Let’s face it. People who live in Berkeley generally march to their own tune, and that’s why we love it here. As a Realtor, I see these tunes played out in every old home’s unique, distinctive architecture, many dating back to the early 1900s, when the University was in its growth phase and a tide of city dwellers washed up in the East Bay following the great earthquake and fire.
Berkeley’s early architects, such as Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan, were visionary rule-breakers, redefining traditional home design with the Arts and Crafts movement, followed later by Mid-Century minimalists such as Joseph Eichler. But then, sadly, things got a little boring. Homes erected on what few vacant lots remained in the latter part of the century tended to have a mass-produced, generic look. The quality of materials and craftsmanship took a dive, and the edgy magic of our early design movements seemed to be a part of our nostalgic past.
In 1984, Berkeley architect Christopher Alexander and his Center for Environmental Structure caused a stir with the collaborative construction of a new home on Albany Hill that embodied the philosophy of Alexander’s own growing design movement, known as “Pattern Language” – a philosophy that many considered renegade, and was thereby consistent with our local roots. Pattern Language may be understood as an interconnected network of organic, natural solutions to fundamental design questions – solutions that frequently contradict conventional architecture. “I am not part of the mainstream status quo as far as architecture is organized in our time,” Alexander said. “I am devoting my life to changing attitudes, because they are deeply wrong.”
I am thrilled to represent this unique and special property, at 700 Hillside Avenue. Sited to capture staggering views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and adjacent to the green slopes and hiking trails of Albany Hill, this 4-bedroom 2-bath home is now offered for $950,000. Far from being containable in a blog posting, comprehensive information including a photo tour, video, links to historical material and reference materials, and much more is available here.