The Olsen House, 1954
First offering: the Donald and Helen Olsen House, 1954 - the architect’s own home! Listed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places, and a City of Berkeley Historic Landmark, the Olson House presents a striking counterpoint to the more familiar Bay Area Modern Style. Built seemingly as a demonstration project, the Harvard educated architect applied his “high art” International Style training, as championed by Walter Gropius, to create his own “machine for living in a garden.” The success of this endeavor is attested to by the families’ lifelong tenure, and the building’s service to lives immersed in creating a better world through art, architecture, and intellectual discourse. And this compact crystal box, thrust out amongst the treetops, served not just as a quiet family retreat, drafting office, and studio for Helen’s painting, but also as a gracious space for entertaining Berkeley’s resident, and visiting luminaries in the circle of the arts. With all its historic fabric intact, the magic of the space is still palpable, only awaiting its new owner to continue the tradition. Residence includes: Curtain wall glass open plan entertaining areas, 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, painting studio, storage, and entry featuring an original published mural by artist Claire Falkenstein penetrating the floors to welcome guests to the light within.