• Architecture is rooted in the site. Site studies involve analysis of sun, wind, neighborhood, natural topography and cultural attributes. We study the social and natural context of each project to create comfort and a lasting aesthetic experience for the client with minimal disturbance of the site.
  • Birdhouse and Light Fixture - Getting to know the site inspires us to make way for other inhabitants. This is a birdhouse that also hides path lighting.
  • Shaw Residence Entry - In this otherwise dry landscape, placing the entry on the northeast side of the house allows it to have a rich, green ground cover.
  • Kelton Avenue - Drought tolerant gardening is beautiful!
  • Native Grasses - Using native grass gives a different way to watch the seasons. This grass goes dormant in the early summer.
  • Shaw Residence Garage With Living Roof - A planted roof helps the building to harmonize with the site. It also helps maintain interior temperature and protect roof membranes from UV rays.


  • Shaw Residence - All the site and roof drainage collects at the virtual wetlands, creating habitat and preventing excessive storm run-off
  • Permeable Paving - Site run-off increases the flow of toxins into our rivers and streams, negatively affecting wild habitat. By using permeable paving that slows the run-off of site water, this impact can be greatly reduced. The use of living plants for courtyards and roofs also reduces urban heat sink that contributes to global warming.
  • River Ranch Cottage - We want design impact; we want a positive impact; but, we want to minimize the trauma a building has on the environment. One way to do this is to build small. This 1000 SF cottage has everything this couple needs for a happy life full of friends and comfortable entertaining. Bis isn't necessarily better.
  • Jobsite Recycle Bins - A huge amount of waste is usually created during construction and much of it can be recycled. We are always looking for new ways to reduce construction impact.


Materials are deeply personal. They are what we touch. We need to listen to our client's likes and dislikes, marrying those to an experience in durability, sustainability, and aesthetics.


Details are what make living in a home a joy close up. When you can delight in the way wood and plaster meet, or the shape of a scupper, you are having a good day.

  • Shaw Residence - A niche in a thermal wall with a backing of salvaged wood makes a great place for favorite things.
  • Shaw Residence - Driveway drain.
  • Shaw Residence (2, 3) - Columns made from Ponderosa Pine and Incense Cedar were picked up from the forest floor or purchased from a private forester thinning his trees.
  • Bird of Paradise - production sketch.
  • Anderle Remodel - This tile was designed by Julia Morgan, California\'s first woman architect. We selected the colors to incorporate her tile into our design of this bathroom.
  • A dragon weathervane.
  • Rail Detail - In this detail the handrail returns on the stair to become the support for the second flooring rail, creating a continuous line of wood.
  • A silk and wood screen to stand behind while dressing.
  • Shaw Residence Clerestory - The tree house has a clerestory facing southwest, allowing the afternoon sun to penetrate deep into the building.


The first step toward comfort is natural cooling, heating and ventilation. After that, the architect measures your habits and accommodates your lifestyle. After that, comfort takes on a meaning beyond what can be described here except maybe in the word home.

  • Baer Residence - Waking up to the trees . . .
  • Shaw Residence (2) - An office in the kitchen is a perfect place to check your e-mail while waiting for the pot to boil.
  • Shaw Residence - The sun is falling on the concrete floor that contains the radiant heating pipes. This warmth is then circulated throughout the house
  • Huybrechts Remodel - Natural light makes reading enjoyable.
  • Anderle Remodel - Custom cherry and maple cabinetry with handmade handles and custom designed light.
  • Urban Lot Fountain (2) - This side of an urban lot is turned into a nice view from the living room with this architect-designed fountain.

About Polly

Polly Osborne, FAIA, LEED AP

Polly Osborne's architectural career began in 1977 when she went to work for the Architectural firm of Ray Rector and Associates in Napa Valley. While working for Rector, she gained knowledge of adobe, earth-sheltered, and rammed earth, as well as conventional design and construction methods. Soon after, she earned her Master of Architecture at Southern California Institute of Architecture. As a student, her award-winning entries in the Cal Poly "Design Village" and Morcote Castle Competitions dealt specifically with site-specific architecture. After receiving her master's and Architectural license, Polly started Osborne and Associates in 1987. From 1992 to 1997 the firm was called Osborne Erickson Architects, when John Erickson joined the team. Later John left to pursue other activities. Currently, Polly is working with Dana Motley, a talented young designer from the great state of Kentucky. Polly is also a fine artist, working mainly in watercolor and ceramics.

Polly has been published in Sunset Magazine, USA Kitchen Trends, Western Interiors, House & Home, Designing with Spirituality, West Coast Rooms, Outdoor Rooms, the Monterey Herald and the LA Times Magazine. In 2002 Osborne Architects won the HomeBook Gold medal in furniture design, Silver medal in New Homes under 5000 SF and the Silver medal in Residential Remodeling. Polly has won awards for architectural design excellence, green building innovation, and historical restoration. Polly is a very active member of the Cheap Replica Watches AIA Committee on the Environment as well as a member of USGBC and the Society for Architectural Historians. She has lectured, been on advisory panels or guest critiqued at Southern California Institute of Architecture, Cal Poly Pomona, Build It Green, Southern California Gas Company Energy Center, Eco Expo, Occidental College, Los Angeles Green Building Conference, Altbuild, and the USGBC.

