Tag Archives: Trachtenberg Architects

‘The Aquatic’ wins easy approval from Berkeley officials

The Aquatic mixed-use development at 800 University Ave. in Berkeley could open by summer 2015. Image: Trachtenberg Architects
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A proposal for a new University Avenue mixed-use development, set to include 58 units, sailed through Berkeley zoning board review Thursday night, winning acclaim from commissioners for what they said was its beautiful design and sensitivity to the surrounding neighborhood.

The 45- to 55-foot-tall building will feature 1,175 square feet of office or retail space, and 60 parking spaces. Two structures currently on site — which have housed a construction company, a veterinary clinic (circa 1973) and, later, medical research labs — will be demolished to make way for the project, which is named “The Aquatic” and was designed by Berkeley-based Trachtenberg Architects. (See the project staff report here.)

The building project site, at 800 University Ave. on the south side of the street, straddles two different zoning designations; as a result, the north side of the property will reach five stories, and the southern portion will rise to just four. Parking will be provided in both a ground-floor garage and an open lot behind the building. Four units in the development will be available to very-low income residents, and the project will put $240,000 into the city’s Housing Trust Fund. … Continue reading »

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Sierra Nevada’s Berkeley tasting room to open soon

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Sierra Nevada, the craft brewing company known for its pale ale, now has a name and an opening month for its new tasting room on Berkeley’s Fourth Street.

The Torpedo Room — the name is inspired by the brewery’s dry-hopping device, the Hop Torpedo — is slated to open next month.

It won’t be a big place, and, other than light snacks, food is not part of the plan. Instead, the idea is to host about 45 craft beer drinkers for “educational tastings.” The Torpedo Room will feature 16 taps, and draught beer will be served in taster flights. Guests will also be able to fill growlers to go, as well as buying six-packs, cases and individual specialty bottles. … Continue reading »

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Places

Community farm buys 2+ acres in West Berkeley

Adam Berman, the founder of Urban Adamah, stands on the boundary of the property the group has purchased on Sixth Street. Cordonices Creek is behind him. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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Urban Adamah, the community farm that has been operating out of rented quarters on Parker Street for two and a half years, is in contract to purchase a 2.2-acre lot next to a restored section of Codornices Creek in West Berkeley.

The organization, which integrates Jewish traditions, environmental education, mindfulness and social action, purchased the land at Sixth and Harrison streets from the U.S. Post Office for $2.1 million and has until Aug. 4 to come up with the funds, according to Adam Berman, the founder of Urban Adamah.  The land, at 1151 Sixth, is undeveloped and sits next door to the post office’s main processing facility.  … Continue reading »

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Architecture

Nine Berkeley buildings win ‘design excellence’ awards

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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 »

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Sierra Nevada to open beer tasting room on Fourth Street

The Sierra Nevada tasting room in Chico. Photo: Sierra Nevada
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Sierra Nevada, the craft brewing company known for its pale ale, is planning to open a tasting room on Fourth Street by the end of the year.

The Chico-based company will serve around 16 different types of beer in a 1,700-square-foot space in the Read Building at 2031 Fourth St., next door to Title Nine. There will be a long bar and a number of high tables. The emphasis will be on beer, not food.

“It will be a small, intimate tasting room,” said Sierra Nevada spokesman Ryan Arnold. “It will not be a place where you get a meal or lounge around. We want you to be next to the bar where you are engaged with the staff, learning about beer.” … Continue reading »

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News

House fire on Berkeley’s Benvenue Avenue, no injuries

Benvenue fire by David Trachtenberg
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A home caught fire on Benvenue Avenue just north of Ashby in the early hours of Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses say the house in question was 2924 Benvenue and report seeing a significant blaze. A neighbor who lives on Ashby Avenue said she was woken by sirens and the smell of smoke inside her home at roughly 12:20 am on Wednesday.

According to a Bay City News report, the occupants of the single-family home were able to escape from the house uninjured and initial reports suggest that the three-alarm fire may have been caused by a propane tank in the rear of the house. According to one source, one of the occupants of the home was a wheelchair user and the fire police department got her safely out of the house. … Continue reading »

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Comal: New restaurant takes a bet on downtown Berkeley

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On Friday, John Paluska will throw open the heavy steel doors to his ambitious new restaurant, Comal, which he hopes will become a magnet for local residents and a cultural incubator. “I see it as a big tent that I hope will become the heart of the community,” he said last week as he stood in the expansive, airy space at 2020 Shattuck Avenue, overseeing a plethora of pre-launch preparations.

Comal will be cooking up Oaxaca-inspired Mexican food — masa-based dishes such as Tetelas, memelas, and tlayudas, whole grilled fish, chickens and fresh vegetables -much of it cooked on an Italian wood-burning range and two “comals” — large round griddles which take center stage in the restaurant’s open kitchen and, says Paluska, also serve to evoke the “hearth as gathering place” ambiance he is seeking to create there.

