BAHA Preservation Awards 2012

Part One

Noteworthy Projects

Fidelity Guaranty Building (photos: Daniella Thompson, 2012)

Fidelity Guaranty Bldg. & Loan Assn. Bldg.
2323 Shattuck Avenue
(Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr., 1925)

While still a student, architect Walter H. Ratcliff, Jr. (1881–1973) and his Cal friend Charles L. McFarland went into speculative home building, financed in the early days by their parents. By 1912 they had founded Alameda County Home Builders, Inc., which would evolve into Fidelity Mortgage Securities Co. and, in 1921, into Fidelity Guaranty Building and Loan Association. The Ratcliff-designed Fidelity building at 2323 Shattuck Avenue is undoubtedly the most beautiful bank ever built in Berkeley.

Designated a City of Berkeley Landmark in 1983, the building has stood empty since Citibank moved out five years ago. James Novosel of the Bay Architects remodeled the interior space into a restaurant, leaving intact the remarkable trussed ceiling, its decorative paint beautifully renewed.

Weisbrod Bldg before (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2004)

and after (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2012)

Weisbrod Building
2001 San Pablo Avenue
(Spiveck & Spiveck, 1930)

This City of Berkeley Structure of Merit, designated in 1985, was an eyesore for many years until its empty corner storefront was given a facelift by James Novosel of the Bay Architects.



Cuthill House, before (courtesy of Jetton Construction)

Cuthill House, after (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2012)

Emilie & Thomas A. Cuthill House
1614 Spruce Street
(James W. Plachek, 1914)

Exterior restoration

James W. Plachek, the prominent architect responsible for the neighboring landmark North Berkeley Congregational Church (1913, now Grace North Church), designed this Prairie-style residence for the treasurer of the H.C. Macaulay Foundry and his family. In the course of modernizing the interior, the current owners refurbished the unaltered exterior. An unsightly brick garden wall was removed from the front, and the new color scheme spotlights the beautiful original windows.


Petersen House (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2012)

Bella & Thomas C. Petersen House
1100 Spruce Street
(Frederick R. Peake Co., designer, 1914)

Exterior restoration

Situated on a gore lot, this multi-gabled and bracketed Arts & Crafts residence is clad in redwood shiplap siding below and board-and-batten above, opening numerous small-paned windows onto two streets. The house was designed for a petroleum executive by Frederick R. Peake, a prolific builder and developer turned building designer.

The current owners, who acquired the house in 2009, undertook a comprehensive renovation project from foundation to roof, wishing to stay true to the original exterior and interior design while modernizing the building’s systems and ensuring a safe and soundly preserved residence for their family.

The work included seismic and mechanical system upgrades, major renovations to the kitchen and bathrooms, reclamation of basement space for living area at the garden level, restoration of exterior redwood surfaces and fenestration, and installation of a fire-safe zinc shingle roof—all done with great care and a conscientious effort to incorporate the handmade spirit of the Arts & Crafts ethic.

As a bonus to the neighborhood, new sidewalk landscaping provides a lovely streetscape.

Part Two
Awards 2012

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