Residential Design

VOL.6 2018

A business-to-business magazine focused on the collaborative process and talented work of residential architects and custom homebuilders.

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"I have a lot of drive in me to find better solutions to the things that we're doing," says Obie. "I push myself and my office hard. We are dedicated to doing thoughtful work." The office is very busy these days, so the push and pace are a bit exhausting. Although he has always had invaluable help from his wife, Helena, who serves as his office manager, he's having a hard time finding architects to add to the team after downsizing during the recession. "It's my biggest challenge. And every architect is in the same situation." Fire rebuilds and renovations are part of the pipeline, certainly, but the booming economy in the San Francisco Bay Area is also spurring demand for new weekend escapes and full-time homes away from the city. When the housing market is confident, there's more interest in inventive architecture like Obie's. He knows this period could be fleeting, so he feels pressure to seize what opportunities he can. The down- turn of 10 years ago is still painfully fresh in his mind. "The worst part was being an architect without having any architecture to do," he recalls. "It was very difficult and stressful. So it's diffi- cult for me now to turn anything way." Still, the quality of work is as com- pelling as ever. Recent projects include a striking new house on a hillside in Sausalito. The Cope Residence embraces its dramatic bay views with huge canted windows, reminiscent of a ship's bridge. "The area is so foggy and cool. After morning, the sun is gone behind the hill, casting the site in shade from 11 a.m. Clockwise from opposite page: Obie's 1987 Brunsell House was a breakthrough project for his firm, preserving scenic views for the neighbors and symbolizing all that makes Sea Ranch a singular place. His own studio and house in Sonoma is an ongoing project. The Case Bathroom Addition combines fire, water, earth, and air in a stunning master shower. In 2001, Obie completed an extensive remodel of a 1971 Sea Ranch house, solving problems of space planning, landscaping, natural light, and views—while adding only 850 square feet. "Most of our projects are in a natural setting, and I have an instant response to those." —Obie Bowman, FAIA Photos this page: Obie Bowman 13 VOL. 6, 2018 RESIDENTIALDESIGNMAGA ZINE.COM

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