Apparatus Architecture is a firm founded by Michael Baushke and Stuart Hills in 1995. The firm has created a distinctive style that is contemporary yet close to nature; sustainable yet luxurious.

Apparatus Architecture was founded in 1995 by a pair of Virginia Tech graduates, Michael Baushke and Stuart Hills. Taking the California Modern Movement forward, the firm has created a distinctive style that is contemporary yet close to nature; sustainable yet luxurious.

Architects work closely with client requirements but also leave their signature in the form of patio glass doors puncturing the buildings’ envelope to achieve light and airy interiors. In all projects, one can spot the appreciation for the original skeleton of the building and existing conditions of the site. Playing with rammed earth, wooden trusses, and bold textures against a muted color palette, this duo is bringing great authenticity back to the gold-coast.

The firm focuses mainly on residential and small commercial projects.

1. Napa Residence

The client wanted a home that merged well with its environment. To make this possible, the team used the PISE technique. The whole house is excavated from the site itself. These earth walls stand beautifully against the deep blue Mediterranean sky. 

The home has a unique H-shaped plan. Here, the living room which is essentially an extension of the landscape connects more public areas to private spaces. All the spaces are physically connected to the outdoors with the use of glass doors. This combination of extensive use of glass doors and 12” thick rammed earth walls is well suited to the summers of California, where one can enjoy the abundance and sunshine outside while being comfortable inside throughout the year.

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Napa Residence ©www.apparatus.com/napa-residence/
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Napa Residence ©www.apparatus.com/napa-residence/
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Napa Residence ©www.apparatus.com/napa-residence/    

2. Santa Rosa Residence

The clients were set on the idea of a traditional suburban home filled with warmth and abundance. Despite having an innate lightness of structure; this house is essentially maximalist. It confidently borrows elements from Italy: thick stucco walls and loggias having archways. These loggias invite overflowing gardens with native flora inside the home to the living spaces marked by soft textures and warm tones. A tower-like library takes this idea forward. While breaking the horizontality of the house; its rich, dark interiors heighten the note of warmth which this house sets to achieve.

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Santa Rosa Residence ©Apparatus Architecture, San Francisco
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Santa Rosa Residence ©Apparatus Architecture, San Francisco
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Santa Rosa Residence ©Santa Rosa Magazine, fall 2007

3. Sonoma Residence

The iconic feature of this house is a handmade driveway made from stones excavated from the site itself and a landscape consisting of just cactus and lavender. The house has rustic character and pays homage to the heritage of clients with its rich Mexican craftsmanship.  

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Sonoma Residence ©www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Sonoma-couple-s-house-shows-Mexican-influence-3255380.php/
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Sonoma Residence ©www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Sonoma-couple-s-house-shows-Mexican-influence-3255380.php/

4. Ord Street Residence

Architects have played with the idea of Modern living which is fast but demands spurts of relaxation. Thus, they’ve taken a minimalist background and broken it with bright pops of green. The interiors are playful, with a subterranean living room, a glass landing with a zealous tropical planter below it, and some vintage textures nostalgic of a time gone by.

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Ord Street Residence ©www.apparatus.com/ord-street-residence/
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Ord Street Residence ©www.apparatus.com/ord-street-residence/
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Ord Street Residence ©www.apparatus.com/ord-street-residence/

5. Mill Valley Residence

Playing with colors and textures, architects have simplified the color palette to create points of visual interest like the stairway at the entrance against a monotonous background. This also brings out the warmth of the textures used. An accent wall in the living room is not only a point of focus but also connects it to the darker material palette of the kitchen.

Thus both spaces while maintaining their separate identities flow into each other and are harmonized by a cohesive material palette. What one gets is a cozy, unassuming space for family gatherings.

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Mill Valley Residence ©www.apparatus.com/ord-street-residence/
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Mill Valley Residence ©www.apparatus.com/ord-street-residence/
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Mill Valley Residence ©www.apparatus.com/ord-street-residence/

6. Roanoke Residence

The site being only 12 ½’ wide was a tight situation. The architects utilized the corner location of the lot and provided ample fenestrations to the majority of interior spaces. For other areas, horizontal wooden louvers brought visual connection with outdoors while maintaining privacy. 

Roanoke Residence
Roanoke Residence ©www.houzz.com/photos/roanoke-residence

7. Sonoma Remodel

Originally this house was a traditional Mediterranean farmhouse, but clients wanted a more urbane experience. Thus architects while maintaining the integrity of the original structure, creating a sharp, austere interior space. Light wood combined with white countertops transport one to an NYC loft while patios bring one back to suburban California.

