Balboa House

Oakland, California 

This house is located on a sliver of land on a very steep, wooded hill, a site assumed to be unbuildable. This client specializes in developing affordable homes in Oakland. He uses a variety of strategies to achieve this goal: the house is compact, the site is an infill lot that is too challenging for others, and house components are prefabricated to minimize on-site construction. 

The footprint of the house is small and stepped to minimize excavation and to protect all the healthy trees. Above the footing, the house projects out from the hill and between the trees. To meet the city parking requirements for three parking spaces, one car is located in the driveway apron and the other two cars are double stacked in a garage. 

Using the parking as an anchor, the entry stairs follow the contours down the slope to the front door and the main living area of the house. From the entry, you move into the public activities of the house which look out into the trees.