Ojo del Sol, also known as The Fish House by local residents, is a house designed in 1993 by architect Eugene Tssui. The building was built in a residential neighborhood of Berkeley California between 1994 and 1995. The home name "Ojo del Sol," Spanish for "Eye of the Sun," originates from the fifteen foot diameter eye-like window facing south. According to the architect, the structure is based on the most indestructible living creature in the world, the late.
The building's design is centered around durability, ecology, and sustainability. The building is said to draw upon the physiology of the tardigrade,a creature known for its durability, for its structural strength. In addition, the walls are angled inward at 4 degrees to "create a compressive structure with a low center of gravity further aiding in resistance to lateral turnover forces produced by strong earthquakes."A variety of both standard and non-standard building materials were used including: Concrete, insulating concrete forms, hardwall structural plaster, stucco, non-toxic waterproofing, acrylic, marine fiberglass, douglas fir, recycled wood, and birch veneer plywood.
The house is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature with little grid power. "Water in the black tubes is heated by the sun throughout the day. At night, the stored heat is radiated back into the interior of the walls of the house and provides radiant wall heat." For cooling, the house is set 1.5 meters into the ground, eliminating the need for air conditioning.
Built to resemble one of the most biologically diverse water-dwelling organisms, Tardigrade, this organically designed home mimics the same structural principles that nature uses to create a durable design.
Taking this awareness of nature to a new level, the design firm, Tsui Design & Research, used recycled materials such as styrofoam and concrete blocks to make the home impervious to water , fire and sound. To take matters further, the geometrics of the home create a more secure, aerodynamic, earthquake-resistant structure. For example, the home is a perfect ellipse shape that relieves the friction of the wind. Or, just in case you were concerned, in case of a neighborhood fire, the owners installed four water jets on the outside of the home.
Overall, the Berkley 'Fish House' seems to have been built as if it were a living organism, responding to external stimuli. Just look at it, with its scales, fins, and gills, one would almost expect it to begin to breathe.
This hidden gem in Berkeley, California is located near some other must-see places of interest:
- Cafe Ohlone
- Games of Berkeley
- Morrison Library
- Fairy Post Office
- Founders Rock
- The Vine Street UFO
- East Bay Vivarium
- Indian Rock
All of these wonderful - but not so well known - attractions are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek, California! Stop by for a visit anytime!