San Francisco, California
On a sloping lot, with views to the west, the architects were asked to design a house for a family in an urban setting that would express the client and designers’ shared love of simple materials and clean detailing, and the desire for well juxtaposed spaces.
Design concept and solution:
The main floor sits at garden level, and contains the common spaces and bedrooms, with a view balcony at the front of the house that extends from the living room, and a large kitchen/dining area that opens to rear, outdoor living spaces. The lower portion of the house holds a guest room, children’s playroom, a media room, and utilities.
A roof deck is inserted at the top of the house and functions as a continuation of the garden living space. The roof deck also provides a unique connection to the surrounding hills speckled with San Francisco neighborhoods.
A detached garden studio is located at the rear of the property. This small satellite structure serves as a home office, and as additional family space.
Concrete walls form the sides of the house, and continue to the rear to enclose the backyard. A third concrete wall extends vertically from the garage structure below to form the fireplace and chimney. This use of concrete provides thermal mass for energy efficiency. The concrete absorbs heat energy during the day, keeping the interior comfortable, and helps to maintain a moderate, baseline temperature for the cooler evenings. Since the house is located in a relatively dense urban area, the concrete walls also add protection against fire.
Between the perimeter concrete walls, the architects used a combination of transparent glass and wood-skinned walls. The Ipe wood skin is devised as a double wall system, in which horizontal Ipe strips are placed over vertical, furring strips, allowing ventilation between the skin and the underlying wall, thus avoiding heat buildup in the wall and interior spaces.
Total construction cost:
Architect of record:
CAD system, project management, or other software used: ArchiCad, Graphisoft
Interior Sliding steel Partition Door, Custom Fabrication TTA
Paints and stains:
Floor and wall tile: