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Friday, October 22nd, 2021

Shelter: Home Tours 2021 Explores Designs for Everyone via Livestream

Ten residential projects will be featured as part of a "month of shelter" presented in August 2021 by American Institute of Architects East Bay (AIA EB)
Canyon Road Bridge House, New Mexico (Arkin Tilt)
Canyon Road Bridge House, New Mexico (Arkin Tilt) | Photograph © Kate Russell

The American Institute of Architects East Bay Chapter (AIA EB) is pleased to announce an impressively varied selection of residential projects for this year’s all-virtual “Shelter: Home Tours l & ll”.  The highlight of AIA EB’s "month of shelter" in August, the Home Tours will feature projects located in the US, Mexico, and Norway.  Two other livestream events -- a panel discussion and a housing symposium -- and an in-person sustainable homes bicycle tour are also scheduled for the “month of shelter" in August.

Shelter: Home Tours 2021 Explores Designs for Everyone via Livestream
Ten residential projects will be featured as part of a "month of shelter" presented in August 2021 by American Institute of Architects East Bay (AIA EB) | © American Institute of Architects East Bay (AIA EB)

"August is all about shelter, and the conversations that AIA East Bay is convening around that theme," says AIA EB Executive Director, Mike Wilson. He adds, "This year, all but one of our programs are online, enabling us to engage with a global audience on the value, impact, and transformative quality of architecture."

The chance to celebrate what she describes as the "heartfulness of home" inspired Oakland, California-based architect and AIA Home Tours Chair, Ursula Currie, to create a program that reflects diversity, community, and how the built environment engages with the natural environment.  As she puts it, "The theme of shelter is about the various kinds of places we call home, and the ways in which we live there.  Everyone's experience has merit."

This year's AIA EB Home Tours committee, led by Ms. Currie, selected 10 projects, including two special feature projects located outside of the US.  Collectively, the projects show innovative residential solutions to various types of living environments and project types, from an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and single-family residences, to a tiny home village and multi-unit, mixed-use buildings.

The Chocolate Factory, Norway (NSW Arkitektur)
The Chocolate Factory, Norway (NSW Arkitektur) | Photograph © NSW Arkitektur

Home Tours I on August 14, 2021, from 10-11:30 AM PT features the following projects:

  • Nallie's Nest, Oakland, California (Kerstin Hellmann Architecture):  This modest, yet versatile accessory dwelling unit (ADU) was originally designed to accommodate a grandmother into a multi-generational household, before becoming a place of refuge for a grandfather who lost his home during a fire.
  • Canyon Road Bridge House, Santa Fe, New Mexico (Arkin Tilt):  Projected to achieve LEED Platinum certification, this project incorporates passive house design strategies.
  • Liberty Bank Building, Seattle, Washington (Mithun):  This mixed-use, affordable housing project is located at the site of the former Liberty Bank, the first African American-owned bank in the Pacific Northwest.
  • YSA, Tiny Home Empowerment Village, Oakland, California (University of San Francisco and Prof. Seth Wachtel):  This multi-faith project, supported by more than 25 congregations, provides volunteer-built, transitional housing for homeless youth in Oakland and Berkeley.
  • Chokoladefabrikken—The Chocolate Factory, Oslo, Norway (NSW Arkitektur):  An example of sustainable urban development, this adaptive reuse of a block of factory buildings that belonged to Bergene Chocolate Factory, and the addition of five new buildings, results in a functional mix of housing, business, and cultural activities.
YSA, Tiny Home Empowerment Village, California (USF and Prof. Seth Wachtel)
YSA, Tiny Home Empowerment Village, California (USF and Prof. Seth Wachtel) | Photograph © Kevin Marino

Home Tours Il on August 21, 2021, from 10-11:30 AM PT features the following projects:

  • Jones Berkeley by Pyatok (Berkeley, California):  The project transformed a 1.7-acre auto dealership site into apartment and townhome rentals, helping to address the pressing need for regional housing solutions.
  • Valley View Senior Homes by The Cohousing Company (American Canyon, California): Accessibility design at this project's dramatically sloped site was inspired by Lombard Street, claimed to be the most crooked street in the world.
  • 636 Waverly by Hayes Group Architects (Palo Alto, California): This concrete and glass structure, located on a deep and narrow urban infill lot, is the city of Palo Alto's first net-zero electrical (NZE) mixed-use building.
  • 650 Live Oak by brick. (Menlo Park, California): This project reimagines what a mixed-use development can bring to a community, responding to the need for increased urban density.
  • Casa Terreno by Fernanda Canales (Valle de Bravo, Mexico): The architect's own off-the-grid, brick and concrete house addresses seclusion from radical weather, while opening up as much as possible to the surrounding landscape.
636 Waverly, California (Hayes Group Architects)
636 Waverly, California (Hayes Group Architects) | Photograph © Patrik Argast

For architect Ole Wiig of NSW Arkitektur, a Norwegian practice whose staff represents more than 15 countries, participating in this year's Home Tours enables him to share how architecture can add greater value to communities. He explains, "In modern housing terms, the word shelter should also make reference to a better quality living environment, which we achieved with The Chocolate Factory."

Kerstin Hellmann, the architect who designed Nallie's Nest, an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), observes that the pandemic put the spotlight on how we live, including how spaces can be used in unexpected ways.  Her project, originally commissioned for Nathalie by her son and daughter-in-law, has since accommodated other functions, including as a holiday dinner party space, a home office, a guest house, and even as a wildfire victim shelter.

As Ms. Hellmann puts it, "Shelter can mean different things to different people, and shelters are by nature very adaptable. This year's Home Tours present a unique perspective on the many ways in which we live.  There is something for everybody, design aficionado or social commentator alike."

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