Male, born 1935

Associated with the firms network

State of California, Department of Public Works, Division of Architecture, Van der Ryn, Sim, State Architect; Van der Ryn, Sim, Architect

Professional History


State Architect, State of California, Sacramento, CA, 1976-1983. Van der Ryn was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (born 04/07/1938) during his first tenure as Governor. As noted on his own web site, " ...The theme of Sim’s career in design, teaching and research has been applying principles of physical and social ecology to architecture and environmental design. His regenerative design solutions create environments that are resilient to human needs, place, ecology and climate." (See Sim Van Der, "About Sim," accessed 05/30/2019.)

Director, State of California, Office of Appropriate Technology, Sacramento, CA;


Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley, (UCB), Berkeley, CA, c. 1966-1970.

Professor, University of California, Berkeley, (UCB), Berkeley, CA, c. 1966.

Professor Emeritus of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley, (UCB), Berkeley, CA, c. 2019.

Goff Chair of Innovative Architecture, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, 2001.

Professional Activities

Architectural Consultant, California State Office of Economic Opportunity, c. 1966; Van der Ryn worked with the Office of Economic Opportunity to develop "instant architecture," temporary communities for migratory workers in the state.

Van der Ryn was a Registered Architect in the States of CA and NM.

Certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

Founder, Farallones Institute, Occidental, CA,1975- . Van der Ryn wrote of the founding of the Farallones Institute: "David Donnelley was the cofounder of the School of Arts and Sciences, a fine private high school my daughter was attending. He had an eigthy-acre ranch near Occidental, a small town in western Sonoma County not far from the coast. It offered a diverse hilly landscape of redwoods, apple orchards and grazing land. I presented the prospectus for a Farallones Rural Center to him and he liked it." Van der Ryn needed to convince the Sonoma County Planning Department that his proposed institute would not be another crack-pot commune on the order of others that had raised controversy in the region. "I assured them that we were not another Morning Star [Ranch commune], but rather a nonprofit educational institute whose mission was to design, teach, and build a center that demonstrated more environmentally friendly designs for rural living, integrating shelter, food, energy, water and waste systems." (See Sim Van der Ryn, Design for Life the Architecture of Sim Van der Ryn, [Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2005,] p. 52.)

Founder, Ecological Design Institute (EDI).

Van der Ryn gave a lecture, "“Ecologically Designed Housing and Homes: Principles, Process, and Projects,” at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on 05/06/2004. (See Jessica Lyons, Monterey County, "Architect Sim Van der Ryn, pioneer of sustainable building, will speak at Aquarium," published 05/06/2004, accessed 05/30/2019.)

Professional Awards

Recipient, Guggenheim Fellowship, 1971.

Recipient, American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC), Commendation for Excellence in Technology, 1981.

Recipient, AIACC, Nathaniel Owings Award, 1996.

Recipient, Rockefeller Scholar in Residence, Bellagio, Italy, 1997 and 2012.

Fellowship, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Chicago, iL, 1997.

President's Award for Planning, American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA Colorado Chapter) for the Arbolera de Vida Master Plan, Albuquerque, NM, 1997.



B.Arch., University of Michigan (U of M), Ann Arbor, MI, 1957.



Van der Ryn left Holland in 1939, living first in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens, NY, and then moved to Great Neck, NY, also on Long Island.

Van der Ryn left New York for Ann Arbor, MI, to attend the University of Michigan.

The architect settled in CA by the early 1960s, when he began work as tenure-track faculty at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB).

While working as the State Architect of CA, he lived at 2510 U Street in Sacramento, CA. (See Sacramento, California, City Directory, 1977, p. 958.)

He lived at Waldo Point Harbor, Sausalito, CA, in 1999-2000.

PCAD id: 2558