Pete Ehlen, a native Santa Barbaran, is from a multi-generational design family. His father, a structural engineer, exposed him to architecture at an early age. and his grandmother was the first licensed female landscape architect west of the Mississippi. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1983 and is a registered architect in California.
Pete began his journey at age 13, drafting in his father’s structural engineering office. Upon college graduation, he returned to Santa Barbara to begin his career as a project manager at Grant Pedersen Phillips Architects, specializing in school, hospital and public projects. He became an associate partner at the firm and a licensed architect in 1987. From 1990 to 1996 Pete partnered with Brian Cearnal, to form Cearnal Ehlen Associates, Inc., where he was involved in hospitality, restaurant, medical, commercial and residential projects.
Pete struck out on his own in 1997, and in 2001, created East Beach Ventures to add real estate services for his clients. The firm has been involved with a wide variety of projects and this is what Pete enjoys most about his practice. He is presently involved with ambulatory surgical clinics locally and in the Bay Area, Roman Spa in Calistoga, commercial and residential projects for the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara and Westmont College, medical offices and private residential projects.
Pete’s community service work has included chairing the City of Santa Barbara Planning Commission and sitting on the City’s Historic Landmarks Commission and Architectural Board of Review, which has given him skill and experience at dealing with the regulatory and political aspects of architectural design. He has also been a board member for both the American Institute of Architects and Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara. He’s also very interested in green architecture and has created innovative designs that incorporate its precepts within his projects.
His interests include mentoring his three kids through college and their entry into the professional world, racing his motorcycle and dreaming about collecting cars.