Clay Aurell, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

Clay Aurell, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB

Santa Barbara, CA, US



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.



AB design studio, inc., Santa Barbara + Los Angeles, Principle Architect - Co-Founder

Clay is the Visionary of the Company. He brings Strategic solutions to complex issues and provides leadership for the direction of the company. As the Head of Business Development and Sales, Clay manages strategic relationships with local Agencies, key stakeholders, other CEOs and local business leaders to create and maintain a conversation for what's possible within our communities.

Clay is most likely to get on a plane and explore new opportunities in other parts of the Globe. He believes that Good Design is Good Business and helps connect great people doing great work in the world.

Jan 2005 - current

Donaldson + Partners, Santa Barbara, CA, US, Project Manager

Jun 2000 - Apr 2003

DesignARC, Santa Barbara, CA, US, Project Captain

May 1998 - Jun 2000


California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Pomona, CA, US, BArch, Architecture

The Bachelor of Architecture program taught Clay the value of exploration and looking for what's possible. It spawned a love of creativity that continues to reach beyond Architecture. Clay enjoys graphic design, photography, photo/graphic composition, Furniture Design and Fabrication and much more. This has helped build his company, AB design studio into a premier multi-disciplinary firm with no end to creativity.

Sep 1991 - Jun 1997


40 under 40, Award


Areas of Specialization