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Ira & Carol Serkes
Pacific Union/Christie's International
Berkeley, CA USA
800-887-6668
510-526-6668
Skype Serkes

serkes@berkeleyhomes.com


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Architecture
Our architectural treasures

I've been interested in photography, architecture & design for years... and it still is one of my great loves. I usually carry my digital camera when I travel around Berkeley... you never know when something will catch my eye. When travelling, I bring along the cameras (Canon Digital EOS Rebel SLR and Nikon Coolpix) and Canon Digital Movie... and shoot away. If you have a digital camera, I highly recommend carrying extra memory cards and a PCMCIA adapter so you can transfer your photos to your laptop. I finally made the jump from analog to digita.. and donated my beloved Nikon 6006 film SLR to the Berkeley High School Photography Department

You'll find a wealth of wonderful architecture in Berkeley, the East Bay, and the San Francisco Bay Area. We're blessed with some of the most remarkable structures in the world. Oakland's Paramount Theater, Berkeley's Temple of The Wings and Unitarian Church, and the Golden Gate Bridge are some of my favorites. Break out your maps and camera... and enjoy!

Oh... and my favorite style is Art Deco, which goes along with some of my favorite music - Big Band Sounds. Perhaps I really grew up in the 30's! I still miss KMPX - Big Band Music, which I listened to back in the 70's

 

 
 

East Bay's Art Deco Treasures
Art Deco has always had tremendous appeal to me - perhaps it started the first time I saw the Empire State Building or Chrysler Building when growing up in New York City. I loved the clean lines and modern contemporary design. There are some wonderful examples of Art Deco in the Bay Area - most of which are in Oakland and San Francisco. Heres are some places you don't want to miss on your tour.

The Art Deco Society has an annual meeting and tours (we took one of Pacific Heights the day before I wrote this!) I particularly enjoyed the night time "neon sign" tour, as well as their tours of downtown Oakland and San Francisco, and the Marina District in San Francisco. The tour to the Gladding Mc Bean Terra Cotta Company in Lincoln, California was a special treat.

Michael Crowe has written an excellent book "Deco By The Bay: Art Deco Architecture In The San Francisco Bay Area"

San Francisco has delightful Art Deco buildings, particularly at 1360 Montgomery, Coit Tower, and the Marina.

 

 

Travelling to New York City or Chicago?
I was born in Manhattan and grew up in The Bronx... so I'm in love with the Big Apple. If I weren't such a New Yorker, then Chicago would have been my favorite U.S. City. Here are pages with links to my favorite architectural sites.. and maps in New York & Chicago.

NYC - Chrysler Building

 

 
 
 
  Architectural Treasures
  Some of the East Bay's special places
 The Buildings Of Berkeley Bernhardi, Robert
Berkeley CA


720.97946 B457b
 
 
 
 The Arts & Crafts Home In Berkeley Archibald, Robert
Berkeley CA


720.97946 Ar79
 
 
 
 Residential Work In Berkeley Of Bernard Maybeck Bruce, Anthony
Berkeley CA


720.973 M451
 
 
 
 Walking Tours Of Berkeley
Berkeley CA


720.97946 B455t
 
 
 
 Trachtenberg Architects2421 Fourth Street
Berkeley CA


510-649-1414 x12
David has done some excellent designs.. including the new Clock Tower Building going up at Solano and Colusa 
 
 
 Arlington Fountain Arlington & Marin
Berkeley CA


The little bears around fountain get decked out in decorative wreaths during the holidays. They have charming little bellies. We call them buddah bears. For decades this was just a grassy circle, and itís wonderful that the fountain was recreated. 
 
 
 Hume Castle2900 Buena Vista Way
Berkeley CA


Iíd heard about this building for months when Iíd first come to Berkeley, but I never knew where it was. Then I rented an apartment on Buena Vista Way... and discovered, to my delight, that I was smack dab between the Hume Castle and Temple Of The Wings (Isadora Duncan's hangout).. and just up the street from Maybeck Twin Drive. The home was built by the Boynton family, who were friends with Isadora Duncan I loved living there with the pleasant eucalyptus fragrance. From time to time Iíd awake to find a sea of fog below me. It was magical! You'll love it living in the hills too. 
 
 
 Kennedy House Euclid & Buena Vista Way
Berkeley CA


Right on the corner, this is actually two buildings - a home and a performance studio. The colors are wonderful and the home has a graceful feel to it. 
 
 
 Lawson House1515 La Loma Avenue
Berkeley CA


I believe that Lawson was a geologist or structural expert, so Bernard Maybeck designed this Pompeiian villa to withstand earthquakes. Itís still there, so I guess his design worked. 
 
