Arcadia Studio has been unique from its beginning. When founded in 2001, business partnerships formed by multiple landscape architects were unheard of in Santa Barbara County. Twelve years later, Arcadia Studio, a partnership between four leading landscape architects – Derrik Eichelberger, Laurie Romano, Carol Puck Erickson, and Bob Cunningham – continues what is now a history of award-winning residential and commercial design.
Arcadia Studio has successfully completed work on over 1,200 projects, ranging in size from small residential gardens to large corporate campuses. Their work has been featured in Architectural Digest, Sunset, Phoenix Home and Garden, Pacific Horticulture as well as several books such as ‘Reimagining the California Lawn.’
The Principals, over their careers, have earned over eighty awards for design. Arcadia Studio currently has a staff of eleven, seven of whom are registered landscape architects. “Before Arcadia Studio, I had been operating my own firm while Puck and Derrik had for many years been employed in small firms,” said Bob Cunningham, who specializes in commercial design, perhaps most notably the redesign of lower State Street, for which he won the coveted Lockwood de Forest Award.
“They wanted the opportunity to lead on their own. We had all worked together on various projects and realized we had the compatibility necessary to collaborate successfully. No other office in our area had succeeded with more than one landscape architect as the firm leader, but the three of us felt that our combined experience and our compatibility as individuals would enable us to develop designs of a quality that might exceed what any one of us could achieve on our own,”
This goal of raising the bar on the quality of design could not be realized were it not for the individual strengths of the partners. Derrik Eichelberger, who was an historian before earning an MA in landscape architecture, has a wide range of design experience, but specializes in residential and estate design, with a particular interest in historic renovation and preservation. His understanding of the West and passion for the historic gardens of Southern California has proved a perfect fit for designing landscapes in Montecito. He likes to say that “great gardens are living art–always surprising, always inspiring”.
Carol Puck Erickson, a resident of Los Olivos, has designed and overseen the development of many beautiful residences and ranches in the Santa Ynez Valley. Puck, who also has an extensive portfolio of residences and arid gardens in Arizona, was initially educated in the visual arts, which still informs her work. She is an avid bi-coastal hiker and amateur botanist who is intrigued by the relationships between the cultural and agrarian landscapes and the native environment. Puck is also committed to the therapeutic value of gardens, as a founding member of the Santa Ynez Valley Botanic Garden and pro bono consultant for many school and community gardens.
A further goal of the studio is to create a firm that can outlast the careers of its founders by providing a place for younger designers to grow, flourish and eventually lead. Laurie Romano, who became a partner of the firm in 2008, is this goal in practice.
Laurie specializes in high end residential, commercial, and winery design. “Contemporary gardens are my passion, and minimalism is the nature of my approach to design,” she said. “I’d worked at the firm for 6 years and understood the value of the partnership. Our other designers add even more breadth and depth to the team nature of our approach to design. While one person may clearly lead a project, it is the natural function of our firm to bounce ideas off one another and ask for opinions,” Laurie explains.
Whether the collaboration is explicit or casual, the fact that it is easily available for the team to draw upon their collective passion makes Arcadia Studio a rich environment to foster creative solutions and beautiful landscape architecture.
ARCADIA STUDIO LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
Derrik Eichelberger, Laurie Romano, Carol Puck Erickson, Bob Cunningham
202 E. Cota Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Visit the website: www.arcadiastudio.com