Welcome to the Network…

Studio Bergtraun’s architectural approach embraces the full environment holistically
Fridays on the Homefront
The Eichler Network welcomes Studio Bergtraun Architects and its principals, Alex and Michelle Bergtraun, a new addition to our roster of preferred service companies. Studio Bergtraun specializes in architectural design, serving the Eichlers of the East Bay. Pictured above: Alex and Michelle Bergtraun.
Fridays on the Homefront
Eichler Network's 'Home Maintenance Directory 2018'—where you'll meet more companies you can trust with your next home improvement project. For the 2018 edition, click here.

When homeowners engage Studio Bergtraun Architects for design, they may want to prepare to grow their life as well as their home. That is the holistic, European-styled approach that this firm takes to architectural projects.

"We feel like we do frameworks for living for the people who hire us," says Alex Bergtraun, a principal of five architects in the company's Emeryville offices. "We don't push it on people…We think it's important to blend the context of the [home] with the desires of the owners and their contemporary needs."

Another thing that Bergtraun and his associates lean toward but don't force on customers is an affinity for modernism. For Bergtraun, that preference naturally flows from two sources: an attachment to the outdoors founded in a lifelong involvement in scouting, and experiences dating from his youth up on through his college days.

Growing up in Los Altos, Bergtraun had friends and acquaintances who lived in Eichlers, but he was really struck by the home of one friend's grandparents: the Hanna House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

"Every morning the house would sing to them," he recalls of the structure's marvelous orientation and acoustics. "It really had a deep effect on me."

Another big influence came from across the pond, where he studied in Italy and Denmark and met his Italian-born wife-to-be, Michelle, who is also a principal and the firm's office manager. They joke about having a little "Italian compound" in their Berkeley neighborhood since her parents moved from Italy to next door.

"The whole Danish modern movement was a big part of my experience," recalls the architect, who was also particularly influenced by one of Joe Eichler's favorite home designers. "I just really resonate with the A. Quincy Jones style…Even when we do new projects, we try to use…the same essence of an Eichler."

"We absolutely love modernism, but we do other projects too," the San Francisco-born Bergtraun promises. "I first and foremost like the balancing of light and air and the atmosphere."

That is evident in much of the firm's work, including a remodel of the Eichler Swim and Tennis Club in Palo Alto, one of the Eichlers on Eichler Drive in Mountain View, and a spectacular modernist residence in Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe that won a 'Mountain Home Award' from Tahoe Quarterly magazine.

"We also like to work with exterior landscape as part of what we do," says Bergtraun, who works with an assigned project architect on each job. "We look at the full environment."

Studio Bergtraun Architects
Architectural Design & Consultation
Serving the East Bay