Upper Rockridge Residence by AAA Architecture

Upper Rockridge Residence is a contemporary two-story residence located in Oakland, California, designed in 2015 by AAA Architecture.

Modern, asymmetric facade with glass walls and wooden siding, surrounded by lush landscaping.
Spacious modern interior with concrete walls, steel framing, and outdoor courtyard.
Modern open-plan interior with concrete walls, wooden accents, and a striking spiral staircase.
Sleek, modern living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, concrete walls, and minimal furniture.
A modern, open-concept kitchen and dining area with sleek, minimalist design.
Modern kitchen with sleek black cabinetry, metallic bar stools, and a wooden table.
Modern kitchen with sleek black cabinets, steel appliances, and an open staircase leading to an upper level.
Striking architectural staircase with sleek metal railings and an expansive city view.
Expansive windows frame lush, hilly landscape. Contemporary furniture and fixtures.
Modern bedroom with large glass windows offering scenic exterior view, minimalist design.
Spacious bedroom with large windows offering scenic city views, modern furniture, and sleek design.
Well-designed modern bathroom with sleek vanity, mirrors, and tile accents.
Modern building with glass walls and wooden exterior panels, set against a scenic background.
Modern black exterior with large windows and landscaped garden featuring diverse plants.
Sleek, modern architecture with contrasting materials, glass windows, and a carefully landscaped exterior.

About Upper Rockridge Residence

Transforming Ashes to Architecture

In the aftermath of the Oakland Hills Firestorm, a landscape of grey ash and blackened foundations marked the area. Fast forward over two decades, and only a handful of grassy lots whisper the tales of that calamity. Among these, a lot once cradled a 1958 redwood-clad masterpiece by William Wurster in Upper Rockridge. Embarking on a journey to realize their dream home, our clients, after exploring options with several architects, chose AAA Architecture, led by Randolph R. Ruiz and Benjamin Parco, to bring their vision to life.

Designing with Vision

The mandate was clear: craft a home that not only maximized the stunning views but also melded seamlessly with the outdoors, showcasing expressive materials and embodying the modernist ethos of California’s iconic architecture. Despite having a defined vision influenced by previous designs, the clients were open to exploring new directions with us. This collaborative spirit led to the creation of numerous iterations, eventually culminating in a design that stood out as truly unexpected.

Embracing the Site’s Essence

The challenge was multifaceted: a sizable yet awkwardly shaped lot, proximity to neighbors yet blessed with breathtaking views, and a favorable climate that came with its own set of environmental challenges. Our solution? A design that embraced the lot’s potential to the fullest. The chosen design features two offset bars creating intimate front and rear courtyards, divided by a majestic two-story breakfast room. The ground floor unfolds along four masonry walls, oriented to capture the essence of the site’s views, defining the structure’s unique form while fostering a connection through glass windows and doors. Upstairs, three bedrooms and an office perch atop these walls, enveloped in charred cedar, with large windows accented by metal hoods harboring operable louvers to mitigate western exposure.

A Study in Materiality

The use of insulated, ground-face concrete blocks introduced a disciplined rigor to the plans, often elusive in wood-frame construction. This choice not only showcased the structural integrity in an aesthetically pleasing manner but also highlighted the texture and enduring nature of stone. The thermal mass and integral insulation of these blocks enabled expansive glass areas, surpassing California’s rigorous energy standards with ease.

Sustainable Living

The home stands as a testament to environmental stewardship and thoughtful living. It incorporates a plethora of green technologies and strategies, including high-efficiency fixtures, zoned HVAC systems, low-VOC coatings, and drought-resistant landscaping. By prioritizing these elements, the home not only minimizes its environmental footprint but also promises a Green Point rating, setting a benchmark for sustainable living in modern architecture.

Photography courtesy of AAA Architecture

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- by Matt Watts