Mark Kirkhart, Architect, AIA, NCARB

Santa Barbara / Los Angeles

Mark grew up in a home surrounded by design and construction; his mother was an artist and interior designer, his father a custom home-builder.  At a very young age he realized that architecture was his calling. Shortly after graduating from architecture school, he co-founded the company DESIGNWORKS, a design-build company that developed single- and multi-family residential projects throughout the Santa Barbara area for over a decade. That predecessor company evolved into DesignARC Inc. in 1988, becoming one of the largest full-service design firms in Santa Barbara, and winning numerous awards along the way. Shortly thereafter, he joined forces with Dion McCarthy, establishing the DesignARC Los Angeles brand in 1992.

As co-Director of Design alongside his Los Angeles partner, he has had primary responsibility for establishing and carrying out the firm’s design objectives, its business management and client relations.

Mark has acted as partner-in-charge or design partner for over thirty projects that have received awards for design excellence. The overall range of commissions include academic buildings, single- and multi-family residential works, commercial mixed-use and adaptive repurposing. Currently the firm is engaged in the development of a new, lake-front suburb that will be home to 150,000 residents outside the city of Chengdu, Szechuan Province, China, and high-density, transit-based, mixed-use residential communities throughout Southern California.

An avid cyclist and wine enthusiast, Mark also enjoys live music, at-home entertaining, and spending time with his family.


California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo,
College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Bachelor of Architecture

Professional Affiliates

American Institute of Architects, Member

Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, two-term Board Member

UCSB Environmental and Interior Design Extension Program, Advisory Board


California Polytechnic University SLO, Visiting Design Critic

University of Southern California, Visiting Design Critic

UCSB Environmental and Interior Design Extension Program, Guest Lecturer

Dwell on Design: Design in the Desert Forum, Guest Speaker