Architect: David S. Wilson, AIA | WA Design
Photographer: David Stark Wilson
Five years after the Oakland Hills fire, a shallow double lot was still surrounded by charred remnants of houses and landscaping. A design challenge was presented to David S. Wilson, AIA and Chris Parlette, AIA of WA Design: how to create a home that feels open to the landscape and the Bay view, while providing privacy from the nearby street and sidewalk. To establish privacy the architects introduced a curved shell that conforms to the street edge and presents a solid but textured wall. The home’s entry breaks through the wall with a combination of clear and translucent glass set in a steel frame, creating a semi-transparent portal, reminiscent of a crack through the rocks in a canyon. Above and behind are two vaulted metal rooflines that hint at the dramatic interior space. This is a house that has its back to the street but opens up toward the view, revealing a surprising amount of light and volume. The hard surfaces of plaster, steel and concrete are tempered by sculptural forms, an artful color palette and a two-story curtain wall of glass that dissolves the corner of the building. The design carefully integrated the house and its surrounding landscape with a rooftop patio, connected to the kitchen via a narrow metal bridge of perforated steel. By holding the house back from the lot lines, the architect also left space for a rugged and minimalist garden by landscape architect Topher Delaney. The owners’ appreciation for the house and garden shines through in the high quality of their care. Rarely does one see a 15+ year-old home so well-loved that it looks as if it were completed just a few years prior.