Bay Area Residential Projects Honored for Excellence

On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, the American Institute of Architects, East Bay, awarded six residential projects with jury honors for the 2014 Exceptional Residential: Bay Area Regional Design Awards. This program is the Bay Area’s only solely-residential architectural design awards program.

One project was awarded with a citation for architecture, two homes were recognized with Merit Awards and three projects received the highest award of Honor. The projects include renovations, additions, and affordable housing.

The distinguished 2014 Design Awards jury are leaders in the architectural community: David Baker, FAIA, (San Francisco, CA), founder of David Baker Architects; Julie Eizenberg, AIA (Santa Monica, CA), founding Principal of Koning Eizenberg Architecture; and Nick Noyes, AIA (San Francisco, CA), founder of Nick Noyes Architecture.

The AIA East Bay 2014 Design Award recipients are:

Citation Award

Grizzly PGrizzly Peak Kitchen Renovationeak Kitchen Renovation, Oakland

Architect: Andrew Lee Architecture

The project was a complete kitchen renovation in a landmark mid-century house in the East Bay hills. The design team sought to develop a solution that updated the kitchen to serve contemporary needs, while respecting the integrity of the original structure’s design.

Large openings were cut out of the wall separating the kitchen from the living area, to allow for visual connection and to bring natural light and views deeper into the house. Importance was placed on emphasizing the craft and simplicity of the house’s original materials.

The initial program was typical of kitchen renovations in older homes: to enhance the utility of the room, to update its aesthetic, to open the room to adjacent spaces for visual connection, views, and light — while also providing a means to close off the room — and to provide a built-in space for dining.

The cabinets, fabricated by a shop in the Pacific Northwest, are simply but carefully crafted maple-veneer plywood and plastic laminate; the owners appreciated the shop’s light, contemporary aesthetic, and selected the laminate colors. Finishes—quartz and butcher block countertops, white ceramic wall tile, and stained oak flooring—were selected as useful, durable surfaces that recede into the background.

Jury Comments: This is a compelling project in that the design keeps the intent of the original kitchen while meeting present-day need. It is sweet, modest and plays well with the personality of the house overall.

Merit Awards

H RanchHupomone Ranch, Petaluma

Architect: Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects

Hupomone Ranch is an original 160-acre homestead located in the Chileno Valley, three miles west of downtown Petaluma. The ranch had been fallow for over 30 years and the owners wanted to build a family house that would reflect their commitment to sustainable farming, draw on the natural serenity of the site and build on the sense of place in western Petaluma, where farming and ranching are still a part of people’s daily lives.

The site has a wonderful balanced quality to it, and the simple grounded form of the barn shape is sited to compliment this setting and capture the long views to the coastal range beyond. Entering a low porch on the more opaque north side under the loft above, the light-filled house opens up to the long view south and gathers the bedrooms and kitchen to either side.

The house is certified LEED Platinum and includes a number of energy saving features, exceeding Title 24 by over 50 percent. Passive heating and cooling with thermal mass and insulation, geothermal, radiant cooling and heating along with solar and photovoltaic panels contribute to the house’s energy efficiency.

An integral part of the design, the landscaping includes several outdoor living areas, organized along a riparian restoration and native plantings.

Jury Comments: A picturesque residence, modern and formal, restrained, rich, playful, and sustainable. The design looks effortless—which is not easy to accomplish.

Hill HouseHill House, San Francisco

Architect: Cary Bernstein Architect

The complete transformation of a well-worn 1930’s bungalow created a modern home for a young family of three. Sectional shifts in the architecture and landscaped terraces unify the building and hillside site. The newly amplified and light-filled interior belies its compact, mid-block footprint. Rigorously detailed construction is enriched by warm, textured materials and fluid connections to the surrounding gardens. In contrast to the building’s materiality, plentiful glazing erodes the envelope. The interplay between solid and void, light and dark, intimate and expansive, machined and handmade, landscape and architecture, uniquely integrates Hill House with its site.

The clients asked for a house that would be “just big enough” for their daily needs, promoting quality over quantity and expressing their love for design. Every part of the project was scrutinized in search of an artful balance among concept, utility, value and resolution.

The clients’ commitment to sustainability started with the choice of living in a compact house on an urban site. Demolition was managed through deconstruction and recycling. Careful planning ensured limited waste, integrating storage into walls and floors with ship-like efficiency. Space for concealed solar shades was incorporated into the structural plan. Material disposition helps unify the building and landscape.

