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American Institute of Architects Announces Top Two Firm of the Year Recipients RATCLIFF and Morphosis Architectural Firms Take Top Honors - January 8, 2005


The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC) announces the 2005 recipients of the Firm of the Year Award, the most significant honor awarded to a firm by the AIACC. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in architectural design as expressed in a body of work produced by a California architectural firm for a period of 10 years or more. In addition, this award recognizes firms who have consistently produced distinguished architecture and have contributed to the advancement of the profession in areas of design, research, planning, technology, preservation and innovation. This is the first time in AIACC’s history that there have been two Firm of the Year recipients. The Firm of the Year Award was announced to the RATCLIFF and Morphosis architectural firms at the AIACC’s 23rd Annual Awards Presentation.


“RATCLIFF and Morphosis exemplify the potential architecture has for improving the built environment. Both firms offer their designers the opportunity to grow professionally through collaboration with clients and colleagues,” said the AIACC Awards Jury.


The RATCLIFF firm has gained the trust of its clients by providing strategic planning that moves beyond today’s problems and provides a framework for resolving future challenges.  Seeking to enter projects at the consulting stage, RATCLIFF leads clients in exploration of all available options in the building decision-making process.


Founded in 1906 by Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr., AIA, in Berkeley, CA, RATCLIFF has shown the ability to survive two World Wars, the Great Depression, and economic booms and busts. With Christopher (Kit) Ratcliff, AIA, as CEO, RATCLIFF remains a leader in the architectural community today. The firm’s culture energizes the individual designer to contribute to a team effort and is dedicated to improving the built environment through design excellence and a sincere interest in helping others. RATCLIFF’s legacy creates a social contract with the community to deliver thoughtful solutions rooted in the firm’s values. “Buildings should grow old gracefully,” stated Walter Ratcliff.


Some of RATCLIFF’S accomplishments include: Mills College Master Plan and Design, Oakland, CA (recipient of one of the AIA’s earliest national design awards); American Trust/Chamber of Commerce/Wells Fargo Building, Berkeley, CA; Metropolitan Oakland International Airport Terminal 2, Oakland, CA; Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Fresno, CA; and the Life Sciences Building, University of California, Berkeley, CA. The firm has recorded more than 90 national, state and local design awards in the past 40 years. Headquartered in Emeryville, CA, RATCLIFF employs 70 design professionals and is managed by eight principals.


The Awards Jury stated, “RATCLIFF’s commitment to their employees is great, and they offer a wide range of building types, such as schools, medical facilities and civic structures, with three generations of the family involved in architecture. RATCLIFF’s optimism is infectious.”