Greenwood Common is a special sort of development. The only group of mid-century homes designated together as a Berkeley architectural landmark, the Common represents a who’s who of mid-century design in Northern California. Carved out of a swath of land owned by famous architect, long-time dean of the Berkeley School of Architecture, and founder of the Berkeley College of Environmental Design, William Wurster, Greenwood Common was from the start to be a showcase for the best designers in the area. The landscape architect for the development would be Lawrence Halprin, later of Sea Ranch fame, and the eight homes arranged around the Common would be by the rising stars of California modernism: among them, Joseph Esherick, Donald Olsen, RM Schindler, Henry Hill, Harwell Hamilton Harris, and John Funk.
As you may imagine it is pretty unusual for the homes in this development to come on the market, and so it is with some excitement, that we look today at Don Olsen’s 1 Greenwood Common, on the market for the first time since it was constructed in 1954. Olsen was one of the few Bay Area architects to design in the International Style, and even when clad in aged redwood siding, his structure appears very rectilinear and open. The spaces inside are equally impressive with loads of widows and wood and thoughtful built-ins. Even the kitchen appears to be original and in very good shape: quite a find for the right buyer interested in owning an important piece of Bay Region modernism.