Category Archives: Projects

Haskell Street in the New York Times


On Sunday, the New York Times Business Section ran a story on the front page titled Getting to Yes on NIMBY Street. It’s about California’s housing crisis, and how a series of smaller projects can have a large impact in aggregate. It is written around the 3 homes that we designed on Haskell Street in Berkeley as an example of how neighborhoods are rejecting this type of housing and in effect worsening the problem, not just of high housing costs, but of sustainability

The cover image is of another project we did in Berkeley, on 9th and university. It is a great example of how projects like this end up integrating into a neighborhood. When we return, now years after construction, the neighborhood is just as peaceful as when we arrived, and the controversy long forgotten. As more of these projects come to realization, there will likely be fewer words about them in the New York Times; they will become the norm.

Also posted in News, Observations

Baran Studio Architecture in the San Francisco Chronicle

John King, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Architecture Critic, has written an article on the development happening in and around the Mountain View Cemetery. A number of parcels were recently sold off and are in various stages of construction. Piedmont Walk is one of them.

King had this to say about the project:

“For me, the unapologetic punch of Piedmont Walk is a knockout. The forms are simple but they’re delivered with conviction rather than repetition. And the closer you look the better it gets, with such touches as the outdoor staircases on the 21st century triple-deckers, with a black steel structure and perforated railings that together make industrial chic look almost suave.”:

You can check out the full article here.



Also posted in News, Piedmont Ave

Baran Studio Architecture Google Project Map

Some time ago, we created a map of our projects throughout California, and I thought to finally post it. The pins are by project type and are placed into a Google Map, so you can vary the zoom range for more or less detail. Below is a snapshot, click here for the actual map


Also posted in News

Don’t be afraid of Modernism. It’s dead. 

When I’m told “this modernism thing isn’t going to last” I feel like I just emerged from a time machine in 1905. Modernism was not a passing trend; it was a movement. I would distinguish a movement as being something that contains an ideology, rather than a passing fancy based on an aesthetic preference. While part of the ideology of modernism is expressed in aesthetics, it contains a strategy for making buildings that values an honesty of material, and a preference for simplicity. It embraces technology as being a defining element, and celebrates the notion that it brings us all closer together. But for all of the hope that is embodied, it failed to consider the benefits of diversity. After modernism failed, the aesthetic propagation continued, at which point modernism became ‘style’. Style is more akin to fashion; something more surface, and formal, which rapidly changes with passing collective taste. It is strange that modernism is not yet considered a historic style. Because it is.
 The Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright was built in 1909

We were discussing this during design review in the office yesterday, and I realized something that I’ve been considering for some time – even though we are often accused of being modernists, the work we do is not in fact ‘modern’. Modern is a style, and like any style of architecture (Victorian, Craftsman, Spanish) it has a set of rules. One of the critical tenants of at least one form of high modernism, namely the ‘International Style’, was that it break with context and any forms from the past, as we had arrived in a unifying moment in time. We were all going to be connected through technology. Mechanized travel and flight, telephone, radio would all serve to bring down the barriers between us. A single ‘style’ could apply to everyone, in everyplace.


 Richard Neutra. Lovell Health House. High modernism in the U.S.A. 1929

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Also posted in Academic, Design, Harmon, Observations, Theory

MacArthur Annex: Our Mixed-Use Container Community in the News

We have been working for some time on the MacArthur Annex project which is now under construction. It is a mixed-use container project that acts as an open architectural framework for a local community. The occupants will range from artists and craftsmen to professionals and small businesses. Included in the mix are a local coffee shop and a new beer garden brought to you by Farm League Design & Management Group, the team who recently launched Drake’s Dealership in Uptown Oakland. We look forward to a bustling space filled with art, work, food and drink.
Read more about the project on SF Gate.
Container Project
Also posted in Construction, News, On the Boards Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Construction Progress: Silverlake Offices

Progress on the new office project on Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake. The developer has recently sold the property to PETA and they will be moving in over the next few weeks:


Also posted in Construction

New Completed Projects: Shifted House

Another of our recently built homes. Since we seem to have a series going on Harmon Street in Berkeley, we’ve come up with ‘Shifted House’ to describe this project.  We skewed the main volume to connect two smaller volumes, and to respond to light, air, and open space concerns of the neighbors.

Also posted in Construction, Design

New Completed Projects: Burnett

We’ve recently completed several new dwellings, and I’d like to introduce them, starting with Burnett in Berkeley:

Baran Studio Architecture in the SF Business Times

We were recently mentioned in this San Francisco Business Times article about Madison Park Financial and John Protopapus:

Our project is the Gallot Lofts, a 40 unit apartment building in Oakland’s Jingletown neighborhood. We are currently working to obtain permits, and hope to start construction early next year.

Also posted in Design, Gallot Lofts, News

Baran Studio Wins Citation for Architecture

Last night we had the honor of receiving another Citation for Architecture in the AIA East Bay Chapter’s 2015 Design Awards for our W.16 project in Oakland.  This awards program does not have categories, but simply considers the best design solution to any given problem.  Projects of all sizes and types are considered together.

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Congratulations to the project team!


REO Homes, LLC


Baran Studio Architecture

Matt Baran, Principal
Nick Sowers, Lead Architect
Steven Nguyen, Designer


Seri Ngernwattana


CS Construction


Peter Lyons




Also posted in 16th and Willow, Design, News