by Jincy IypeAug 28, 2020
USA-based Rangr Studio, led by architect Jasmit Singh Rangr, has completed the House of Light which is built on a challenging, inclined slope in Berkeley Hills, facing stunning, panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. Prone to frequent earthquakes and landslides, the ivory white home is designed according to the site’s seismic constraints, topography, micro-climate, sun path and the property’s protected oak trees that gracefully become part of the design.
From a distance, the three-storey House of Light is seen sitting among tall leafy trees, as a solid white volume with petite slit windows, its glass encased top floor jutting out. Rangr explains that throughout the residential design, “small cantilevers extend space beyond the major structural elements that are directly in-line with the foundations”. He also shares that the 264.77 sqm residence requires very less heating and no air conditioning, owing to its architecture, and the solar paneled roof that generates enough and more power to run the house and charge the client’s electric car.
The site’s year-round temperate yet chilly micro climate guides the substantial glazing on the south and west areas, allowing an abundance of heat and sunlight into the living area on the top floor. Warm timber defines the interior design of the residence's living room, speckled with modest home décor and furniture. A round edged, triangular glass top centre table rests on a multicoloured, multi-patterned rug that takes up most of the floor space here, with three comfy lounge chairs and a cylindrical coffee table facing a teal blue midcentury modern sofa.
The wall to its right is stacked with tomes on a white bookrack, with shelves underneath hosting stationery, tiny table lamps and fresh potted plants. Its opposite side showcases a lengthy, bare rectangular table with wooden dining chairs sitting to its left, and a wooden bench placed on its right. To the living room’s back is the clean white, modular kitchen island with white shelves and white countertops and spindly breakfast bar stools. One can step out of the living room’s left into a simple balcony that overlooks the verdant trees, a space to witness radiant, marigold yellow sunsets and the beautiful landscape of the Bay area. The study is also a plain white space with wood slatted flooring, an entire wall fitted with a bookshelf, slit windows for mild decoration and tall windows that ensure natural ventilation and let in daylight.
“By weaving the design through the site’s constraints and riches, the design creates a warm home lit by golden light, profoundly connected to its landscape with a net-positive energy footprint,” says Rangr. For the mildly hotter days, the floor to ceiling sliding glass doors and high clerestory windows can be opened to let in cool breezes. Cool air travels from the glazed door on the ground level to the sandwiched middle floor by virtue of the ‘chimney effect’, keeping these floors well ventilated.
“To address the risks of earthquakes and landslides, the house is built on grade beams resting on concrete piles embedded in bedrock, avoiding the complexity and expense of excavation and retaining walls. The design includes residential seismic damper frames, which absorb strong waves in a seismic event and allow it to withstand the maximum predicted earthquake with minimal damage,” concludes Rangr.
Name: House of Light
Location: Berkeley, CA, USA
Area: 264.77 sqm
Architect: Rangr Studio
Design team: Jasmit Singh Rangr, Eivind Karlsen, Yvonne-Demitra Konstantinidis
Engineers: ZFA Structural Engineers