Hilgard Garden / Mary Barensfeld Architecture

aromatic ground cover

Project Specs

非常感谢Mary Barensfeld Architecture将以下内容授权gooood发行:
Appreciation towards Mary Barensfeld Architecture for providing the following description:

Photography : Joe Fletcher

Mary Barensfeld Architecture的新作Hilgard花园,位于加州伯克利大学的附近。这个花园旨在拓展业主的户外生活空间。业主的院子有一个陡峭的坡,坡上坡下各有一块平坦的用地可作为休息场所。为了避免占用过多的庭院面积,采用了高台地式布局,上面种上了日本枫树和芳香植物。业主希望将室外座椅区和娱乐区布置在靠近房屋的位置。

Hilgard Garden aims to provide the owners with an extended outdoor living space; a garden room.  Due to the steeply sloping site, accessibility to an upper seating area requires navigating a considerable elevation change.   To avoid taking up a large swathe of the smaller backyard square footage with a conventional stair, a ramping meandering path through aromatic ground cover and the outstretched limbs of sculptural Japanese maples was selected as a more experiential garden path.

Sandwiched between the neighboring townhouses’ rear yards, this Berkeley, California site consists of a 23’ wide by 50’ plot of land with a 17’-0” elevation change.  The owners’ desire for both outdoor seating and entertaining area close to their house, in addition to an accessible seating area at the top of the site, drove the project program.

The neighboring lots solve the elevation change issue by using conventional level terracing and retaining walls of drab paving units. This technique obliterates any sense of place or uniqueness on the potentially seismic site. The concept of an angular walk through a Japanese maple sculpture park arose in response to the need to navigate the site elevation, and do so with intention and visual interest.



The townhouse was built in 1964 as part of a 4 unit building, with each unit having a private yard. The townhouse style uniquely combines a cedar shingled roofline with exterior walls reminiscent of traditional Japanese residences (flat white planes with natural wood border details).  The home interior fits the owners’ modernist aesthetic with clean sliding planes and abstract overhead light wells.   Consideration was made to simplify building material and plant choices.  The garden aims to use light and shadow, water reflection, material weathering and material texture as design elements.  Ipe wood decking and benches, a floating white granite patio, a reflecting pool, board-form concrete retaining walls, and weathering steel combine with Japanese maples, aromatic lemon thyme, creeping jenny and Koi bamboo to form the garden’s material palette.





The 400 sf lower patio area, located at the base of the site and on the same level as the living room, provides the clients with a seamless extension of their living space for relaxation and entertaining.  It aspires, in the classic modernist sense, to be the new living room of the townhouse. Upon entering the home, one’s eye is drawn through the existing glass living room doors and out to the garden’s water reflecting pool and 3 sculptural Japanese maples.  At night, the back-lit triangular steel panels’ LED lights further draws your attention out and upwards towards the 60 sf upper terrace seating area and its views over the East Bay and San Francisco.



The owners are Bay Area natives with a one year old daughter, who loves to look at the bamboo leaves.  One owner works in technology, the other is a graphic designer.  They’ve both been very interested in architecture and design since they first met 15 years ago and wanted to embrace the modern design found in Berkeley, especially the use of concrete to make a strong impact.

Following the Bay Area philosophy to embrace more sustainable building practices, the garden incorporates a greywater drainage and irrigation system that the owners are currently working to hook into their home’s greywater system.








MORE:    Mary Barensfeld Architecture

Post a Comment