Architect Kerstin Hellmann created a new rooftop addition with bedrooms and a view deck for this 1920s Berkeley home. Photo: courtesy AIA

Three Berkeley homes are featured on the American Institute of Architects’ second annual East Bay Home Tour which takes place on Saturday August 11. There are seven homes to explore in total: along with those in Berkeley, two are in Lafayette, one in Albany and one in Emeryville.

Not all the homes eligible for legitimate snooping have been realized with lavish budgets, although most have. The 2012 homes include an award-winning prefab house, two “transformational” renovations, and “net-zero” energy houses.

There follow snapshots of the three Berkeley homes:

The Courtyard House in the Berkeley hills, designed by David Wilson of WA Design. Photo: WA Design

Courtyard House
Completed: 2006
Designer: WA Design
Berkeley’s David Stark Wilson designed this 4,900 sq ft home (pictured above) in the city’s hills and was involved with everything from the selection of the lot through construction. The owners, who wanted to build their dream retirement home, had lived in a Wilson-designed home before. The design begins at the curb, moves uphill past rusting steel planter beds, and springs from its double lot in a forest of slender steel columns supporting deep roof eaves. The emphasis is on views, building angles and material compositions. A central pool establishes the main axis from the outdoor fireplace at the rear of the site through what the architect has termed the “zinc canyon” of house volumes, then out to San Francisco Bay. A studio space perches above the garage.

A growing family wanted a rooftop perch to capture views of the Bay. Photo: courtesy AIA

Urban Rooftop
Originally Built: 1925
Remodel Completed: 2011
Architect: Kerstin Hellmann Architecture
After living in their 1,225 sq ft home for two decades (above), the owners of this 1920s home on a busy Berkeley street needed room for a growing family and they wanted a rooftop perch to capture views of the Bay. Architect Kerstin Hellmann replaced a bedroom with a beautifully crafted 3d puzzle of library, stairs and railings that lead up to a new 650 square foot rooftop addition containing bedrooms and a view deck. The original house was preserved below and the kitchen was remodeled. A rooftop addition sits above the remodeled kitchen in this 1920s home on a busy Berkeley street. Modern space rides comfortably on top of the traditional home’s base. The architect celebrated vertical connections inside with a double height library and staircase that link the original house with a view deck above. Large doors, trellises and an outdoor kitchenette give the feeling of a small storefront café that has opened for lunch on the roof.

This Berkeley hills home was designed by architect Charles Debbas for his own family. Photo: courtesy AIA

Berkeley Hillside House
Completed: 2008

Architect: Debbas Architecture
Designed by architect Charles Debbas for his own family, this house (above) appears deceptively solid and simple from the street. But once inside this 3,200 sq ft home, the visitor realizes that basic geometry is employed for maximum results. Each void punctured or carved from the solid cube-like building and each pillar or balcony extruded from it achieves a powerful and sculptural effect. At the rear of the home most rooms become entire balconies themselves, with glass walls that fold open and railings that border the interior space. When all of these are open, the house feels like a series of open “shelves” for living in the sun, breeze and view of the bay.

The AIA East Bay Home Tour is on Saturday August 11 from 10:00am to 4:30pm, rain or shine. Tickets are $40 ($50 day-of) and may be bought online at AIA East Bay or at its office in downtown Oakland, 1405 Clay Street, after July 30, or at the Doyle Street Café in Emeryville on the day of the tour. Advance-ticket holders are invited to attend  a complimentary Meet the Architects reception and presentation on August 1 st at 5:30pm. The architect for each home will be on-site for questions and discussion on the day of the tour. A self-guided, self-driven format allows  visitors to explore and become inspired at their own pace. Visit AIAEast Bay for details and tickets.

David Stark Wilson: Design rooted in the great outdoors [07.12.12]
Berkeley buildings are winners in architecture awards [05.03.12]
Berkeley developer sees future in small, smart apartments [03.08.12]
Five Berkeley homes feature on new architecture tour [07.25.11]

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...