Most people might imagine Santa Barbara style in terms of residential architecture, perhaps a red-tiled villa on the Riviera with white columns framing the view to islands on the southern horizon.
Santa Barbara style means that most buildings befit the climate, are of the Mediterranean vernacular, and are predominantly Spanish and Italian influenced. This sort of completes the fantasy that one is within driving distance of Monte Carlo or Cap d’Antibes.
Our City’s both unique geographic and economic position has produced high quality building examples in various styles including Mission, Bungalow, Mission Revival, Hacienda, Classical, Modern, Prairie, and Californian. Periods range, over 200 years, from the early Spanish adobes, to American phase, to the George Washington Smith/Spanish Colonial Revival era.
Beyond the villas there is architecture that functions primarily for the community. This too contributes to the Santa Barbara style and is the type most represented in KBZ’s body of work.
Aging yet historic buildings, from the early 20th century, have been given the opportunity for renewal and restoration, creating some important renovation projects for KBZ; including the Carrillo Recreation Center and the Lobero Theatre. We have also completed some vernacular building projects, e.g. the City Fire Department Administration Office Building, the conversion of an old automotive muffler shop adjacent to KBZ’s renovation of Fire Station No. 1.
Many of our projects for Santa Barbara Unified School District involve buildings of historical interest.. Most notable is our award winning renovation of the Marjorie Luke auditorium at Santa Barbara Junior High.
Santa Barbara City College - Santa Barbara, CA
West Campus New Classroom & Office Building
While at first glance the Building appears to adhere to the Campus’ modern architectural tradition, the architecture is actually closer to the Mediterranean style for which the City of Santa Barbara is known. Panoramic glass curtain walls and aluminum cladding have been designed to blend with Mediterranean elements such as porticos, trellises, overhangs, semi-enclosed gathering spaces and native Santa Barbara sandstone.
By combining these two architectural styles, the Building provides a visual bridge between the existing campus architecture and that of the surrounding community.
In addition, the Building will be the first to face inland and inward to visually acknowledge the East Campus. In this way, the Building will link the East and West Campuses, which currently feel like separate entities turning their “backs” on one another.
The Building will provide a new home to classrooms, labs, offices and support functions currently dispersed among portable buildings on the College’s East and West campuses, thereby providing a sense of educational community not possible under the existing campus configuration.
The Entry Boulevard will serve not only as the main entry and as a visual variation in the Building’s length, but will also provide an outdoor activity hub and student gathering space.
The Building’s design responded directly to the User Group’s physical design priorities:
• Functional Respect: The Building will provide more classroom and educational space than initially envisioned by the project’s scope with minimal visual impact and the lightest possible environmental footprint.
• Transparency: The Building's transparent eastern facade allows for full appreciation of the site’s incredible mountain and ocean views from within the Building, the East Campus Walk, other points on campus, as well as from the surrounding community.
• Identity: The Building's volumes and materials (including natural stone and vegetative roofing) were carefully selected to be compatible with, yet distinct from those of the adjacent Theater, giving the Building its own place and identity.
Additional elements tie the Building to its physical surroundings: Lightly inclined vertical mullions tether the articulated glass curtain walls, echoing the wood pilings supporting Santa Barbara’s historic Stearns Wharf (visible on the horizon). The undulated metal canopy hovering above the Entry Boulevard provides a nautical element evoking the ocean’s waves
Santa Barbara Unified School District - Santa Barbara, CA
Adams Elementary School New Library
Centrally located within the campus, the new Library will be a key feature of the Adams campus. To buffer traffic noise from Las Positas and noise generated from the playground, the building has been sited to take advantage of the natural sound barrier of the sloping hillside to the east and the sound buffering potential of existing portable classrooms to the north, west and permanent classrooms to the south. A new covered walkway extends an existing covered walkway that is the primary point of circulation through the campus. The Library provides capacity for 15,000 volumes, classroom seating for 36 students, a semi-circular Storytelling area for 36 children and an outdoor Reading Patio is directly accessed from the Reading Room. The exterior architecture respects the existing school’s Santa Barbara-styled vocabulary, incorporating flat red roof tiles, painted cement plaster walls and red Roman brick wainscoting. Unique to the school, a hipped roof configuration has been used in lieu of the gabled roofs to signify the common-use purpose of the Library. Interior spaces have warm wood ceilings, soft fabric display walls, wooden book shelving, and waxed colored concrete floors. The Reading Room and Classroom have been provided with infrastructure for a variety of audio/visual needs. All building materials have been selected on the basis of their durability, sustainability and compatibility to the existing campus architecture. The lumber used is FSC Certified. The structural system, metal studs and floors are constructed out of recycled steel and concrete with recycled fly ash.
Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects, Inc.
Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects (KBZ) has experience providing professional design services since December 1959.
We invite your critical inspection of the projects included in this website, both as they appear in presentation form and in reality. You are particularly urged to inquire about the quality and thoroughness of the architectural services rendered from the people who own and use these buildings.
What single factor do we feel is the key to our effectiveness as an architectural firm? Very simple, the philosophy of personal service. On each project, a principal member of the firm works directly with and is responsible to the client. In this way, he can conceive the design, control the preparation of plans and specifications, and supervise actual construction. this unique practice has result in better continuity of services, superior coordination and reduced costs on the job.
Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects, December 1959.
Today, We still follow and believe this philosophy of personal service. On all of our projects, both public or private, we are committed to our clients and provide the highest level of services, in terms of responsiveness, timeliness and the efficient completion of accurate contract documents.
Our commitment is to provide you with a professional team dedicated to taking your project successfully through to its completion.
The Lobero Theater - Santa Barbara, CA
1873- Jose Lobero builds the first legitimate theater/opera house in the area
1924- Lutah Maria Riggs (with George Washington Smith) design the Spanish Colonial Revival building
1939- Registered as a state of California historical landmark
2013- KBZ renovates the theatre
The Lobero Theatre is located within the ‘Presidio Neighborhood’, the historic center of Santa Barbara’s cultural life. It has been a frequent stop for national touring performances, hosting a variety of artists; from Marcel Marceau to Donovan, from the Pickle Family Circus to the Vienna Boys Choir. It has also seen countless local productions of plays, operas and solo performances.
The renovation project completed in 2013 focused on improving the ‘audience experience’ by offering better comfort and convenience through new interior temperature control systems, expanded restroom facilities, ADA upgrades and more comfortable seating. With these improvements it befits its reputation as a world-class venue.
Air conditioning was added with minimal visual impact to both the building’s exterior and interior appearance. This challenge was met by intensive coordination amongst the design team to determine unobtrusive locations for the necessarily large mechanical equipment and ducting. Within the auditorium, the cooled air is supplied and returned in a manner that was designed to minimally disrupt the detail and character of the interiors.
A combination of new and restored elements created roomier and more comfortable seats while maintaining their characteristic look. The original stepped oak flooring was reconstructed to maintain a level surface at the seating areas to allow for easy access. Row-to-row spacing was increased to provide more leg room and sightlines were improved by staggering the seating.
The interiors now feel brighter and livelier due in large part to the lighting design. KBZ worked closely with Ann Kale Associates resulting in a dramatic transformation by concealing new efficient and high performance light sources within the original ‘wrought iron’ light fixtures. The character-defining columns were at last highlighted and previously unseen details such as plaster ‘comedy and tragedy’ masks sitting atop the column capitals were revealed for the first time. Illumination of the coffered ceiling now showcases the newly restored intricate design.
Prior to the renovation, national music publications and performing artists had favorably recognized the Lobero for its inherent acoustics. Care was taken to maintain the theatre’s original acoustical integrity while adding a flexible component to satisfy a wider range of performer’s acoustical demands. Changeable panels were included and designed to be added when an increase in reflective values are required.
A new cohesive system of donor recognition was developed that integrates with the design of the theatre and allows for growth and change within the system. The restrooms were expanded to nearly double the number of stalls now allowing for the option of shorter intermissions! Modern low water use fixtures blend with tiles typically found on George Washington Smith projects to stay in keeping with a the Spanish Colonial Revival design.
Extensive work to the site provides wheelchair access to the entry and has resulted in a large brick plaza that serves as a gathering space in support of performances. The new plaza was based on George Washington Smith’s original raised terrace ‘Esplanade’ design and includes a wheelchair compliant ramp that is used by patrons of all abilities as a major point of access. The exterior lighting design announces ‘Showtime’ during performance nights by dramatically highlighting the façade of this historic landmark.
Designated a City Landmark in 1981, the renovation was reviewed by the City of Santa Barbara’s Historic Landmarks Commission and followed the design guidelines for El Pueblo Viejo Landmark District. In addition to this formal review, KBZ worked closely with the Lobero Theatre Foundation to meet with a variety of interested individuals and community groups to educate, listen to, and act on, a variety of issues and ideas.
