Skyline Modern

Kurt Lavenson, AIA, photographer Kurt Lavenson, AIA, photographer

Kurt Lavenson, AIA, photographer

Skyline Modern
Completed: 2004
Architect: Dommer Architects, Jerry Dommer, AIA
Photographer: Kurt Lavenson, AIA

Perched on a ridgeline overlooking Oakland and the San Francisco Bay, this spare white stucco  house harks back to 1930’s Bauhaus modernism in its rigorous simplicity. Large, artfully arranged windows bring the views inside with power and serenity. Interiors are predominately crisp white planes, softened only by ash and limestone flooring. Custom furniture and the owner’s art collection complete this classically styled modern home.

Since the site is steep, vertical movement has been considered carefully in the design. Cars arrive at the top of the site so walking into the house is a natural progression; while interior staircases are wrapped in windows that make you feel as if you are gliding through the tree branches. Climbing and descending never feel like a burden. A hot tub placed at the edge of the back yard slope beckons you toward the view for a respite.

The architect, Jerry Dommer, AIA of Dommer Architects, worked closely with his client, who was deeply involved in establishing the modern style of the house and its performance as a comfortable and low maintenance ‘machine for living’. Special attention was given to passive and radiant heating strategies, air filtration, targeted cooling, daylighting, and acoustics. Together, the owner and the architect created a balanced combination of open plan public rooms and more nurturing smaller private spaces. This house shows how an experienced and skillful architect can use restraint and a light touch to achieve maximum effect for his client.

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