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Sonoma Remodel ©www.apparatus.com/sonoma-remodel /
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Sonoma Remodel ©www.apparatus.com/sonoma-remodel /
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Sonoma Remodel ©www.apparatus.com/sonoma-remodel /

8. San Francisco Remodel

This building originally consisted of two separate units in a traditional Edwardian style which was merged into a single-family home. Some of the original historic details were retained. Designed in collaboration with Grant Gibson, this house is simple but has layers of textures adding to its character. The house is done in grey and white contrasted with photographic artwork and vintage furniture.

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San Francisco Remodel ©www.apparatus.com/san-francisco-remodel/
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San Francisco Remodel ©www.apparatus.com/san-francisco-remodel/

9. Beach Street Remodel

For this residence, the architects have kept the exterior intact to merge into the neighborhood but played around with the interiors to create larger spaces that open up to each other. The clear minimalistic spaces are enhanced with natural textures like wood, monolithic marble slabs, and custom lighting. To lighten up this stark effect, interior designers have used quirky patterns and pops of color to bring the house together.

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Beach Street Remodel ©www.apparatus.com/beach-street/
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Beach Street Remodel ©www.apparatus.com/beach-street/

 

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Beach Street Remodel ©www.sanfran.com/jay-jeffers-marina-house-makeover

10. San Anselmo Addition

The original house needed 2 bedrooms, a bath, and an expanded living room. The addition was highlighted by the massing of the addition, which was cubical as opposed to the horizontality of the original structure. The palette is largely natural and largely subdued not only for exteriors but also for interiors to merge harmoniously with the existing.

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San Anselmo Addition ©www.apparatus.com/san-anselmo-addition/
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San Anselmo Addition ©www.apparatus.com/san-anselmo-addition/
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San Anselmo Addition ©www.apparatus.com/san-anselmo-addition/

11. Frances

Envisioned as a casual neighborhood bistro by Chef Melissa Perello, Frances is compact yet graceful. Using light walls, raw natural finishes, and a sleek wine rack, architects have created a space that never overwhelms but leaves a strong impression. 

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Frances ©www.apparatus.com/frances/
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Frances ©www.apparatus.com/frances/
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Frances ©www.apparatus.com/frances/

12. Octavia

As the successor to Frances, Octavia is larger but maintains its lineage seriously with clean walls ending in a slate dado with light wood tabletops. This effect is enhanced by clean ceilings and custom pendant lighting bringing the whole focus on food served. An exposed wooden column in the center brings the whole space together and reminds one of the beauties of simple home-style cooking.

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Octavia ©www.jsfashionista.com/octavia/
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Octavia ©www.jsfashionista.com/octavia/
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Octavia ©www.apparatus.com/octavia/

13. Trestle

As a prix fixe restaurant, Trestle is restrained yet bold. So is its décor: understated but not meek at any point. This comes out in the form of Apparatus’ signature raw wood trusses, the exposed brick wall preserved from the original structure, and strong strokes of artwork used.

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Trestle ©www.apparatus.com/trestle/
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Trestle ©www.apparatus.com/trestle/
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Trestle ©www.apparatus.com/trestle/

14. Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a vegetarian restaurant combined with a yoga studio. In continuation of the usage, the area is open, with a mezzanine floor for kitchen and prep areas. The yoga studio is connected visually to the restaurant by glass doors. The philosophy of the space takes a physical form in the usage of reclaimed woods used and bare earthen walls of the structure, making it an experience with deeper undertones.

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Ubuntu ©www.designtodesign.com/designtodesign_journal/2009/10/26/ubuntu-restaurant-by-apparatus-architecture.html
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Ubuntu ©www.designtodesign.com/designtodesign_journal/2009/10/26/ubuntu-restaurant-by-apparatus-architecture.html
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Ubuntu ©www.designtodesign.com/designtodesign_journal/2009/10/26/ubuntu-restaurant-by-apparatus-architecture.html

15. Cyclismo Cafe

Fuelled by the feeling of community and an active lifestyle, this quirky restaurant deconstructs a cycle to enhance the space and prompt people to keep moving.

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Cyclismo Cafe ©www.medium.com/@Bedrock02/cyclismo-cafe-596f87ef2118
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Cyclismo Cafe ©www.workfrom.co/cyclismo-cafe-redwood-city-93237
Author

Pragya Shukla, a young architect, is currently practicing in city of Lucknow. Her interests include reading, hanging out with dogs and cruising the city for a good cup of tea. She aspires to write extensively on socio-cultural aspects of architecture and have a practice based on reasearch and social advocacy.

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