 
 Mathewson "Studio" House2704 Buena Vista Way
Berkeley CA


Right on the corner of La Loma and Buena Vista Way, this starts Maybeck Country. He lived across the street, and designed several homes in the area for friends and family. I rented an apartment just up the street and loved living in the hills 
 
 
 Maybeck "Sack" House2711 Buena Vista Way
Berkeley CA


Experimental Architecture - I recall that Maybeck dipped burlap sacks in concrete or stucco... then used them as architectural elements. 
 
 
 Wallen Maybeck House2751 Buena Vista Way
Berkeley CA


Maybeck built this for his son and daughter in law, Jacomena. I met Jacomena when I lived on Buena Vista Way. I think they originally lived in the wonderful home on Purdue in Kensington. 
 
 
 Temple Of The Wings-Boynton House2800 Buena Vista Way
Berkeley CA


Oh boy - one of Berkeleyís most amazing architectural gems. The original building didnít have walls. I believe that Isadora Duncan once danced here. 
 
 
 Rose Walk Euclid by Codornices Park
Berkeley CA


Pleasant path just south of the Rose Garden - several very attractive homes on it 
 
 
 Normandy Village1837 Spruce Street
Berkeley CA


I was wowed the first time I saw this wonderful complex! Normandy Village in Berkeley. Take a stroll around the property and youíll be charmed. I recall that the architect (Yelland?) wanted to recreate the Normandy Villages he'd seen in France - Itís a bit like Portmeiron in Wales (site of the ďPrisonerĒ series) 
 
 
 Northside: Historic Survey Of A North Berkeley Neighborhood Before And After The 1923 Wildfire Cerny, Susan
Berkeley CA


720.97946 C335n
 
 
 
 BAHA - Northbrae : A Residence Park At Berkeley Bruce, Anthony
Berkeley CA


720.97946 N813
BAHA - Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association has an excellent series of tours and books on Berkeley's extraordinary architecture. 
 
 
 Berkeley Library North Branch1170 The Alameda
Berkeley CA


510-644-6850
Berkeley has a great library system. The main library is an Art Deco Jewel in downtown Berkeley. This is one of the four branch libraries (Elmwood/Claremont, South, West & North Berkeley) 
 
 
 Robert Nebolon, Architect801 Camelia Street
Berkeley CA


510-525-2725
 
 
 
 Julia Morgan Theater2640 College Avenue
Berkeley CA


510-845-8542
Once St. Johnís Church, now a lovely performance space. The first time we sponsored Sedge Thomsonís ďWest Coast LiveĒ (91.7 FM Saturday 10 AM-Noon), the show was at the Julia Morgan. Check out the building during a performance - it's a treat. 
 
 
 Claremont Creekside Cerny, Susan


720.97946 C561
 
 
 
 The Craftsman Home3048 Claremont Avenue
Berkeley CA


510-655-6503
Berkeley has several small shopping districts (Hopkins at Monterey, Gilman at Santa Fe, and Claremont at The Uplands). This craftsman (craftspeople?) furniture store is in the Clarmemont shopping district. Stop by Semifreddiís for terrific breads, or Afikomen for Judaica when youíre in the neighborhood 
 
 
 Greene & Greene - Thorsen House2307 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley CA


One of the few (only?) Greene & Greene craftsman (craftspeople?) homes in Berkeley. Now a fraternity house. They give tours from time to time 
 
 
 Christian Science Church Dwight Way/Bowditch
Berkeley CA


Bernard Maybeck designed this church. Visit inside - itís a treat! 
 
 
 Landmark Heritage Foundation2315 Durant Avenue #306
Berkeley CA


510-883-9710
 
 
 
 Berkeley High School2223 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Berkeley CA


510-644-6121
Berkeley High School has a set of Art Deco murals on Martin Luther King... I only wish they did a two tone or three tone paint job on it! 
 
 
 United Artists Berkeley2274 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA


510-843-1487
One of the Art Deco buildings on the Main Berkeley Library block 
 
 
 Metropole Restaurant-Bar2271 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA


510-848-3080
A charming little building 
 
 
 Berkeley Library Main Branch2090 Kittredge Street
Berkeley CA


510-981-6100
Itís a wonderful resource (and right near the downtown YMCA). The library has an excellent selection of design and architecture books, music, as well as DVD and videos in numerous languages (including English). When you visit the main ilbrary site, be sure to check out the commercial building just to the south (on Shattuck) and the United Artists mural above the UA theater down the street. If you're on an Art Deco tour, check out the murals on the Martin Luther King side of Berkeley High School. It's Mayan Art Deco Designed in 1930 by James Plachek 
 
 
 Berkeley Historical Society Museum1931 Center Street
Berkeley CA


510-848-0181
Small Berkeley History Museum definitely worth a visit when youíre in the area. Limited hours - check the web site to make sure theyíll be open when you visit. 
 