Close cooperation between the Lobero Theatre Foundation, Schipper Construction and KBZ resulted in a successful and rewarding project that stayed on budget and met an ambitious 6 month construction schedule.
Santa Barbara Beautiful, 2014 Property Award for Historic Revitalization
1967 - The County Bank Headquarters' Building - Santa Barbara, CA
The contemporary design of this building resolves all of the problems related to the site, satisfies the function of the bank, and is consistent with the architecture of the area. The building contains 8,144 square feet on two floors and provides parking for 17 cars. Some of the features are mission tile roof, quarry tile floors, sandblasted concrete structural frame and generous redwood detailing. The structure stands by itself on the property and is visible from all four directions. Therefore, each elevation was carefully treated as a major elevation. Two prominent design elements are the concrete vault and the transparency of the building.
1968 - Theater for U.S. Naval Battalion Center - Port Hueneme, CA
A two-story structure with 768 seats on the ground floor, 120 seats in the balcony and 112 seats in a future balcony extension provides the basic seating configuration. In order to provide the maximum use for this building, sight lines have been established to allow good visual access with minimum distortion at the platform level. This will allow multiple use of the facility for movies, lectures, concerts and other stage productions. Acoustics have been studied to provide reverberation times in keeping with these activities. In general, materials are incombustible and have been selected for low maintenance.
1969 - The John Wright and Sons Building - Santa Barbara, CA
Located within a stone’s throw of the beach and picturesque Cabrillo Boulevard, on a 21,600 square foot lot zoned CM (commercial manufacturing) the Wright building — 13,600 square feet — is designed as integrated headquarters for Wright’s plastics development and rigging firm founded in 1950 by Mr. and Mrs. John S. Wright and now operated by their two sons. The first floor (warehouse level) contains space for storage, light manufacturing and research, in addition to an office, customer area, building entrance vestibule, elevator, stairs and mechanical space. The second floor (office level) is devoted to clerical and management offices, served by an elevator and two stairways. The third floor (penthouse level) with its magnificent vistas of beach and mountains is self contained and designed for use of top management and important clients.
1970 - Westminster Presbyterian Church - Port Hueneme, CA
Among the primary reasons for designing the sanctuary as shown was the client’s challenge: “Our plan should seat the congregation around an easily accessible communion table.” The seating capacity of the sanctuary is approximately 365, including the choir which is located at the rear, above the narthex (main entrance). Contrary to the traditional approach, no seat on the main floor is further than 50 feet from the pulpit. Acoustics have been studied to allow each person to clearly hear music as well as the speaking voice. Materials were selected at the suggestion of the client to create a warm, natural building. Rough cut stone, laminated wood arches, resawn redwood trim and quarry tile floors provide an effective environment for worship. Future administration building to the right of the sanctuary will enclose the central court and repeat the materials of the main structure.
1974 - Clyde P. Fisher Science Hall California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo, CA
The three story, reinforced concrete structure encloses nearly 76,000 square feet of floor area. The construction cost of this project was nearly eighteen percent lower than the project budget. Contributing to the reduction in cost are the basic forms, the directness of the construction system and the centralized utility core. Floor and roof construction includes concrete planks, which are precast and prestressed. These span between interior corridor and exterior poured-in-place walls. For ease of maintenance, as well as economy, all heating and ventilating ductwork, and all electrical and plumbing piping, are exposed in the laboratory ceilings. The building is essentially a teaching facility, comprised of lecture classrooms, laboratories, faculty offices, a dean’s complex, a department head’s complex, a museum and other related support spaces. It is connected to the existing Science North building with a bridge at the second floor.
1982 - Raytheon Company Industrial Complex - Goleta, CA
For a period of fifteen years, Kruger Bensen Ziemer has been designing buildings for Raytheon Company, Electromagnetic Systems Division, at their site in Goleta. The total floor area of these buildings is in excess of 200,000 square feet. The two most recent structures are Buildings No. 4 and 5, located on the north portion of the complex. Both of these buildings utilize tilt-up concrete walls, glulam roof beams and a panelized roof structure. Building No. 4 is a light electronics manufacturing facility, providing space for 350 to 400 employees. Building No. 5, immediately to the east of Building No. 4, was constructed for storage, shipping and receiving of large shipboard countermeasures systems. It houses from 150 to 200 employees in 74,000 square feet.
STEVE E. DOWTY, AIA - Principal Architect
Pictured here, Steve poses next to one of the “irricades” on Anapamu Street.
Steve is also vice president of the Pearl Chase Society, named for the Santa Barbara community activist and prominent crusader for historic preservation and conservation.
