Arcadia Studio wins awards for landscape architecture

Photo contributed Arcadia Studio’s landscape work at Presqu’ile Winery, shown here, won the Honorary Award for Commercial Design at the ASLA Southern California Quality of Life Design Awards.

An exterior project at Presqu’ile Winery wins a commercial design award

Staff report

Arcadia Studio, celebrating 20 years of excellence in landscape architecture, won three awards at the ASLA Southern California Quality of Life Design Awards on September 30, taking first honor in both residential and commercial categories and an award of merit for historic renovation.

One of the awards was for Arcadia’s work at the Presqu’ile Winery in the Santa Maria Valley, which earned the studio the Honorary Award for Commercial Design.

Laurie Roman and Puck Erickson (Los Olivos), two senior landscape architects, designed the 200-acre site. After Hurricane Katrina and the loss of a beloved family property, a Louisiana family pursued their dream of operating a world-class winery.

The site serves as a working cellar, an event and tasting destination, as well as a private residence. Presqu’ile’s public and private spaces have been designed to be filled with an ever-changing variety of food and sound; local musicians and world class touring groups were all welcome.

An amphitheater, set up on the hillside with concrete plank walls and lawned terraces, welcomes visitors throughout the year and children quickly recognize the space as a place to test their agility. The game, whether it be adult games like pétanque, or free exploration on the paths leading to the organic garden, is always welcome at Presqu’ile.

“We are honored to accept this award in memory of Laurie Romano, a partner of the firm, who passed away a year ago,” said the firm.

The company also won the Residential Design Honorary Award for its work on the Monastery, a private residence in Montecito overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Derrik Eichelberger, president of Arcadia Studio, designed the landscape for the house, planted with majestic trees and exotic but wild plants around the edges, originally occupied by conductor Leopold Stokowski.

For many years it was the refuge of Stokowski and his lover Greta Garbo. Later, other celebrities made the house their private refuge. During the 1940s, Lockwood of Forest Jr. was hired by Stokowski to create a garden in the lower part of the site, which featured a simple oval lawn framed by a low hedge and anchored by six ancient olive trees.

In 2004, plans began to replace the now dilapidated house with a modern residence designed in steel and glass. Eichelberger’s design embraces this aesthetic without diminishing the historic nature of the garden or the rich character of the landscape. The resulting design connects the site together, embracing the existing landscape and connecting historic elements.

Arcadia Studio’s third prize, the Merit Award for Historic Renovation, went to his work at the Lotusland Japanese Garden in Montecito

Eichelberger and his partner and senior landscape architect Kalie Grubb collaborated with Paul Comstock Landscape Architecture to breathe new life into the centerpiece of the non-profit Gana Walska Botanical Garden, open to the public for tours and education.

Although popular, the Japanese Garden suffered from serious maintenance issues, such as a clay-bottomed pond with outdated mechanical systems and difficult landscaping limiting accessibility.

The redesign incorporated a new system of accessible paths through the garden, a state-of-the-art koi pond, waterfall and stream, as well as a new Lotus viewing platform that Walska envisioned in the original design but never realized. A number of new Japanese-inspired items were designed and built, including a pavilion, bridges, and a Torii gate.

Arcadia Studios is a landscape architect firm with offices located in Santa Barbara and Los Olivos. For more information, visit

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