Courtyard Retreat

Courtyard Retreat_Ext2
Courtyard Retreat_Ext1


Courtyard Retreat
Built: 2014
Architect: Anderson Anderson Architecture
Photographer: Anthony Vizzari

This Berkeley home’s fourth generation owner charged Anderson Anderson Architecture with creating a new house using the same footprint as the original. The result is unique and reminiscent of the 1952 Henry Hill creation. An important experimenter in mid-20th century Bay Area architecture, Hill built the home for a lighting fabricator who was a significant patron of local artists including Julia Morgan and Bernard Maybeck. The original home was filled with works of art from local craftspeople and the family’s travels, all tragically lost when a recent fire destroyed the home.

The new architects used local materials and traditional carpentry forms while experimenting with new construction methods to meet modern challenges. The synthesis of tradition and modernity resulted in a light filled, low slung house that is an inviting retreat and is fully accessible to persons with disabilities. The long access drive and steep topography of the site required off-site prefabrication of many components, which reduced construction impact on the neighborhood.

The design wraps the house around a central courtyard allowing the outdoor space to be shielded from the strong hillside winds while taking full advantage of the site’s natural beauty and panoramic views. The home strives for timelessness, bridging mid-century architecture to current environmental responsibilities with an eye toward future technologies. Due to its reincarnation, Anderson Anderson dubbed the house “The Phoenix” after the mythical bird.