The group donated $14,560 in October 2014 to Santa Barbara’s Parks & Recreation Department for the purchase of 56 devices that will help consistently water the historic Italian Stonepines.
The devices are filled with 125 gallons of water which is released through a soaker hose and into the ground surrounding the pines.
They’ll stay in place until the drought declaration is lifted and will be maintained by city forestry staff.
See full article here
Design is fundamentally a creative process.
Every project design is unique and variable, though the process by which it is created can be diagrammed by a feedback loop. KBZ facilitates communication between the design team members and develops the documentation to make their ideas become reality. We start with the State Education Code (Title V) Standards for School Facilities:
1. Evolves from Education program
2. Master-planned for maximum enrollment
3. Located on a site meeting section 14010
4. Designed for comfort and work efficiency
5. Designed to require a practical minimum maintenance
6. Designed per building code
7. Designed and engineered with flexibility to accommodate future needs
KBZ’s goal is always to exceed the standards.
We work with stakeholders to determine all of their needs through exchanges of information; face-to-face meetings, workshops, design presentations during all phases of design; programming through construction documents. We fill what we believe are gaps in the design review process, which usually exempt public education projects from the local planning, architectural design board and local building department reviews. We take very seriously the project’s potential impacts on the schools neighbors and the community at large. We hold voluntary community meetings for the review of our designs. They must meet the standard of consensus approval.
In December 1959, Kenneth Kruger opened his Architecture practice at 3710 State Street, Santa Barbara. A few months later, Don Bensen joined Ken and the firm Kruger & Bensen Architects was formed.
During the next few years, the firm grew and it was necessary to move to larger quarters at 1323 ½ State Street.
In 1965, Don Ziemer became the third partner and the firm name was changed to Kruger Bensen Ziemer Architects.
Soon after this, the decision was made to move into the presently occupied office at 30 West Arrellaga Street.
In 1974, growth required adding the "Annex" at 1614 Chapala Street and the firm was incorporated in July of 1981.
Search Dog Foundation - Santa Paula, CA
KBZ master-planned the National Training Center on the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s 175 acre site in rural Wheeler Canyon, Ventura County.
KBZ first built project was an entrance park featuring; show grounds, entrance gates, amphitheater and the Canine Memorial Wall. We designed the wall in cast-in-place concrete and sandstone. The memorial includes custom etched- limestone plaques with the names and images of search dogs that have passed on. The project opened on September 11, 2011, ten years from the date of the World Trade Center attack. A ceremony at the wall honored search dog handlers, present at the event, who were deployed to Ground Zero.
The NDSDF mission is to “strengthen disaster response in America by recruiting rescued dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters”.
For more info go to www.searchdogfoundation.org and see video links, the SDF Story.
Antelope Valley College - Lancaster, CA
The colorful faces of 7-foot-tall monumental letters of the Antelope Valley College provide a new landmark entry experience into the Campus. This icon is part of the new identity Antelope Valley Community College District has forged through the completion of Measure R’s enhancement and modernization projects.
The three monumental letters are designed to appeal to a multicultural audience that includes the residents of the Antelope Valley and the students, faculty and visitors who enter the Campus each day. Strategically placed at the entrance to the Campus and visible from the city’s busiest streets, these 7-foot-high "A-V-C" letters increase Campus visibility and reinforce the College’s place within the community.
The project consists of three equally spaced letters that gently increase in elevation along the main student entry/drop-off area; the internal Light Emitting Diode (LED) installation dramatically changes the letters’ daytime appearance through the use of computerized lighting effects.
See full article here
Santa Barbara Unified School District-Santa Barbara, CA
After numerous Master Site Plan studies, it became apparent that the ideal location for the Library would be where the temporary Library was located. It was decided to relocate the temporary Library elsewhere on campus and then build the new Library. The location was at the center of activity, with permanent classrooms to the north and portable classrooms to the south. The new facility encloses 6,000 square feet and has been designed with a distinctive low profile, so as not to obstruct ocean views from the classrooms above. The Reading Room accommodates 15,000 volumes, seats 36 students and has an accessory area with 8 computer stations. Full audio/visual capability is integrated in both the Reading Room and the Classroom. A Storytelling area arranged in a semi-circle is located off the northeast corner of the Reading Room. All building materials were selected on the basis of very low maintenance, energy efficiency and sustainability. Floors, walls and roof systems have been constructed out of recycled steel and polished natural concrete; eliminating any possibility of mold, fungus or dry rot.