OAKLAND -- Successful residential projects from new construction to remodeling, large or small, historic or modern, result from that unique collaboration between owner and architect, one that transposes style and scale.
On Saturday, the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) East Bay chapter will present its third annual Architectural Home Tours of the East Bay, highlighting a range of architect-directed projects in six East Bay homes.
The self-guided tour will offer tourgoers an inside glimpse of historic remodels, airy modern and sustainable and clever homes with the architects on-site for questions and discussion. It's an ideal format to bring attention to what architects can do and to potential projects within tourgoers' residences. According to Kurt Lavenson, the AIA chapter's tour chair, the houses were selected to demonstrate the successful experiences and results that working with an architect can bring.
"Architects think about light, space and circulation; they focus on sustainability, energy consciousness, structural integrity and comfort," he said. "Architects look at all pieces of a puzzle and weave them together in a way that's transformative."
Of the six homes, two are in the Oakland hills, two in Berkeley and two in Lafayette. In Oakland's Hillside Revisited, Malcolm Davis, of the AIA, designed a whole house renovation to transform a post-Oakland firestorm home by reconfiguring floor plans for the home's four levels and using walls of glass, balconies and a multistory glass entry to capture panoramic views. Using the existing house and adding sustainable building strategies brought this hillside house to a new level.
In the second Oakland hills home, Skyline Modern inspired by Bauhaus, Jerry Dommer, AIA, worked with the owners to establish a "machine for living," a comfortable, low-maintenance home using radiant heating strategies, targeted cooling and acoustics. With minimal detailing, the result became a balance of open plan public and smaller, private spaces.
Berkeley's Roll Up House blurs the lines between indoors and out with the use by Karl Wanselja, AIA, of large garage-style doors that open interior spaces to the outdoors. The use of rustic timbers, exposed steel connectors and concrete give the house a loft-like feel, while salvaged red cedar, passive solar design and natural ventilation added green building standards and sustainable features to the project.
The Historic Hillcrest, in Berkeley, demonstrates David Stark Wilson's, AIA, significant remodel of a historic John Hudson Thomas home. Using sensitivity and deference, Wilson has worked within historic parameters and blended them with a modern sense of space, light and proportion to create a new family room and enlarged the kitchen and master bedroom.
The Lafayette In-Law is an attractive free-standing unit of exposed wood and expanses of glass that blur indoor-outdoor boundaries and provide expansive valley views that make the building feel much larger than its 750 square feet. By using floor-to-ceiling glass and a trellis that appears to extend indoors, Thomas Lee's, AIA, design so captivated the owners that they moved in and rented out their house.
Lucia Howard, AIA, served as owner and architect on Lafayette's Rancho Diablo, a historic hunting lodge that gained an extensive addition that preserves the original house and architectural style in a bolder whimsical and theatrical manner. The renovation includes living and museum spaces creating a house that serves as home, stage set and gallery.
The AIA, East Bay, believes tourgoers will come away excited about making changes in their own homes and also with a heightened appreciation for what architects can do. Beyond the personal, Lavenson stressed that decisions architects make help improve communities.
"Architects help us to build in better ways, they are really good at being efficient with resources, including the resource of space," he said. "They're conscious about sustainability, energy usage and being good stewards of the earth's resources."
The American Institute of Architects' East Bay chapter home tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 the day of the tour. For more tour information or to buy tickets, visit www.aiaeb.org/events/2013hometours.