BErkeley | Design Build | 2020

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A Berkeley family approached the firm looking for a multigenerational housing solution. With a family spanning nearly a century, including a newborn and 90 year old, they needed more livable square footage. The 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath Accessory Dwelling Unit is designed for the family to live both in privacy and in close proximity. With current and future-needs in mind, the ADU includes universal design details, energy efficient all electric appliances, and plans for a solar array.  Only a few blocks from University Ave, this design is also considerate of its semi-urban context in scale, proportion, and material. 

The ADU is situated with only discrete views of the main house, while large windows and double glass doors open onto the garden. A balcony is tucked away on the backside of the second story, with its glass doors neatly framing a cypress tree in the near distance.

Like many areas in Berkeley, the snug tree-lined residential street is adjacent to much larger buildings. The ADU incrementally bridges the scale difference between the main house, a wood shingled bungalow with blue trim, and the multistory building behind it. Approaching from the driveway, the ADU is an approachable single story, which steps up in size significantly toward the rear. 

From the garden one enters a voluminous two-story salon with skylights, a welcoming and inclusive space for the whole family. The entire first floor is designed for accessibility, with an ADA bathroom, ramp, and wheelchair-friendly kitchen and bottom floor bedroom. The second floor is designed for younger members of the family. A narrow natural wood staircase, with windows on all sides that view vegetation, evokes a treehouse escape. The ADU is prepared with space to age-in-place, garden together, and tuck away.