This is the most photographed house in Berkeley. It is the crown jewel of Berkeley Quirk as manifested in architecture. Hands down. No doubt. Not even close.
Mathews Street, especially this sleepy block just west of San Pablo Park, is a street that is otherwise conventional to a fault, that is otherwise without quirk.
And here is a big house in the shape of a fish. Technically, it is the shape of a tardigrade, which as every schoolboy knows is a small, water-dwelling, segmented micro-animal. Not a fish.
But back at the ranch – a fish house. Everybody calls it the fish house, including Tssui. What to say? Ludicrous!
The bottom photo is from the rear of the house. The tendrils (?) emerging from the house serve as escape slides in the event of the need to escape.
The short story behind the house:
The parents of architect Eugene Tssui moved to Berkeley from Minneapolis. They wanted a safe house. Tssui researched and determined that the tardigrade was the most indestructible creature on the planet. He designed the house based on the tardigrade, able to withstand fire, flood, termites, and earthquake.This website details construction and design.
Tssui is a self-described polymath, meaning he is good at many things. Architecture, gymnastics, boxing, piano, flamenco guitar, flamenco dancing. And more. Furniture design. Clothing design.
As a rule, my articles in Berkeleyside are condensed versions of these Quirky Berkeley posts. Not here. With Tssui, my articles in Berkeleyside are condensed here. Check them out for the full deal on Tssui, the house, and the young people drawing from its creative design today.