Chef Matt Gandin, formerly of Delfina in San Francisco, says he wants to explore the complexities of a cuisine that he feels is “waiting to be discovered”.

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

Scout: closing Claremont Avenue store
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VIVA MEXICO It’s countdown time to the opening of a “big” new restaurant in downtown Berkeley. Comal, a Oaxaca-inspired Mexican eatery which will seat around 160 customers both inside and at an outdoor patio area, is slated to open its doors on May 2 very soon. Last week, its new Cor-Ten steel façade, designed by Berkeley architect David Trachtenberg, was unveiled. Currently a shimmering silver, the steel will gradually turn a rusty burned orange color as it oxidizes. Former Delfina chef Matt Gandin will be running the kitchen, and its name, according to Eater SF, comes from the restaurant’s namesake comals, or Mexican griddles, which take pride of place in the restaurant’s exhibition kitchen. Berkeley firm Abueg Morris has gutted the 1927 building at 2020 Shattuck Avenue, and used reclaimed wood floors, wainscoting and poured concrete walls to give it a clean, contemporary feel.

DESIGN SHUTTER Scout, the home decor and staging company, has closed its retail store at 3088 Claremont Avenue less than 12 months after moving there from Temescal. The company will continue to operate its home staging and interior decorating service from the studio in the same spot. Scout will also offer furniture and lighting, as well as Farrow & Ball paints. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley developer sees future in small, smart homes

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In a top-secret location in Berkeley, Patrick Kennedy is showing a reporter around a tiny living space — so compact in fact that, at 160 sq ft, it is the smallest apartment one is legally allowed to build.

“It is how small you can go without causing psychological problems,” jokes Kennedy, who, through his company, Panoramic Interests, is responsible for developing swathes of Berkeley. His projects include the Gaia Building on Allston Way, the Berkeleyan Apartments on Oxford Street, and the Touriel Building on University.

The “bijou” apartment in which we are standing, with its trompe l’oeil view of the Bay Bridge, is the prototype for the SmartSpace, a largely prefabricated, furnished space that, when multiplied and stacked together like Lego blocks, creates a fully fledged apartment building. … Continue reading »

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Cannabis dispensaries display a stylish flair

The renovated lounge area at BPG. The frosted covering on the windows was removed to make the place feel airier and more open. Photos: Frances Dinkelspiel
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After the Berkeley Patients’ Group’s plans to move into the old Sharffen Berger chocolate factory on Heinz and Seventh Street fell through in 2010, the medical cannabis dispensary turned its attention back onto its San Pablo Avenue home. If the organization, which serves hundreds of people a day, wasn’t going to be moving into larger digs, what could it do to make the experience better for patients?

In a word, remodel.

Over the last year, Berkeley’s largest cannabis dispensary … Continue reading »

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Say hello to spring: celebrating Holi

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Berkeleysider David Trachtenberg came across a glorious gathering on the campus Sunday and sent in these wonderful photographs. “I stumbled upon this amazing event at lower Sproul Plaza,” he writes. “It’s called the Holi Festival — a welcoming of Spring. Pure Joy!”

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Historical North Berkeley corner is renovated

Tom Sawyer after 3
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Update, 04.10.11: Commenting on this story, several readers have mentioned Ninepatch, a store which served the community for 36 years in this building. Pam Zelnik, daughter of the store’s founder, sent in a photo of the shop, which you can find at the foot of the piece.

Update, 4:40pm: Because this story provoked a lively discussion about the architectural renovation under way for this building, we are publishing some additional photographs of the building in its pre-remodeling state, as well as some more renderings from the architect of what the finished result will be like. They can be found at the foot of the story…

The building at the corner of El Dorado Avenue and Sutter Street, near the entrance to the Northbrae Tunnel, has been through myriad incarnations. And now it is undergoing an overdue renovation with a new purpose in mind.

Berkeley architect David Trachtenberg is working with Kaufman Construction, another Berkeley business, to transform the neglected structure into a 7,900 sq ft office building with two retail spaces on the first floor. The $3.2 million re-build will create offices to house Tom Sawyer Software which is moving its headquarters to Berkeley from Oakland. There is no news yet on who will occupy the stores.

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News

Celebrating the contemporary face of Berkeley

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Six contemporary Berkeley buildings have been highlighted as demonstrating superior architectural style — “gems that have enriched Berkeley and its residents” — and several Berkeley architects can take a bow for having designed them.

The Berkeley Design Advocates held their ninth biennial architecture awards yesterday at the Ed Roberts Campus — itself a new addition to Berkeley’s architectural landscape. Designed by San Francisco-based Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects and due to open soon, it was one of the night’s designated … Continue reading »

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