A new book and exhibition on the architecture of William Wurster, the co-founder, in 1959, of the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley, serves as a reminder of the desirability of the homes he designed. And Wurster homes do still come up for sale in Berkeley and the Bay Area with some regularity, so becoming an owner of one is not outside the bounds of possibility.
In fact, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone lived in a William Wurster designed home in Berkeley — until he sold it in September 2009 for $550,000, the same price he paid for it in 2006.
As one would expect, Stone tweeted the news that he was putting his home on the market, writing to his then 980,000 followers (now 1.7 million): “We loved our Wurster cottage in Berkeley but it’s time to move – if you’re into architecture, check it out.”
The cottage at 1409 Greenwood Terrace was designed by Wurster as a rental unit and garage to accompany his home, which still stands next door. In fact, the whole neighborhood bears Wurster’s stamp: across the street is Greenwood Common, a private enclave of mid-century modern homes masterminded by Wurster and designed by eight noted architects.
Most Wurster homes are large and fetch far more than a mere half million. A two-bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home in Eureka Valley in San Francisco, with “huge views” of the City and Bay, a “dream kitchen”, two master suites and a private courtyard, as well as two-car parking, closed escrow at $1,875,000 in March 2010.
The latest Wurster home to sell in Berkeley was the 7-bedroom, 5.5 bathroom home configured as a duplex at 336 Panoramic Way. After going on the market in March 2010 for $1,850,000, it found a buyer three months later for $1,630,000.
Also in Berkeley, a lovely Wurster home at 210 Stonewall Road has changed hands three times in the past decade — most recently in April 2009 for $2.1 million.
“William Wurster’s Frames for Living” runs from September 30 to November 15, 2011, in the Wurster Hall Main Gallery at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The Houses of William Wurster: Frames for Living (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011)”, is by Caitlin Lempres Brostrom and Richard C. Peters, both on the faculty at UC Berkeley. The authors of the book, who also curated the exhibition, will sign books at Builders Booksource on Fourth Street on Thursday October 20th, from 7 to 9 pm.