Founders Clay Aurell, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, and Josh Blumer, AIA, embark on designs that reflect the client, context, history, and energy of a space—effectively translating ideas into reality through innovative solutions.
In 2005, what began as a conversation between two architects about making a difference in the world through architecture organically evolved into a lasting partnership. Instantly finding inspiration through collaboration enabled founders Clay Aurell and Josh Blumer to rise above any challenge with each other’s unwavering support. Together, Clay and Josh bring more than 20 years of passion, experience, and creativity to explorative designs that reflect client, context, and history.
Today, their collaborative partnership drives AB design studio forward. By placing value on powerful listening and trust, Clay and Josh champion one another to push the boundaries of what is possible for future generations. This participatory model invites the project team—including clients, stakeholders, and staff—to join in dialogue, allowing all of them to dream bigger, perform better, and dare greater. When collaborating with the studio, clients gain direct access to the partners’ invaluable expertise and creative insight, along with an extended network of local agencies, decision makers, consultants, and builders to explore a project’s full potential.
Beyond the practice, Clay and Josh strive to make a global impact as advocates for bettering the communities around them and their projects. From designing surf resorts in Costa Rica to master plans in Michigan, they take care in working with local councils, organizations, and leaders to create ecosystems that benefit the environment.
Clay Aurell is the “ultimate strategist,” a placemaker who combines the skills of an architect, developer, planning consultant, real estate professional, and politician to formulate the creative vision for AB design studio’s projects. Through his leadership and forward-thinking design, he has expanded the scope of possibilities in Santa Barbara and beyond.
Regarded as a thought leader within the design community, Clay’s early architectural influence was shaped by visits to construction sites with his father, when he was inspired as a teen to make an impact on the world through design. He brings his most assiduous architectural insights to even the simplest of design challenges, and considers architecture, interior design, and planning as inseparable extensions of himself.
Clay is a client advocate who understands the needs of a developer or homeowner through a participatory process by actively integrating their ideas, protecting their assets, and ultimately, exceeding their expectations. From boutique hotels and wineries to LEED-certified museums and mixed-use developments, each of Clay’s structures are inspired by a distinct contextual awareness that supports community with the future in mind.
Josh Blumer is a problem solver, mentor, and architect who has been a catalyst and creative force for a transformative, inspirational design process at AB design studio. Inspired by early undergraduate experiences shaped by meaningful architectural dialogue, Josh cites the opportunity and ability to conceptualize societally effective ideas as a motive to pursue his craft.
As a thought-provoking design leader, Josh champions an open, collaborative studio that sparks spirited debate and critique among a team of architects, designers, and key stakeholders at all stages. With a strong graphic background and deep investment into digital design and technology, Josh’s landmark projects pursue interdependence by striking a balance between the natural environment and the built world.
By maintaining a provocative approach to thoughtful design, Josh brings valuable experience and guidance in project management and construction to a range of high-end residences, early-childhood development centers, and commercial tenant improvements.