House of Light

Category: Live
Berkeley, CA

This modern hillside home was commissioned by renowned architect, Jasmit Singh Rangr, founder of Ranger Studio, Inc., to be a home for his family upon relocating (part time) to the Bay Area from New York City.

The three-story home is built into the steeply sloping hillside, though no soil was excavated except to install supporting pier foundations. This approach minimized disturbance to the natural grade and streamlined the construction schedule. Architecturally, the space is open and simple, yet contemporary. Alaskan yellow cedar finishes adorn vertical and horizontal surfaces at both interior and exterior spaces at the top level, while floor-to-ceiling windows allow those inside the home to feel like part of the landscape beyond, which includes views of the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Mount Tamalpais.

Structurally, the framing consists mainly of wood; careful coordination and flexibility between architecture and structure enabled efficiencies to be built into the gravity and lateral systems for an elegant but cost-effective design.

The large windows and open spaces on the top floor presented an opportunity to investigate enhanced seismic performance to reduce the probability of extensive damage to architectural finishes in a large earthquake. With targeted time-history analysis and collaboration with MiTek, a structural product manufacturer, ZFA designed a seismic force-resisting system that utilizes two DamperFrames at the top floor—the first ever application of residential DamperFrames. These frames were calibrated to provide additional “damping,” or energy dissipation, that reduces seismic movement to five times less than it would be without the frames. Therefore, for marginal additional cost, the home is designed to similar safety standards as a hospital.

Photo Credit: Joe Fletcher Photography

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Size 2,850 sf
Completed 2018
Architect Rangr Studio, Inc.
Contractor Conscious Construction
Award of Merit – Residential/Hospitality

ENR (Engineering News-Record) 2019

World Design Awards | Third Award – Residential Built

World Design Awards 2020