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Lutah's Architectural Beauty Brought to Fruition on Screen- SBIFF

Film Festival Lutah


Lutah Maria Riggs, a phenomenal architect, drawing on the natural beauty of Santa Barbara, her familiar environs, was an iconic woman, a true trailblazer, way ahead of her times. The film, "Lutah, A Passion for Architecture; A Life in Design" premiered at the SBIFF '14, showing how this feminist artist/dreamer was driven to achieve success, from a very young age. She paved the path to unchartered waters, encountered obstacles along the way, yet kept her passion, integrity, and ambition intact in this male dominated industry. Much like the documentary film, "My Architect," whose lead character also faced adversity, Lutah did as well; one of her professors stated, "this is a man's world... how can you dare to conquer it?" This question was the catalyst to set her off, on a quest, to prove herself, and to prove others wrong.

Lutah did indeed, with a fierce spirit, creative passion, and commitment to detail. It is quite a challenge to separate her exquisite architecture designs from her free spirit personality. As the film reveals, Lutah is a creative woman, which comes through and shines in her architectural beauty. She created magnificent homes, temples, and buildings still standing today. Much like Frank Lloyd Wright, these buildings and monuments are her legacy. Her transcendent, optimistic philosophy of life, and her innate connection to the earth and nature, infused her architecture and landscape creations, so that many of her homes and buildings seemed like intimate shrines and spiritual temples to those that dwelled within. The highlight of the film was the showcasing of her designing the historic Lobero Theatre, and the very venue where the screening took place, creating a surreal, mystical viewing experience to all in attendance. Highest accolades are in order for writer/director Kum-Kum Bhavnani, and director of photography Ryan Pettey, as every image we see onscreen is more breathtaking than the next. With original archives and historical footage, we see how this remarkable woman overcame obstacles, maintained her independence, and never sacrificed on who she was.

Oscar Wilde once said, "Be yourself, since everyone else is taken." Lutah Maria Riggs abided by this sentiment, opening the doors and paving the way for future generations of women, the world over.