Polly Osborne is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA). Fellowship is an honor bestowed by the American Institute of Architects on architects who have made outstanding contributions to the profession through design excellence, contributions in the field of architectural education, or to the advancement of the profession. Becoming a FAIA is considered a great honor; fewer than 2 percent of all registered architects in the United States are elected to fellowship in the AIA.


A Nossa Casa, Maputo, Mozambique, 2009-present
University of Southern California, 2010
AIA Committee on the Environment, 1993-present
City of Los Angeles Green Team, 2010
U.S. Green Building Council Green Guide “Ask a Pro,” 2010-present
City of Santa Monica Civic Center Sustainable Design Charette, 1995
Los Angeles Environmental Building Conference, 1992


Altbuild Conference, Santa Monica, 2010
AIA COTE: “Beyond Prefab” Containers, Dirt & Other Affordable, Green Strategies forResidential Construction
Reencontro: A Nossa Casa—A community approach to caring for and empowering the children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic,
2010 Maputo, Mozambique
Los Angeles Bioneers, 2009
Guest lecturer: Environmental Swiss Replica Omega Watches For Sale  Movements Local to California and the Global Effects
San Fernando Valley Bioneers, 2009
Guest lecturer: Site Specific Architecture in California and Africa
Bioneers are innovators from all walks of life who examine living systems to learn how to
mimic nature in order to serve human ends without harming the web of life.
University of Calgary, 2009
Guest Lecturer, Environmental and Site Specific Architecture
AIA-Monterey Bay Sustainable Buildings Tour, 2009
Tree House
2008 AIA Monterey Bay Public Lecture
The Work of Will Shaw, FAIA
Monterey Environmental Building Expo, 2008
Site Specific Architecture and Green Building
Altbuild Conference, Santa Monica, 2008
Site Specific Architecture
Build it Green, Downey, CA, 2007
Green Design, two case studies
Build It Green Design Tour, South Bay, CA, 2007
Featured green buildings of the San Mateo County Area. The Taiji House was the most
visited house on this tour and was voted the “People’s Choice.”
Stanford University Sustainable Design Study, Menlo Park, CA, 2007
A field trip and lecture at the Taiji House for Stanford University students
“Our Town” Monterey Television, 2007
TV guest on the show “Our Town” discussing the elements of green design and examples on
the Monterey Peninsula
Society of Architectural Historians Tour, Monterey Peninsula, 2004
This tour featured significant Monterey Peninsula early-twentieth-century buildings of
George Washington Smith to the present. Examples of Polly’s work were included along with
such significant architects as Cesar Pelli and Charles Moore.
Eco-Expo, Los Angeles, CA, 1994
Panel on Site Specific Design
Los Angeles Environmental Building Conference, 1993
Event Chair and Moderator
Occidental College, Los Angeles,1992
Guest lecturer: Careers in Architecture
Sacramento State University, 1990
Guest Lecturer: “Site Specific Architecture”
Group Show: “Site Specific Architecture” at SSU Gallery



2009 AIACC Foundation Nathaniel Owings Award
For outstanding accomplishments in the preservation of nature in relation to the California
built environment
2009 AIA Monterey Bay Honor Award
Preston Way Residence
2009 AIA Monterey Bay Exemplary Sustainable Design Award
Preston Way Residence
2007 AIA Monterey Bay Citation Award
Taiji Residence
2000 AIA Monterey Bay Award for Design Excellence
Tree House (The jury also praised the project’s environmental sensitivity.


2011 Pacific Grove Heritage Society Heritage House Award
Gordon Residence
2008 Build it Green, South Bay Green Home Tour People’s Choice Award
Taiji Residence
2008 Sustainable San Mateo County Residential Award of Highest Achievement
Taiji Residence
2008 Green Building Award Single-Family Residence Winner
Taiji Residence
2002 The HomeBook Gold Medal in Furniture Design
Anderle Residence
2002 HomeBook Silver Medal in New Homes under 5,000 square feet
Tree House
2002 HomeBook Silver Medal in Residential Remodeling
Dowse Residence
1984 First prize, Morcote Castle Design SCI-ARC
Vico Morcote, Switzerland
1983 Vico Morcote “Excellence in Design”
1982 Cal-Poly Site Design Award First prize
Cal Poly Design Village



The Green Home, Sunset Publishing, 2010
Taiji Residence
Rubble with a Cause, Jonathan Dobre, 2003
Designing Dreams: The Los Angeles Home Book, Third Edition, 2002
Furniture, Tree House, Dowse Residence
Outdoor Rooms, Julie Taylor, 2001
Chemel Residence
Design with Spirituality, 2001
Anderele Residence
West Coast Rooms, Edie Cohen, 2000
Chemel Residence


Green Builder, May 2009
Taiji Residence
Western Interiors & Design, 2007
Furniture for Baer House
Kitchen Trends Volume 16, 2000
Poncher/Ogle Residence
Sunset Magazine, March 1996
Chemel Residence


Polly was interviewed for this talk radio program by Cindy Dole in October 2010

Member of The American Institute of Architects