Famed Architect Josh Blumer Gets Creative With Sustainable Design

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By Lucy Wang
Inspired by creative discussion and sustainability, Santa Barbara–based Josh Blumer has built his reputation on crafting forward-thinking architecture with lasting positive impact.

Thought-provoking design and a passion for adaptive reuse are at the heart of architect Josh Blumer’s multi-disciplinary approach to architecture—a hands-on design process that’s earned him accolades and the opportunity to work on a wide range of project typologies. 

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Josh Blumer is one of our judges for the Best of Design 2018 Awards. Be sure to cast your vote—community voting is open from November 1-26.

Together with architect Clay Aurell, Josh co-founded AB Design Studio in 2005 and has shaped the firm’s in-house architectural, interior design, and urban planning services on everything from urban revitalization projects to high-end residences, such as the Shipping Container Residence—a sustainable home comprising five upcycled containers that was recently featured in the pages of Dwell.

In addition to his architectural accomplishments, Josh also serves as a mentor, not only at his firm, but also at California Polytechnic State University where he is a guest lecturer and at various events and panel discussions. He is currently an advisory board member at Santa Barbara High School’s Visual Arts & Design Academy and a board member at the LEED Gold-certified MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation, one of the many award-winning projects completed by AB Design Studio.

As an extension of his lifelong work of championing innovative design, Josh has also come on board to serve as a judge for Dwell’s first-ever Best of Design Awards. Scroll on to see a sampling of his work.

Shipping Container Residence

Recently featured in the pages of Dwell, this contemporary home is built from five reclaimed shipping containers and is set into a lush Santa Barbara hillside.

Recently featured in the pages of Dwell, this contemporary home is built from five reclaimed shipping containers and is set into a lush Santa Barbara hillside.

The ground floor features an open floor plan with combined living spaces and a centrally placed kitchen.

The ground floor features an open floor plan with combined living spaces and a centrally placed kitchen.

Oliver’s Restaurant

Formerly an aging dive bar, this acclaimed restaurant in Montecito, California, was transformed by AB Design Studio into an inviting and high-end eatery with a 20-foot-long custom accordion-style door system.

Formerly an aging dive bar, this acclaimed restaurant in Montecito, California, was transformed by AB Design Studio into an inviting and high-end eatery with a 20-foot-long custom accordion-style door system.

Shaded by canopy trees, the expanded patio offers outdoor dining and creates curb appeal for the restaurant’s corner location.

Shaded by canopy trees, the expanded patio offers outdoor dining and creates curb appeal for the restaurant’s corner location.

To me, good design can be summed up in one statement: beautiful, authentic problem-solving. Good design will always lead you toward honesty and authenticity. Good design solves problems and creates possibility. Elegant and authentic problem-solving inevitably creates intrinsic beauty.

—Josh Blumer 

MOXI, The Wolf Museum of Exploration + Innovation

Envisioned as a "modern-day, inhabitable sand castle," MOXI sports a playful and curvaceous appearance with a Spanish-style exterior.

Envisioned as a "modern-day, inhabitable sand castle," MOXI sports a playful and curvaceous appearance with a Spanish-style exterior.

MOXI is the first LEED Gold-certified museum in Santa Barbara.

MOXI is the first LEED Gold-certified museum in Santa Barbara.


Forms and Surfaces

AB Design Studio transformed a warehouse into the headquarters of Forms + Surfaces in Carpinteria, California.

AB Design Studio transformed a warehouse into the headquarters of Forms + Surfaces in Carpinteria, California.

An 80-foot-long etched glass wall with vertical striations extends along a central corridor, dividing the open areas from the more contained office spaces.

An 80-foot-long etched glass wall with vertical striations extends along a central corridor, dividing the open areas from the more contained office spaces.

Modern Beach House

Designed to take full advantage of scenic beach views, this 3,500-square-foot residence on Miramar Beach in Montecito, California, features south-facing walls of glass that blur the line between indoors and out.

Designed to take full advantage of scenic beach views, this 3,500-square-foot residence on Miramar Beach in Montecito, California, features south-facing walls of glass that blur the line between indoors and out.

Passive cooling strategies were incorporated, such as opposing clerestory windows, solar shading, a ventilation system that draws heat from the lower floors, and a vegetative roof that offsets heat gain.

Passive cooling strategies were incorporated, such as opposing clerestory windows, solar shading, a ventilation system that draws heat from the lower floors, and a vegetative roof that offsets heat gain.

Learn more about AB Design Studio.