Strolling through Berkeley is like diving into a giant patchwork whose central alley would be a rainbow! Nothing is alike. It goes up, it goes down, there are hills to the east, the bay to the west and I love the diversity of houses in the city. They are dressed in pink, purple, blue, yellow, green or orange, the palette being declined in thousands of shades inspired by various cultures and the surrounding nature. They also mix different materials – slate, brick, cement, tiles, wood, lime, glass or iron – which integrate with a generous vegetation.

Their influences are multiple. Hacienda mansions sit side by side with Victorian houses, cabins fully covered with wooden tiles (a specialty of the Bay Area) adjoin contemporary ranches, and bungalows and cottages mediate between more traditional pavilions. There is medieval, colonial, Gothic, modern art, high tech; pompous, rustic, fanciful and indescribable! We like or we do not like but impossible to be indifferent.

This heterogeneity of styles, colors, materials, plants and dates of construction makes this city particularly atypical. I was expecting to settle in a suburb in the shadow of the famous “City”, San Francisco for the inhabitants of the Bay, and to find suburban houses, spacious and uniform. Far from this cliché, the many Berkeley houses claim an authentic and unique architectural personality with charm and character. It is sometimes bohemian and wacky, sometimes elegant and chic, sometimes obsolete and in bad taste, sometimes curious and eccentric. It’s often original. Always interesting.

Merci Charlotte from Beyond the Bridge for the text and photos



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