 
 Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association2318 Durant Avenue
Berkeley CA


510-841-2242
Interested in Berkeley Architecture? Join! 
 
 
 Tupper & Reed Building - Becketts Irish Pub2271 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA


An Architectural Treasure by WR Yelland.... now Beckett's Pub 
 
 
 Spiro Building2277 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA


 
 
 
 Morse Block2276 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA


 
 
 
 Post Office2000 Allston Way
Berkeley CA


800-275-8777
This is one of the most handsome buildings in Berkeley, and I have the pleasure of seeing it several days a week when I work out at the Berkeley YMCA. Itís worth a visit. Murals inside. 
 
 
 Farm Credit Building2180 Milvia Street
Berkeley CA


Now Berkeley City Hall 
 
 
 Golden Sheaf Bakery2071 Addison Street
Berkeley CA


Wonderful brick facade, recently renovated by Avi Nevo as part of Berkeley's Art District. It's one of the most interesting buildings in Berkeley 
 
 
 S.H Kress Building2036 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley CA


Terra Cotta, with hints of Art Deco. The Kress building has been reborn as an arts center/office space 
 
 
 Discovering West Berkeley : A Self-Guided Tour Roha, Catherine
Berkeley CA


720.97946 D631
 
 
 
 Berkeley Bungalow2508 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley CA


510-981-9520
Arts & Crafts, Furniture, Decorative Arts, Handcrafted Items 
 
 
 Santa Fe Railroad Depot (Historical)1310 University Avenue
Berkeley CA


Berkeleyís Santa Fe Railroad Station once was the Santa Fe Bar & Grill. The restaurant's now closed, and I believe the building will be "repurposed" (what an awful word) to a school. When I first moved to Berkeley in 1974, the Santa Fe trains still ran across University Avenue. I miss those days. There no longer was passenger trains, but it was kind of nice (except when I was in a hurry) to see railroad cars in Berkeley. 
 
 
 Gilman Salvage Gilman Street
Berkeley CA


510-524-5500
A wonderful place to browse for salvage items. 
 
 
 Maybeck Home135 Purdue
Kensington CA


Carol and I saw this home during an architectural tour... and I spent the next 5 years trying to find it again. One day I was driving north on Purdue Avenue, and realized Iíd rediscovered it. The home is almost monastic in its simplicity - lovely living room, small bedrooms along a walkway, and is sited at the crest of the hill... with lovely natural vegation all around. We could see ourselves living here very nicely! 
 
 
 Mountain View Cemetery & Columbarium5000 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland CA


510-658-2588
This is one of the more remarkable sites in the East Bay, with some of the most interesting architecture around. Visit the final resting place of Crocker, Ghiradelli, Borax Smith, and many other. Call the Cemetary to find out when they have tours scheduled. The Columbarium is a peaceful Julia Morgan building. Feel free to stroll around the meditative site. When I go, I plan to be interred in a bronze copy of my book ďHow To Buy A House In California" 
 
 
 Chapel of the Chimes4499 Piedmont Avenue
Oakland CA


510-654-0123
This is one of the Bay Area's most lovely spaces... and it's a Columbarium (for ashes of cremated people) next to Oakland's Mountain View Cemeterery. The main building was designed byJulia Morgan (who also did Hearst Castle!) and is simply a delightful, serene, space. I think when It's time for me to go, I may have a bronze made of my book "How To Buy A House In California" and be interred there! Martin Snapp wrote of it "In many ways, the Chapel of the Chimes was her masterpiece. It's a magical maze of gardens,cloisters, alcoves, stairwells, fountains, and chapels, all rising into vaulted Gothic ceilings" I couldn't have said it better! Hot Tip - Martin wrote that on the Summer Solstice, they often have a "Garden of Memory" concert in the Chapel of The Chimes. I plan to go the next time! 
 
 
 Several Storefronts Lakeshore Avenue
Oakland CA


800-808-2220
Attractive Art Deco storefronts on Lakeshore Avenue 
 
 
 Alameda County Courthouse1225 Fallon
Oakland CA


Art Deco structure next to Lake Merritt. The tile murals inside the south entrance of the building are delightful! 
 
 
 Breuner's Building2201 Broadway
Oakland CA


Be sure to look at the terra cotta mural above the front door. Breunerís was a long time furniture store, and Iím delighted they created this Art Deco building. 
 