The clients purchased a small, plain house with the idea of turning it into their dream home. They couldn’t be happier to have found the perfect team to help realize their vision. According to the client, “the process was collaborative and transparent and yet the design has a clarity and inevitability that transcends the open communication and compromises made along the way. The final design balances dark and light, inside and outside so well that we ended up having the best of both.” The textural details “[integrate] a lot of subtlety in the materials without making them look fussy.”

Jury Comments: A rigorous and warm residence that displays an effortless “climb up the hill” of San Francisco’s steep terrain.

Honor Awards

474 Natoma474 Natoma Apartments, San Francisco

Architect: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Filling a void in San Francisco’s SOMA Redevelopment Area, this high-density development provides 60 affordable apartments for low income families knitted into the urban fabric as a transition between the gritty Sixth Street SRO corridor and the gentrifying Eastern SOMA neighborhood.

Situated on a small property between two alleys, the development’s front and rear buildings share a common two-level lobby and through-block passageway linked to a central linear courtyard.

At the top floor, a landscaped terrace and a community garden provide additional sunny and secure outdoor areas with city views.

The project included a variety of sustainable design strategies which were tracked under the GreenPoints rating system. The building’s energy use is modeled to be 18.4% less than California’s strict Title 24 energy regulations.

The concrete structure is exposed at the exterior of the building expressing the building components and the compartments for each apartment. Large windows and cantilevered balconies are staggered to create individuality and counter the repetitious nature of multifamily housing. An intense exterior color scheme was encouraged by the redevelopment agency to signify a new dynamic in the long challenged neighborhood.

Jury Comments: Rigorously logical with a sense of dignity and grace. A tough site handled with ease.

Mill ValleyMill Valley Courtyard Residence

Architect: Aidlin Darling Design

The intention of this residence was to create a sanctuary for a writer, his wife and two college-age sons. The site is located in a typical suburban community in Mill Valley, California.

A u-shaped courtyard cradles a south-facing central garden, with two private wings flanking the garden on each side. The wings are connected by a vaulted public great room with a wall of retracting glass doors, opening the living/dining and kitchen to the adjoining deck and garden. The plan diagram provides privacy for (and from) the neighbors, while opening the home to a dramatic view over the valley and forested hillside beyond.

The material palette integrates industrial materials, such as corrugated metal siding, patinated raw plate steel, and concrete floors that are complemented by the warmth of wood ceilings, cabinets, decks and trellises. The result is a simplicity that focuses on space, texture, and natural light. This quiet palette also provides an intentionally neutral backdrop for the client’s growing art collection. The ultimate goal is a home that lives effortlessly while unifying an experience of art and nature.

Jury Comments: Residence was not overwrought and exhibits a formal clarity and confidence. It is elegantly crafted. The architects clearly understand proportion.

TP-HTP-H Residence, Palo Alto

Architect: Alexander Jermyn Architecture

The project is the addition of a dining room, reading room and two bedroom suites to an existing 1948 adobe-brick house. A series of simple solids and voids control view and orchestrate movement through their various internal and external alignments.

It employs the material and formal language developed for a previous addition: spare, platonic boxes of a perceptual mass defined precisely at their junctions to openings with a material thinness. Four volumes control view and orchestrate movement through their various internal and external alignments. The reading of the solid/void relationship oscillates between additive and subtractive processes.

The house was designed to utilize all spaces in the addition to being fully accessible once the couple reaches retirement age. The design objective was to develop a language of apertures that provide a seamless connection between inside and out. A large format glazing was designed with custom aluminum profiles to achieve a frameless edge and introduce daylighting via skylights and glazing. A combination of LED, fluorescent and dimmable low voltage lights maintains low energy use without sacrificing color rendition quality for the client’s art collection.

The client remarks that the home incorporates the minimalism of the new with the rough texture of the old, which guided the decision making process for the addition. Only through distilling the finish and glazing details to their extreme essence, could the new volumes resonate clearly in juxtaposition with the old house and the surrounding garden.

Jury Comments: Achieves a compelling attention to inside and outside space. The restraint offered a sense of poetry to the space. Classically spare, this house is respectful of space and volume.


AIA East Bay’s 2014 ExRes Design Awards are sponsored by Aerotek, American Building Supply, American Soil & Stone, Associated Building Supply, Crestron, Degenkolb, Dealey Renton & Associates, Ideate, Lutron, Moen, and Pacific Coast Building Products.


The AIA East Bay’s members are architects and allied professionals in Contra Costa, Alameda, Solano, and Napa counties. AIA East Bay, an architectural community founded in 1947, supports our membership in exemplary practice and professional growth.

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