Roll-Up House

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Roll Up House, a 2013 AIA East Bay Home Tours house
Completed: 1996
Renovated: 2012
Architect: Leger-Wanaselja Architecture, Karl Wanaselja, AIA
Photographer: Liz Ruzby


This home connects dynamically with its wooded site and with the traditions of woodworking. Large garage style roll up doors extend the interiors to the exterior spaces and landscape. Rustic timbers, a curving staircase built by a shipbuilder, and exposed steel connectors confidently demonstrate the art and process of building. There is an honesty and solidity to the structures and their assembly.

Architect Karl Wanselja, AIA of Leger-Wanselja Architecture originally designed this home after the Oakland Hills fire of 1991, resolving difficult constraints posed by the triangular lot and the nearby freeway. When a new owner, who had previously lived in a downtown loft, bought the house, Karl returned for a collaborative redesign of the kitchen and bath areas. Ingenious touches like a rolling bookshelf wall that reveals a bedroom and cabinet lighting that pulses with color, give this home a highly personalized and artful feeling.

The original design pre-dated the current era’s green building standards. However, the architect integrated salvaged red cedar flooring at the loft level and reused the fir concrete form boards as finish ceiling material. Additionally, a garden structure was built from the framing scraps and the house uses columns milled from trees that were partially burned on the site in the 1991 fire. Blown in cellulose insulation, passive solar design, radiant heat, solar hot water, natural ventilation and extensive daylighting complete the list of green, sustainable features implemented by this conscientious architect long before they were widely understood.

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