 
 I Magnin2001 Broadway
Oakland CA


Another of downtown Oaklandís Art Deco jewels. The green terra cotta is similar to the Bruenerís building . The URL above refers you to the Friends of Terra Cotta database, which includes the exterior of Oakland's I. Magnin building. 
 
 
 Oakland Floral Depot1900 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland CA


WOW - Silver and indigo - a small jewel of an Art Deco building in downtown Oakland. I highly recommend taking an Art Deco tour from the Oakland  
 
 
 Paramount Theater2025 Broadway
Oakland CA


510-465-6400
Timothy Phleuger (Iím not sure of the spelling) designed this extraordinary theater, and it is the Jewel Of The Crown of East Bay Art Deco Architecture. The best way to see the building is by attending a performance, or taking one of the guided tours. Donít miss: the exterior mural details, green and yellow entryway (look above for the oval and fountain.... symbols of???), and murals in the bathrooms. 
 
 
 Fox Theater1815 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland CA


Undergoing restoration - Hindu Temple Deco Revival near the Floral Depot 
 
 
 The Oakland Paramount Stone, Susannah Harri


725.8 St72o
 
 
 
 The Oakland Museum: A Gift Of Architecture Tanke, Gene


720.97946 Oa4
 
 
 
 Friends of the Oakland Fox Theatre1970 Broadway #1200
Oakland CA


510-869-3519
An architectural jewel of the East Bay. I've never been inside it, and look forward to the day when it's restored as beautifully as the nearby Paramount Theater. 
 
 
 Preservation Park1300 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Oakland CA


510-874-7580
Oakland moved some wonderful victorian homes to a "Preservation Park"... with a pretty fountain. Just a few steps from Downtown Oakland. 
 
 
 Old Oakland810 Clay & Washington Streets
Oakland CA


This beautifully restored historic area is a delight to wander through, and stop by the restaurants, cafes, and shops. The Storek Brothers did a magnificent job bringing the buildings back to life. On Fridays there's a farmer's market (when I was on a jury, the judge told us about it!) 
 
 
 Ford Assembly Building End of Harbour Drive
Richmond CA


Ford built this large assembly plant along the waterfront... and ships brought in supplies and took away automobiles. Ford Model A #1 is in the Richmond History Museum. Ford didn't have room to expand, and eventually moved the plant to Fremont (which is now the Great Mall of The Bay Area. Appropriately, the plant was used as a site in the movie "Tucker" This handsome building was designed by Albert Kahn, and hopefully will be converted to live/work studios and ferry terminal/business facilities in the future.  
 
 
 A Living Legacy : Historic Architecture Of The East Bay Wilson, Mark A


720.97946 W695L
 
 
 
 East Bay Heritage : A Potpourri Of Living History Wilson, Mark A


720.97946 W675e
 
 
 
 East Bay's Art Deco Treasures Art Deco has always had tremendous appeal to me - perhaps it started the first time I saw the Empire State Building or Chrysler Building when growing up in New York City. I loved the clean lines and modern contemporary design. There are some wonderful examples of Art Deco in the Bay Area - most of which are in Oakland and San Francisco. Heres are some places you don't want to miss on your tour. The Art Deco Society has an annual meeting and tours. I particularly enjoyed the night time "neon sign" tour, as well as their tours of downtown Oakland and San Francisco, and the Marina District in San Francisco. The tour to the Gladding Mc Bean Terra Cotta Company in Lincoln, California was a special treat. Michael Crowe has written an excellent book "Deco By The Bay: Art Deco Architecture In The San Francisco Bay Area" San Francisco has delightful Art Deco buildings, particularly at 1360 Montgomery. 
 
 
 Dan Smith, Architect1107 Virginia Street
Berkeley CA


510-526-1935
Dan Smith was our architect when we remodelled our home... and he did a wonderful job. That was 20 years ago, and I can only imagine what wonderful designs he's come up with since then. 
 
 
 Golden Gate Bridge Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza
San Francisco CA


415-453-2100
The Golden Gate Bridge is a stunning Art Deco Masterpiece! Walk across it. Take lots of pictures! Marvel at the cable cross section at the south end of the bridge. Strauss received all the credit for the design... but there were others who played a role in it. Delight that the first design for the bridge never was built - it would have been one of the ugliest structures in the world! I walked across the bridge after on the last day that I worked at Chevron Research. It was a wonderful memory. 
 
