view all images ( of 2 shown)

Female, US, born 1896-10-31, died 1984-03-08

Associated with the firms network

Horning and Riggs, Architects; Riggs and Shaw, Architects; Riggs, Lutah Maria, Architect; Smith, George Washington, Architect; Taylor, Ralph D., Architect

Professional History


Draftswoman and Designer, Ralph D. Taylor, Architect, Susanville, CA, 3 months in 1920.

Draftswoman, George Washington Smith, Architect, Santa Barbara, CA, 1921-1930.

Partner, Horning and Riggs, Architects, Santa Barbara, CA, 1930-1931.

Principal, Lutah Maria Riggs, Architect, Santa Barbara, CA, 1931-1942.

Partner, Riggs and Shaw, Architects, Santa Barbara, CA, 1946-1950.

Principal, Lutah Maria Riggs, Architect, Santa Barbara, CA, 1951-c.1980; in 1970, Riggs's office was located at 280 Middle Road, Santa Barbara, CA.

Professional Service

Riggs joined the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Santa Barbara Chapter, in 1936; in 1962, Riggs was a Registered Architect in CA; Member and Commissioner, California State Board of Architectural Examiners;

Professional Awards

Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1960, cited for excellence in design and service to the profession; she was the first California woman to be named a Fellow. Riggs was named Los Angeles Times's Woman of the Year, 1967, the first architect to be so named;


Archival documents on Lutah Maria Riggs housed at the Architecture and Design Collection of the University Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).



Certificate, San Barbara Junior College, Santa Barbara, CA, 1917; A.B., Architecture, University of California, Berkeley, 1919; graduate architectural coursework, University of California, Berkeley, 1919-1920;

College Awards

First Prize, Santa Barbara Daily News, First Annual Competition Scholarship Prize, 1917-1918;



Riggs was born in Toledo, OH, and died in Montecito, CA, at the age of 87;


Riggs never married;

Biographical Notes

Riggs was hired on a temporary several-week basis c. 1920 by the Santa Barbara, CA, architect, George Washington Smith; according to landscape architecture historian, David Streatfield, Smith was hesitant to hire a woman, but her drafting work proved so good that he hired her permanently. She became somthing of a surrogate daughter for Smith and his wife. The Smiths became so fond of Riggs that they loaned her money and traveled with her. (Conversation with Prof. David Streatfield, University of Washington, Seattle, 01/19/2007.)

The Los Angeles Times reported in late 08/1930: "Lutah M. Riggs, architect, has filed suit for $200 against the estate of Baron Maximiian von Romberg as her fee for designing his Montecito home. The residence occupied by the Baron's widow, Emily von Romberg, and Adolph B. Spreckels Jr., San Francisco sugar heir, who were married aa fortnight ago." (See "Architect Sues Von Romberg Estate," Los Angeles Times, 08/30/1939, pt. A, p. 13.)

SSN: 545-26-8762;

Associated Locations

  • Montecito, CA (Architect's Death)
    Montecito, CA

    OpenStreetMap (new tab)
    Google Map (new tab)
    click to view google map

  • Toledo, OH (Architect's Birth)
    Toledo, OH

    OpenStreetMap (new tab)
    Google Map (new tab)
    click to view google map

PCAD id: 752