Artistic Inspiration

Oakland, CA

We designed this house for noted artist Nancy Pollock after the Oakland Hills Firestorm. Designed in intense collaboration with Ms. Pollock, the program had three main objectives:1) Provide a stimulating environment for Pollock to create her art, 2) Allow ample display space for her extensive collection of artwork, and 3) Create a protected outdoor landscape where she could indulge her passion for colorful displays of flowers amidst a dynamic setting of water, rocks, and plants.

The design concept underlying the Pollock house was to wrap the structure around a circular garden courtyard. A stuccoed concrete wall completed the circle started by the house, giving it a Mediterranean feel. In her courtyard garden, Nancy expresses herself artistically with a great variety of flowering plants, ceramic tile mosaics, and water. The garden changes from season to season and from one year to the next.

The top photo is a view from the breakfast nook down the curved hall of columns to the living room and stair. The pastel drawing on the nook wall is by Nancy Pollock. The nook light fixture in the foreground is by Fire Farm, the lighting company owned by Nancy’s son Adam Pollock. The bottom photo is a view from the diving room past the pantry to the kitchen and family room. The upper pantry walls are stepped back from the ceiling to give a feeling of openness, while also screening the view of the pantry’s contents.

We designed the stair to the tower to be an arresting sculptural backdrop for the living room. It also gives many opportunities for the extensive display of Nancy’s collection of art objects from all over the world. The lower photo shows the tile-covered tower, which forms the overhang for the entry porch and serves as focal point for the courtyard.

This project was featured on the 1997 College Preparatory School of Oakland Home Tour.



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