Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio

Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio

Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Exterior Photography

Text description provided by the architects. Following the firm’s design philosophy of finding design solutions between landscape, climate, and client needs, Rangr Studio’s second house in the Berkeley Hills, Buena Vista House, followed the same design strategies as its first: to take advantage of the sunny yet chilly microclimate to maximize solar heat gain, and to provide direct cross-ventilation to allow the dry air to cool the trapped heat — creating living spaces that are open to the outside air throughout the year.

Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Exterior Photography
Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Interior Photography, Door, Beam

At the same time, the clients requested a house in which they could enjoy their retirement, which led to a zero-threshold upper floor containing an entry space, a main bedroom suite, and kitchen, dining, and living spaces, all directly accessible from the driveway and the garage.

Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Image 18 of 21

Given that the site slopes along the street, and down from the street, the resulting form was a synthesis of two cuboids — an upper cuboid that followed the street line and contained the essential living spaces, and a lower cuboid for the remaining program that followed the contour lines within the site, which minimized foundation costs.

Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Image 19 of 21
Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Image 20 of 21

The upper floor was placed in direct relationship to the street for easy access, but the lower floors, containing the clients’ study spaces (one is a recently retired accomplished academic, both are PhDs) and guest rooms for visiting children and future grandchildren, had to address the topography that sloped at an angle from the street boundary. Hence, the geometry of the lower levels aligns with the contours of the site, while the upper level aligns with the street.

Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Interior Photography, Table, Chair
Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Interior Photography, Dining room, Table, Chair

The opportunity of two different orthogonal geometries allowed the creation of a dynamic interaction between the living space and the deck — while the window wall of the living space faces the Marin headlands, the deck perimeter faces San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. The complimentary angles of the finished form expand the view across the San Francisco Bay.

Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Interior Photography, Dining room, Table, Chair
Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Image 4 of 21

Buena Vista House is the combination of both geometries that occurs in the living room deck, where the two perimeter conditions are at an angle from each other, increasing the panoramic experience of the view.

Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Interior Photography, Kitchen, Countertop, Shelving, Sink, Lighting
Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Interior Photography, Chair

A full-height glazed walls to the South allow solar heat gain to warm the living area, and shaded east windows face the operable glass wall to the west to provide cross-ventilation when cooling is required.

Buena Vista House / Rangr Studio - Exterior Photography, Windows

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