BAHA Preservation Awards 2009

Part Two

Commendations


Before (courtesy of Jerzy Wollak)

Edgar Dorsey Taylor House
1615 La Vereda Road
(Michael Goodman, 1933)


After (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

Built for an artist, this Intenational Style house was originally clad in plywood that failed after less than a decade. Subsequently, the exterior underwent various modifications, some unsympathetic. An addition tacked onto the living room had obscured the southern half of a corner steel window. For several decades, the upper floor was covered in unsuitable rustic shingles. Water and dry rot left damage within and without. As part of the renovation project, the building’s original volume was restored. The addition was replaced with a deck to expose the full corner window (all the original steel windows were preserved). Two new corner windows were added, one on each floor, to follow one of the main design traits of the house.


Photos: Daniella Thompson, 2009

Exterior horizontal siding damaged by dry rot was replaced in kind. The shingle siding on the upper floor was changed to modular cement panels, more in keeping with the original design. Inside, all major design features were preserved and refinished, including the central fireplace, paneled ceiling and walls in the living room, beamed ceilings in the bedrooms, built-in cabinetry and artwork, and even the original bathroom fixtures, some kitchen cabinets (relocated) and Wedgewood stove. Remarkably, the owner-architect improved on Michael Goodman’s original without having access to the original building documents or even knowing who had designed the house.


Photos: Daniella Thompson, 2009

_____________________________



Photos: Daniella Thompson, 2009

Henderson L. Johnson House
2 Hillcrest Court
(John Hudson Thomas, 1912)

When this house was built, as was typical in it era, utilitarian areas such as the kitchen, the pantries, and the laundry were the domain of servants. Over the years, changes have been made, but it was not until this project was initiated that these spaces are recaptured, enlarged, and transformed to serve another way of life.

The harmony between these changes and the original design is remarkable. Leitmotivs repeated in John Hudson Thomas’ work—especially the foursquare element—are successfully echoed in the new construction. Beyond the skillful orchestration of surfaces, the majestic sweep of the new spaces unites these areas with the dramatic central hall, the public rooms, and the terrace that adjoin it. The project has literally given a new dimension, almost a century later, to a distinguished hilltop home.


_____________________________


Awards


Ballantine House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

Ballantine House
1512 La Loma Avenue
(John K. Ballantine, 1924)

The story begins with the Berkeley Fire of 1923, when John K. Ballantine, an architect in the office of Henry H. Gutterson, and his family lost their home on Buena Vista Way. When they decided to rebuild around the corner, Ballantine, for obvious reasons, chose fire-resistant materials: a slate roof and concrete blocks that imitated stone—an innovative system recently developed by the Thermotite Building Company. Undoubtedly, he knew of the material because Gutterson was in the process of using it in two major projects on which Ballantine probably worked: the Flanders Mansion in Carmel, completed in 1925, and the Second Church of Christ, Scientist in Berkeley, finished in 1926.

Little did Ballantine know that he was exchanging one hazard for another: the threat of destruction by fire for destruction by an earthquake. Metal bars tied together the grooved Thermotite blocks that constituted the double-sided, hollow walls, giving the walls themselves a reinforced, structural integrity. But the walls were not tied to the foundation, which itself was woefully inadequate by modern standards. Eighty-five years later, this invisible problem was courageously addressed by the present owners.


Ballantine House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

The solution is as invisible as the problem had been. Stepping into the cottage today, a visitor sees what appear to be the same walls, the same beams, the same fireplace, the same built-in cabinets, but everything has been skillfully reconstructed six inches inside the walls of the original structure. The modern magic of seismic engineering and construction have given the old-world magic of the Ballantine cottage a new lease on life for the 21st century.


_____________________________



Before

Rev. Francis H. Robinson House
2809–11 Russell Street
(1897; Louis Engler, 1914)


After (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2009)

This excellent preservation project is especially noteworthy as a 180° transformation of a south Berkeley residence that began as a single-story cottage, passing through pragmatic expansions. These included raising the cottage and building a new first story underneath. Since then, the house had fallen into an long period of neglect and misguided, attempts at improvement that left it in a highly threatened state.


Before

After

The extensive interior and exterior restoration included foundation work, new mechanical and electrical systems, new kitchen and bathrooms, a small but very effective expansion to the rear, and a new covered entry porch on the driveway side.

All of this was done with conscientious attention to Arts and Crafts scale, materials, and detail, as evidenced in the new windows, cabinetry, box beams, trim and mouldings, skillfully matched to the scant original elements remaining of the original home. Now its newly shingled presence is truly a complement to its many classic neighbors and the Berkeley streetscape.


Before

After

Part Three
Awards 2009


Copyright © 2009 BAHA. All rights reserved.