Living local, urban design, sustainability, landscape architecture, and places in the East Bay. Design that works where it is.

Creativity Shines in Oakland’s Golden Gate Neighborhood

Golden Gate-Radio Flyer-web

140701 Golden Gate-1073-web

When the first homes were built, the Golden Gate neighborhood was a town named Klinknerville. The name was changed to Golden Gate before it was annexed by the City of Oakland in 1897. It’s in the northwest corner of the City, east of Emeryville and south of Berkeley. Real Estate agents like to call that general area NOBE, but you and I know better. If not, I recommend this post; Please Don’t Call it NOBE, by Sarah Han.

What I love about Golden Gate and several other Oakland neighborhoods is their creative flair. I think it’s because they have diverse populations: diverse ages, standards of living and ethnicities. Residents are willing to make unconventional design choices, which spark creativity up and down the streets.

Of the many inspiring entrance treatments I’ve seen in Golden Gate, I’ve selected three to feature here. It’s likely the entrance in the top photo was originally designed as a storefront. The building is on the main commercial street, San Pablo Avenue, but this entry is on the side street. I love slate blue with brick, the vine that softens the flat entrance and, of course, the radio flyer planter.

140701 Golden Gate-1009-webI’m going to make up a story for the gateway in the photo on the left. The shingled fence with gate was built first. Then the designer decided they wanted a very tall fence at the property line (let’s not make judgments about their relationship with the next-door neighbors) and designed an attractive slatted fence extension. Finally, the designer wanted the two parts to be better integrated and created this arched and slatted overhead structure. However it happened, I like it. Take note of the elegant paving and the stunning River Birch near the gateway.

It would be easier to imitate the simple treatment of number 1009. The address is hand-painted on terracotta pots filled with leafy succulents. The idea is clever but wouldn’t work nearly as well without the smart color choices and the striking Zen tile on the wall near the door (from which they probably removed the original address). When planting in small pots like these, use very drought tolerant plants or you’ll need to water every day. These are filled with Portulacaria afra, Elephant food.

Historic Information Source: Wikipedia, Golden Gate, Oakland, California

Note added November 12, 2014: Since writing this post, I’ve learned there are (at least) two different ideas about the extents of the Golden Gate neighborhood. According to Oakland Wiki, the area I considered to be Golden Gate, is actually three neighborhoods: Golden Gate, Gaskill, and Paradise Park. By that map, the entrances I’ve featured in this post are in the Gaskill neighborhood. Either way, they are still shining.

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2014 by in Oakland and tagged , , , , , , .
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