Harold Way is a one block street parallel to Shattuck between Milvia and Allston in downtown Berkeley. Some of the finest historic Berkeley architecture surrounds the site – on either side are neo classical Ratcliff Buildings, at the end of the block the Berkeley Library, and behind the Berkeley Post Office.
The program for the site is student housing, and the height of the new 60’ wide façade is 75’ and taller than the historic neighbors, soon to be dwarfed by the tallest downtown building across on Harold Way.
Our first consideration is to optimize the quality of Harold Way as a pedestrian precinct. Parklets displace existing parking spaces to reduce automobile presence, widening sidewalks and calming traffic to allow more spill out activity to populate the block.
A colonnade at the base of the building creates a transparent connection between interior and street. The 60’ wide façade is divided by an open stair, threading the street up the two flanks of building. Light wells and recessed windows carve the sides of the building to ventilate and illuminate the rooms within.
The columns which form the colonnade continue up the face of the building, articulating the window openings lined with terracotta which continue the tile of the adjoining roofs. The building surface of stucco perforated with windows mirrors the neighbors. The façade is both complimentary and contemporary.
The ground floor is a teahouse, reception lobby, lounge and meeting area. Above are 6 apartments per floor each comprising living/work space, kitchen, and 4 single bedrooms nested around two bathrooms at the four corners, and 3 bedrooms at the pairs of center units.
The hallway which links the units and the stairs at the front and rear is 10’ wide, and a communal space with shared spaces for the apartment inhabitants.