Parco Studio

Parco Studio

San Francisco, CA


Zero Energy Berkeley Hills Home

Here our client came to us with an unusual and inspiring challenge. They lived in an historic, mid-century modern home designed by the renowned Bay Area team of Joseph Esherick (architect) and Lawrence Halprin (landscape architect).

With little ones on the way, our client was about to outgrow their beautiful one-bedroom home. Collectively, we had a desire to simultaneously honor the existing historic house and to take greater advantage of some key landscape opportunities and stunning westward views.

Instead of creating an attached addition to the main house, we arrived at a solution which pulled the new structure out into the garden as a stand-alone building.

This addition serves as the sleeping quarters for the entire family and is connected to the original house via a set of open-air bridges and a Japanese inspired “tea room.” The space created between the structures sponsors a series of outdoor garden spaces, each with its own character.

Each of these outdoor “rooms,” has a unique indoor/outdoor connection with the home. In addition, each space establishes a different relationship to the environment, some highly exposed with sweeping vistas, and others more intimate and well-protected from wind and sun.

As a way of reinforcing their commitment to California living, our clients made a conscious choice to keep the bridge and tea room linkage open to the elements. Automatic roller shades enable semi-enclosed passage in inclement weather.

This home also served as the pilot project for our prefab housing start-up, Parco Homes. The entire structure was framed in a mere five days and sports a “butterfly roof.” This inverted gable shape was designed to mirror the roof slope of the main house. It also serves to collect rainwater, diverting it to a scupper and “rain chain” at either end of the building. That water is then used to irrigate the garden and drought-tolerant landscaping.

Super-insulated and with an integrated set of highly energy efficient systems in place, the homes operates as a zero-net energy home, generating more energy than it uses over the course of a year.

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Status: Built
Location: Berkeley, CA, US
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Caren Alpert Photography