1698 University Avenue

We were thrilled to design a brand new multi-family building located right on University Avenue in Berkeley. We served as the Design Architect on this project, taking it all the way from conception through Planning approvals in the challenging city of Berkeley.

Located at the corner of University Avenue and McGee, this vacant lot has had (3) previous designs from other Architects. The last building approved at the site was in the spring of 2008. Since then, this vacant lot has been waiting for the economy to turn around.

As part of our work, we proposed a big change to the exterior design of the building, making it more modern and more colorful. Our initial schemes had a much bolder color scheme and pattern layout, but was refined in the Design Review process to fit more consistently with the surrounding context.

Also, we believe strongly in natural light and landscaping in our projects. Here, we proposed a central courtyard, open to the sky, with planters on each level and even a three story wall planter for all the residents to enjoy. The courtyard will provide light from two directions for each unit, and also allow cross-ventilation for each unit.

By increasing the efficiency of the garage space with car stackers, as well as moving to the courtyard plan, we were able to increase the commercial square footage and increase the number of units all while keeping the square footage of the building smaller than the previous Use Permit submittal.

At the completion of the Planning approval phase, the project was sold to a new development team. They are continuing work with a separate Contractor/Architect team. Keep your eyes peeled for the ground breaking next year. We can’t wait to see how it turns out!