Sustaining Designers: Ratcliff’s 100-Year Imprint on Society’s Architecture

Feb. 27, 2007

Emeryville, CA /PRNewswire/ – A new book, The Architecture of Ratcliff, chronicles the legacy of Ratcliff, the oldest architectural firm in the San Francisco Bay area. Ratcliff turned 100 in 2006 and has made a significant imprint on West Coast design with five buildings on the National Register of Historic Buildings and more than two dozen additional landmark structures.

"The Architecture of Ratcliff, plain and simple, is a great read. It is the story of three generations of architects' engagement in the major American architectural movements over the past century," says Harrison Fraker, FAIA, Dean of the College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley.

Looking to the future, the firm is addressing the most daunting challenge to the architectural industry: global climate change. Ratcliff created and provides a free Web site ( that promotes sustainable design. Examples of the firm's environmentally-sensitive buildings include Blue Oak School in Napa, CA, which incorporates a geothermal heating and cooling system in a renovated 1909 structure, and Berkeley City College, which will be the City of Berkeley's first sustainable building as certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

"The firm's history provides a fascinating study of innovation along a path of exploration, discovery, and renewal," says Woodruff Minor, author of The Architecture of Ratcliff. "In its commitment to sustainability, Ratcliff continues to build the future on the foundation of the past."

Headquartered in Emeryville, CA, Ratcliff is the recipient of the prestigious 2005 Firm of the Year Award from the California Council of the American Institute of Architects.

"Ratcliff is a reminder that our daily professional struggles can add up to something remarkable. This book is a 100-year proof," adds Fraker.

The Architecture of Ratcliff is generously photographed and extensively researched, offering readers a story of the development of the San Francisco Bay area since the great earthquake of 1906. The 224-page book is now available in at the Museum of Modern Art Store, Builders Booksource, DeYoung Museum and other bookstores. It will also be available for online purchase at
Source: Ratcliff (

For more information, contact Liz O'Hara, (510) 899-6400, or [email protected], or Mary Tressel, (925) 798-9421, [email protected], both of Ratcliff.

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