The two acres that constitute Greenwood Common in the Berkeley Hills were purchased by the prominent San Francisco Attorney Warren Gregory in the early 1900s. Shortly after purchasing the land Gregory commissioned John Galen Howard to build a house for his family on the property (see Maybeck, Morgan, and Howard section). In 1951, The Wursters (William and Catherine) purchased the Gregory’s property to create a community that reflected their philosophy of socially engaged architecture. Although Wurster initially intended to design his own house on one of the lots, in addition to the purchase he was given the Gregory house designed by J.G. Howard. Wurster, working with Lawrence Halprin, went on to subdivide the land with a shared open space. The individuals who purchased the parcels selected Lawrence Halprin to design the common as well as individual gardens for four of the residences. Haprin’s site plan for the common is pictured here. The individuals who purchased lots then selected their architects: Joseph Esherick, John Funk, Harwell Hamilton Harris, Henry Hill, Robert Klemmedson, Howard Moïse, and Donald Olsen.
For more information about the Greenwood Common see the virtual collection.