Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc.

Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc.

Stanley Saitowitz
Natoma Architects Inc.

Durant Residences

Berkeley, CA | 2015

The context is extremely diverse – the powerful poured concrete University Art Museum on one side, a brown shingle frat house on the other, and mid-century high rise housing with post- modern collage infill across the street.

Our building aims to establish a contained clarity of its own, using restrained elements of this broad spectrum of architectures to create a coherent but quiet presence. It is an expression of the collection of residences within, unified by a white gridded frame which holds the pieces that form the units, creating commonality, a community.

The street front on Durant is recessed as a two story garden entry, a tall porch flanked by the manager’s office and a community lounge. From this entry, a stair extends the street vertically, connecting the five levels. A double loaded corridor is bisected by the elevator and common laundry, dividing the building into four quadrants, matching the smaller mass of the house, with the continuous scale of the museum.

Material is a further bridge – Equitone Fiber Cement Panels are materially similar to the UAM, with a color related to the dark shingles. Panelite glazing provides shading and privacy from the street.

The landscape extends the logic of the building to the site, using plant materials and trees with similar massing, on the ground. The rooftop is a garden with a trellis connecting the two stairs and elevator, walled with planters which create a perimeter landscape.