First offering: the Donald and Helen Olsen House, 1954; the architect's own home! Listed in the prestigious National Register of Historic Places, and a City of Berkeley Historic Landmark, the Olsen 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 his endeavors 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 residents and visiting luminaries in the circle of the arts.
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