On May 17 we received our go ahead from the Berkeley Design Review Committee on our Fairview project! We are on to our next steps.
This design was developed as a mediator between program and context. Put another way, the architecture is formed from the interaction between the interior space and it’s relationship to the external environment. The space plan takes into consideration aspects including orientation, light, privacy, and circulation and other elements that depend on the context. The ‘context’ includes solar orientation, site access and circulation and the surrounding buildings, to name a few.
For example, in the first unit the living space is on the ground floor so as to be more accessible to coming and going, whereas the sleeping space is above, so as to feel safer from the street. Bedrooms and living rooms are oriented to the rear for privacy and access to light and the outdoors, and service space such as kitchen and bath orient toward the street to act as a buffer, with the exception of a more public ‘common room’.
The exterior reflects these interior spaces – windows at the street are smaller because of the service buffer, and for privacy in more intimate spaces. The common room is expressed as a large volume cantilevered over the entry, breaking up the mass into smaller volumes, providing shadow lines and detail, and doubling as an entry canopy over the recessed front porch. The front door sits back to provide a transition into the house.
As for our design review, typically the committee doesn’t look at residential projects, but they do review commercial districts. We are a residential project in a commercial district, so we went through review. Several recommendations were made by the committee, including what the best stain for the wood might be, and how we might spare a tree, or replace it with a fast growing type. They also suggested that the project should have a pitched roof. Fortunately, all these ended up as recommendations as opposed to conditions. Now we are moving forward to our Zoning Adjustments Board Hearing…