Berkeley, California’s Ocean View neighborhood can be categorized as a winding collection of early 20th-century Craftsman bungalows. These modestly scaled dwellings were designed for the working class to protest the elaborate extravagance that dripped from earlier Victorian homes in the area. Boasting thoughtful historical detailing and quality workmanship, it’s no wonder this typology continues to dominate in this pocket of northern California. To remain respectful of this context, Sidell Pakravan Architects paid close attention to scale and geometry when designing Seventh Street Residence—their 21st-century take on the traditional Craftsman.

Cofounders Kristen Sidell and Rudabeh (Rudy) Pakravan began their design process by challenging the traditional bungalow’s stagnant four-room plan. Continuously rotating blocks through a series of models and diagrams allowed the pair to create a new formal vocabulary that offered a sense of openness in a compact space. Taking into account the nuances of contemporary living, Sidell noted that the design was also driven by considerations such as outdoor access, efficiency, and abundance of natural light; “it was about rethinking the local topography and vernacular and creating a contemporary condition more suited to current needs.”

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