 
 Deco By The Bay: Art Deco Architecture In The San Francisco Bay Area Crowe, Michael F.
San Francisco CA


720.97946 C886d
Michael Crowe gives terrific Art Deco Tours in San Francisco and Oakland. Heís a (founding?) member of Art Deco Society of Northern California 
 
 
 Treasure Island Museum
San Francisco CA


415-395-5067
Another Art Deco Treasure, one of the few buildings left from the 1939 Worlds Fair. Itís an interesting museum, with a spectactular view of San Francisco. 
 
 
 Marina District
San Francisco CA


The Marina District was built up after the Panama Pacific Exposition, and has some wonderful Art Deco buildings. Chestnut Street is a really pleasant shopping street. 
 
 
 The City Club of San Francisco155 Sansome Street
San Francisco CA


415-362-2480
The City Club of San Francisco has monthly tour of the Diego Rivera Mural 
 
 
 Orinda Theater4 Orinda Theater Square
Orinda CA


510-254-9060
Extraordinary and unusual marquee visible from I-24, and interesting murals inside! We always enjoy going to movies here. The Orinda Theater expanded into the bank building to the south, and kept the Art Deco feel of the building. It's just short distance from Berkeley, and worth the trip to see the building. Itís spectacular at night. If you're adventuresome, take Grizzley Peak to Fish Ranch Road. 
 
 
 Buildings Of The Bay Area; A Guide To The Architecture Of The San Francisco Bay Region Woodbridge, Sally & John
Bay Area CA


720.97946 W851
 
 
 
 Winchester Mystery House525 South Winchester Blvd
San Jose CA


408-247-2101
Great fun. Sarah Winchester was told that if she moved west and built a house, and kept on building, she would not be plagued by the spirits of the ghosts of people killed by the Winchester Rifle. Itís a remarkable home - beautiful details, staircases that go nowhere, cabinets which are an inch deep, and a maze of rooms and hallways. Go see it! 
 
 
 The Guide To Architecture In San Francisco And Northern California Gebhard, David


720.97946 G941
 
 
 
 A Greene & Greene Guide Strand, Janann


720.973 G83s
 
 
 
 Eames Office Gallery2665 Main Street
Santa Monica CA


310-396-5991
Exhbits from wonderful designers Charles & Ray Eames. We visited their home in Santa Monica.. a delightful "case study" house. http://www.eameschairsandmore.com/ http://www.powersof10.com/ 
 
 
 Art Deco Society Of California100 Bush Street #511
San Francisco CA


415-982-3326
We've been on some fascinating Art Deco tours with them... they have annual Art Deco Weekends in San Francisco, and links to other Art Deco sites around the world. 
 
 
 Friends of the Gamble House4 Westmoreland Place
Pasadena CA


626-793-3334
The Gamble House is one of the Greene & Greene masterpieces in Pasadena. Inspired by beautiful Japanese woodwork... it's a joy to behold. One of the most interesting rooms is Mr. Gamble's office.. I can imagine the conversation in that family - you can do whatever you want with the house, but I want MY room to look like a Victorian Parlor. 
 
 
 Greene & Greene Makinson, Randell L.


720.973 G83m2
 
 
 
 Ernest Coxhead, Architect : Residential Work In Berkeley Beach, John
Berkeley CA


720.97946 C839
 
 
 
 John Galen Howard & The Beaux-Arts Tradition


720.97946 H834
 
 
 
 Julia Morgan Kett-O'Connor, Pamela


720.973 M822k
 
 
 
 Julia Morgan, Architect Longstreth, Richard W


720.973 M822L
 
 
 
 Art Deco ArchitectureWeb site for Art Deco Architecture. 
 
 
 Architecture and DesignI've been interested in photography, architecture & design for years... and it still is one of my great loves. I usually carry my digital camera when I travel around Berkeley... you never know when something will catch my eye. When travelling, I bring along the cameras (Nikon 950 Digital & 6006 Film) and Canon Digital Movie... and shoot away. If you have a digital camera, consider carrying extra flash memory cards, and a PCMCIA adapter so you can transfer your photos to your laptop. You'll find a wealth of wonderful architecture in Berkeley, the East Bay, and the San Francisco Bay Area. We're blessed with some of the most remarkable structures in the world. Oakland's Paramount Theater, Berkeley's Temple of The Wings and Unitarian Church, and the Golden Gate Bridge are some of my favorites. Break out your maps and camera... and enjoy! Oh... and my favorite style is Art Deco, which goes along with some of my favorite music - Big Band Sounds. Perhaps I really grew up in the 30's! I still miss KMPX - Big Band Music, which I listened to back in the 70's  
 
 
 Art Noveau & Art DecoArt Noveau & Art Deco furniture, art, books, pottery, and more. They have several sales during the year. 
 
 
My Blog Posts on Art Deco