the world's most visited architecture website

Sign up now and start saving and organizing your favorite architecture projects and photos

Sign up now to save and organize your favorite architecture projects


Find the most inspiring products for your projects in our Product Catalog.

Find the most inspiring products in our Product Catalog.


Get the ArchDaily Chrome Extension and be inspired with every new tab. Install here »


All over the world, architects are finding cool ways to re-use run-down old buildings. Click here to see the best in Refurbishment Architecture.

Want to see the coolest refurbishment projects? Click here.


Immerse yourself in inspiring buildings with our selection of 360 videos. Click here.

See our immersive, inspiring 360 videos. Click here.

Navigate articles using your keyboard
  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Houses
  4. United States
  5. Onion Flats Architecture
  6. Margarido House / Onion Flats

Margarido House / Onion Flats

  • 00:00 - 4 April, 2011
Margarido House / Onion Flats
Margarido House / Onion Flats, © Mariko Reed
© Mariko Reed

© Mariko Reed © Mariko Reed © Mariko Reed © Mariko Reed + 16

  • Architects

  • Location

    Oakland, United States
  • Architect

    Onion Flats (Plumbob Llc)
  • Interior Design & Construction Administration

    Medium Plenty (Ian Read)
  • Structural Engineer

    St. Onge & Associates
  • Owner / Developer

    Mike McDonald (McDonald Construction & Development Inc.)
  • General Contractor

    McDonald Construction & Development Inc.
  • Photographs

Text description provided by the architects. This single family home in the hills of Oakland, CA, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and all of San Francisco, is designed to merge comfortably into it’s difficult and steeply sloped site. It is also meant to provide a tranquil yet inspiring setting for a young couple, their two children and their aging in-laws. The physical site offered the project its greatest challenge and direction. It’s 17% slope coupled with height restrictions and adjacencies to neighboring homes required that the building be “bunkered” into the landscape. This became the source of the project’s programmatic, spatial and architectural strategy, which is centered around the entry or “knuckle” of the building.

© Mariko Reed
© Mariko Reed

This ‘knuckle’ functions as a ‘de-bunkering’ device for the building. It is also the organizational space of transition between the more public and private domains of the home. The ‘knuckle’ is a result of a subtle yet deliberate carving and terracing of the landscape away from the building, releasing it from bunkered status and creating an experience of tranquility and lightness in this heavily grounded building.

© Mariko Reed
© Mariko Reed

Planted roof garden and deck

4000-gallon rain and ground water reclamation tanks

Drought tolerant landscaping

Pervious paving

In floor hydronic heating

Solar electric power

Solar thermal (hot water)

Interior air quality management system

© Mariko Reed
© Mariko Reed

Locally sourced thermally broken doors & windows

Concrete with a minimum of 25% fly ash

Recycled concrete and glass counters

Soy based spray foam insulation

No-VOC paints and finishes

Smart house automation system

LED lighting

© Mariko Reed
© Mariko Reed

View the complete gallery

About this office
Onion Flats Architecture
Cite: "Margarido House / Onion Flats" 04 Apr 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
Read comments
Read comments