendations
Founder | AIA, LEED AP
KEN RADTKEY, founder and principal of Blackbird Architects, Inc., received his BSME, in Mechanical and Environmental Engineering from UCSB, and his Master’s in Architecture from MIT.
Before establishing Blackbird in Santa Barbara, Ken worked at Behnisch & Partner Architects in Stuttgart, Germany. Ken was project architect for several buildings, including the German Bundesbank Headquarters in Frankfurt and collaborated in the design of many internationally recognized buildings, as well as winning competition entries.
Ken has lectured on architecture and been a guest critic at, among other places, Columbia, Harvard, M.I.T., University of Oregon, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, and Esslingen Akademie.
Architect, LEED AP BD+C
Adam has been a part of Blackbird since 1999. He received his BA from Pomona College, and his Master’s in Architecture from the University of Oregon.
He is passionate about architecture and enjoys design at all scales – from institutional master planning to intricate building construction details. Originally from Vermont, he truly appreciates the amazing climate and landscape of coastal California, and seeks opportunities for indoor-outdoor connections in all aspects of design.
Community involvement and thoughtful approaches to sustainability are a key part of Adam’s work at Blackbird. Adam has been a LEED Accredited Professional since 2002, and was a board-member and President of the non-profit group The Sustainability Project for over 10 years implementing environmental educational projects throughout the South Coast region. When not designing, Adam serves on the Board of Directors for Peabody Charter School, and coaches youth basketball.
Architect, LEED AP
Alayna joined the Blackbird team in 2012. She is originally from Santa Barbara but moved away for more than 15 years during which time she studied architecture at UC Berkeley, the Harvard Graduate School of Design and later worked in Switzerland, Italy and Argentina. Alayna is delighted to be back in Santa Barbara and grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community in which she grew up through inspired and thoughtful design.
Ray returned to Santa Barbara in 2014 to join Blackbird Architects. His passion for architecture began early on and flourished during his studies at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA and is now nourished by the highly collaborative and design oriented team at Blackbird. He is grateful for each opportunity to help realize an idea or vision through physical space in a creative and thoughtful way.
James has been a Blackbird since 2007. Originally from the outskirts of Joshua Tree, CA he came to UC Santa Barbara for undergraduate study in architectural history. He relocated to Claremont, CA for graduate study in architecture at California State Polytechnic University Pomona. Like a magnet, Blackbird and Santa Barbara brought him right back. He loves small places, big ideas and strives to imbue meaning and inspire enjoyment in the spaces he designs.
Certified Interior Designer
Alisa’s interest in architecture and interior design began by helping with near-constant renovation projects at her 1920’s era childhood home. She tracked down Adam after his guest presentation in a UCSB Sustainability lecture in 2010 and has been with Blackbird ever since. She believes that designers should be advocates for our local community and environment.
Shaheen is an architectural designer from South Florida, that studied at the University of Florida and Arizona State University. He believes that good design derives from a careful balance between poetics and functionality.
Administrative & Marketing Manager
Nicole believes that good design should speak for itself. Her role is to bring to light Blackbird’s perspective and to support the creative team behind it all. She moved to Santa Barbara in 2013 and has enjoyed exploring the mountains and the ocean since then.
Janet attended Western Michigan University before moving to Santa Barbara. She worked in accounting and bookkeeping for various local businesses and a CPA firm in Santa Barbara until joining Blackbird Architects in 2013, where she has happily been since. In addition to bookkeeping, she has a background in Music, Fiber Arts, and Interior Design.
After completing a 6-year program at the State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture in Ukraine, Aliona started practicing sustainable design with small-scale residential projects using straw panel construction in her home country.
Interested in pursuing international training, she joined the Blackbird team to get exposure to larger projects and to learn about sustainability for institutional and commercial projects.
Aliona believes her work with Blackbird will be a very rewarding international experience and also an amazing opportunity to explore the West Coast.
Originally from Romania, Stefan graduated from Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bucharest in 2014 with a Master’s degree in Architectural Design. Additionally, he took classes of an itinerant Master’s program at Academia Adrianea di Architettura e Archeologia in Rome, Italy, with a major in Interventions on Archeological Sites. Passionate about traveling and exploring new places and cultures, Stefan jumped at the opportunity Blackbird Architects offered him and moved to the United States in 2016.