A-to-Z House

San Francisco, California
Location
  • San Francisco, California
  • This project page was created by community member Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    A modest home expands through aggregation, multiplying scaled versions of the original A-type pulled along a twisted Z axis. The result is a double offset – a 2nd story structure to capture sweeping views and a voided landscape carved into the hillside. New forms combine with the old, erasing boundaries.

    The A-to-Z House proposes an alternative to conventional approaches for expanding an outmoded San Francisco home. Perched on a hillside in Golden Gate Heights, a modest single story 1934 developer vernacular structure had limited space and failed to take advantage of expansive views of Sutro Tower, Golden Gate Park, Sausalito, and the Bay. But rather than replacing or merely attaching to the existing structure, the A-to-Z strategy seizes upon the existing forms – scaling, repeating, and manipulating found objects into a contextual collection of structures comprising a dynamic home immersed in its surroundings.

    A new gabled roof structure is inserted at the ridgeline of the existing living room bar, stepping back from the street to reduce mass and nestling into the existing roof to establish a low horizon line. This datum is characterized by a ribbon of operable windows that wrap two corners of the building to take advantage of critical views, accented by to a sawtooth window system and thickened metal edge. Inside, variations of the floor level and ceiling height provide different ways to experience this horizon in each space, from sweeping vista to private lookout.

    As the new gabled structure reaches the carefully terraced back yard, it twists and wraps down around the dining room. This turn along a torqued Z-shaped axis (alternately horizontal and vertical) is held ever so slightly apart from the existing house, using a band of light and the articulation of the ceiling to create meaningful difference out of similar forms.

    Front Elevation 1

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Front Elevation 2

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Back Elevation

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    From Back Patio

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Split Level @ SAWtooth Ribbon Window

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Sunny Vantage Point with Views Over the Bay

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Between two New and Old

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Perched on a Corner

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Bedroom through to the Den

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Ribbon Window from the Den

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Kitchen Opens to Patio

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    SAWtooth Window

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    SAWtooth Window

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    A-to-Z Diagram

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Ground Floor Plan

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    2nd Floor Plan

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Section

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop

    Site Plan

    Photo Courtesy of Spiegel Aihara Workshop
    Posted By
    Spiegel Aihara Workshop
    @spiegel_aihara_workshop
    Spiegel Aihara Workshop (SAW) is a San Francisco-based architectural practice founded by Dan Spiegel and Megumi Aihara. SAW is a transdisciplinary design firm, operating at the nexus of architecture, landscape, and urban design—which allows them to work across scales (from the tactile object to the city) and timelines (from the immediate to the ecological) at the onset of a project. They believe in the transformative power of good design, in the inextricable relationship between building and context, and in the vital role the built environment plays in the development of community.
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