Category Archives: Architecture
A fresh twist on an artfully crafted contemporary home by a Berkeley architecture firm, and a sensitive updating of a historically significant home in our city by another Berkeley architect known for his dramatic modern designs: the result is two stunning homes that are open to the public, with four others, on Saturday, August 10, as part of the American Institute of Architects’ East Bay Home Tour.
It’s the third East Bay tour for the AIA and the theme this year is “Listening to the Past, Designing for the Present.” The six homes on show — one in Berkeley, three in Oakland and two in Lafayette – highlight historic remodels, airy modern houses, sustainable ideas and clever solutions.
Berkeley firm Leger-Wanaselja Architecture were asked to update a home they had built in the hills after the 1991 Oakland firestorm, when it was bought by a new owner who had previously lived in a downtown loft. The architects used exposed wood, steel and concrete give the house a raw, loft-like feel, and created a genuine indoor-outdoor setting through, among other things, a wall of roll-up garage doors. The home, referred to as the Roll-Up House, also has a host of eco-conscious aspects. … Continue reading »
“Shingle Style: Living in San Francisco’s Brown Shingles,” (Rizzoli, 2013), is a new book by Bay Area architects Lucia Howard and David Weingarten, with photographs by David Duncan Livingston. The book showcases 20 Bay Area homes that epitomize the classic brown shingle style and, despite its title, 12 of those homes are in Berkeley.
On Thursday, Aug. 8 at 7 p.m., Howard will host an illustrated lecture on Berkeley’s brown shingle homes at the Anna Head Alumnae Hall at 2537 Haste St., in collaboration with the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.
Berkeleyside caught up with Lucia Howard to ask her about the book and the beautiful homes it features.
A good number of the homes you feature in your book are in Berkeley. What was it about Berkeley that led to so many brown shingles being built here?
Berkeley was the epicenter of brown shingle architecture. The town’s vibrant mix of professors, writers, artists and free-thinkers drawn together around the University, many of whom pursued what Charles Keeler termed “The Artistic Life,” provided ideal clients for these houses. Built before the silver screen came along to define entertainment, brown shingles were a species of “party house,” designed for people to gather for performances, readings, worship, and events of many sorts. … Continue reading »
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan joined Safeway officials and neighborhood activists Monday to celebrate the official groundbreaking for a new store at the intersection of College and Claremont avenues.
After a few hellos and speeches, everyone got down to the main event: watching two huge bulldozers start to tear down the 49-year-old structure.
“Right now we have a store to knock down so let’s get some sledgehammers and get going,” Todd Paradis, Safeway’s real estate manager, said to the two dozen people assembled. … Continue reading »
After spending almost a week sleeping in tents pitched on the steps of the Main Post Office on Allston Way, federal authorities have asked protesters to leave.
A group of postal inspectors and postal police met with protesters Friday and asked them to disperse, according to the Contra Costa Times. But those camping out said they have no intention of leaving. In fact, they are settled in, even bringing in a wide screen to entertain themselves at night.
The USPS plans to sell the historic building at 2000 Allston Way and open a smaller facility somewhere else downtown. The Berkeley City Council, many members of the Legislature, and preservationists are trying to block the sale. … Continue reading »
After a group of 100 people rallied Saturday to protest the federal government’s plans to sell Berkeley’s main post office, a group of about 15 people set up tents on the steps of the building at 2000 Allston Way. They camped there overnight.
Property owners, tenants, and city officials gathered Thursday to discuss a proposed ordinance that would require seismic retrofitting of more than 150 residential buildings with soft, weak or open-front conditions, also called soft-story buildings, which are highly at risk of collapsing in strong earthquakes.
But property owners argued at the meeting that “a host of roadblocks” discourages those who want to retrofit their soft-story buildings.
Berkeley Built is an occasional series in which Berkeley’s David Stark Wilson of WA Design takes a look at a notable Berkeley structure or building.
I’ve always been a fan of Maybeck’s work and this building is no exception. These images show the interior and exterior street entrance of a home Maybeck designed for J.H. Senger, a professor of German language at UC Berkeley.
The exterior of the home is a mixture of brown shingle and the medieval half-timbering seen in these images. Maybeck is remarkably playful in his use of different window motifs all tightly composed in this one façade. The original bright blue of the front door and the stenciling further demonstrate Maybeck’s often whimsical approach. … Continue reading »
It was four days to D-Day and the place was hopping.
Painters rolled on a last coat of paint. IT guys fiddled with computer wire while architects strolled around looking for last minute glitches. Carpenters nailed sheets of plywood to a storage area.
In just a few hours, the new South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was set to open. And, while the bulk of the construction was done, there were numerous small things that hadn’t been completely finished, like the landscaping, shelving all the books, installing all the computers, and the final build-out of the Tool Library.
“We have a lot to do in the next few days but we are feeling good about it,” Donna Corbeil, the city librarian, said on Tuesday. When pressed, though, about whether it would be finished, she took a long pause before answering with a resounding “Yes!” … Continue reading »
The American Institute of Architecture San Francisco announced the winners of its annual Design Awards on Friday and two Berkeley names made the grade.
The renovation of Berkeley’s North Branch Library on The Alameda, by San Francisco firm Architectural Resources Group and Tom Eliot Fisch, earned a Merit Award for Historic Preservation. “This publicly funded project preserved, expanded, and updated the City of Berkeley’s beloved 1936 North Branch Library on The Alameda,” AIA SF wrote in its award list. “The $4.5 million, LEED Silver project included rehabilitation of 5,700 sq ft of historic spaces and a new 3,900 sq ft addition and was completed in 2012.”
It was the second architecture award for the North Branch Library this month. It was also one of nine Berkeley buildings recognized for representing the best recent design work in Berkeley by Berkeley Design Advocates in early April. … Continue reading »
Fourteen months after it was closed and torn down, the new South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library will reopen on Saturday May 11.
At 12:30 p.m. local officials and library supporters will gather for a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1901 Russell Street, right at the intersection of MLK. After that, the library will be open for normal business until 5:00 p.m.
When patrons walk inside the new 8,700 square foot, $6.5 million building, they will see something completely different from the award-winning, but clumsily remodeled, old South Branch building. The ceilings are higher, there are more windows, there are dedicated spaces for computers and other multimedia equipment, as well as more lounge chairs. Copper artwork by artist Gina Dominguez is displayed throughout the building. Solar panels will reduce heating costs.
UC Berkeley officials held a public hearing Wednesday night on plans to build a new aquatics center at 2222 Bancroft Ave., east of Oxford, and were told the one-story building is a lost opportunity for improving the area and would be too disruptive to parking.
UC hopes to start construction on the $15 million project in August to alleviate the crowding that now takes place at Spieker Pool. Currently, all 120 of Cal’s swimmers, divers and water polo athletes, as well as recreational swimmers, must use that facility, putting a severe strain on its capacity. … Continue reading »
Nine buildings have been singled out as representing the best new design work in Berkeley for 2010-2012. Berkeley Design Advocates, a volunteer group of architects and urban planners, selected three UC Berkeley buildings, a restaurant, a senior home, two retail spaces — one newly built, one restored — a wine store, and the renovation of a branch library from a list of 15 submissions, and handed out the award certificates at a ceremony on Thursday, March 28. (See the 2013 Awards Brochure for full details.)
This year threw up a particularly impressive crop of winners, according to Anthony Bruzzone, President of BDA, who said that two years ago, with the recession having put the kibosh on many construction projects, the group was concerned it might have no buildings to consider at all in 2013. … Continue reading »
The owners of the property at 2441 Haste St. at Telegraph, scene of a devastating fire in Nov. 2011 that destroyed the five-story Sequoia Apartments, have submitted a proposal to the city of Berkeley to build a new 42-unit, 43,000 sq ft apartment building.
The project would also include retail spaces intended for two restaurants that burned down that night: Café Intermezzo and Raleigh’s Bar & Grill.
The proposal, which was submitted to the city by Kenneth and Gregory Ent on Friday, Feb. 22, would be designed by Berkeley architects Kahn Design Associates, working with developer ROEM. … Continue reading »