1028 Natoma Street / Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects

Architects: Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects
Location: San Francisco, CA,
Project year: 2004-2005
Photographs: Natoma Architects

This project, on a twenty-five-by-eighty-foot lot next to 1022 Natoma Street, continues the investigation of San Francisco infill buildings. At the street level are parking and entrance lobby; above are four stacked units. One thickened party wall provides vertical access and a light court. The other acts as a service zone, condensing kitchens, bathrooms, laundry, and storage behind sliding glass doors.

second floor plan

Floating walls divide the free space in the center, which is finished with a variety of materials all in different shades of white. The front facade has a bay-window silhouette constructed of horizontal aluminum bar grating, which provides both shading for the southern exposure and a veil shielding the city beyond. The surfaces behind the bay are sheathed in perforated metal.

Cite: "1028 Natoma Street / Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects" 06 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=27802>
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  • NM


    • http://www.josephiklein.com Joe Klein

      What doors are those can i get a manufactures name? plz been looking for doors like that for a long time.

  • rebound2000

    very elegant. I have a concern though. How to clean the sliding doors facing out onto the road? From the detail they dont look like they swing round…

  • M

    Very nice, but why are there 2 staircases? It’s a one-family house…

  • rebound2000

    M – it’s a series of apartments not an individual dwellings

  • sullka

    M it’s an apartment building.

    HOwever, you’re correct, you’re just pointing out to a dumb regulation in US architecture, atleast in some states and cases, and this one is a good example.

    You have to have 2 means of egress, no matter how small your building is. In these cases the emergency stairs aren’t based on buidling size nor occupancy, nor minimum distance to the stair, it’s just a law, you have to have 2 of them.

    I find that nonsense, specially in cases like this one, probably half the space in each floor is going to be circulation.

  • http://vistadoobservador.blogspot.com Thiago Beck

    I found this project to be very concise and objective, except for the 2-stair regulation wich is dumb. I enjoyed the way aluminum bars turned out to look lie one big solid mass.I also really like open plans like this. Congratulations.

  • Joshua

    @sullka and m

    According to the section, one of them is to the car/park garage and the other serves the main entry. But you’re right sullka, it’s ridiculous.

    I wonder if one of them could have been an exterior stair? Perhaps if used across the front facade reoriented 90 degrees it might serve as the required shading and also as a means of cleaning the sliding doors as mentioned above? Would entail replannign the space to push all of the bedrooms to the back maybe.

  • http://vistadoobservador.blogspot.com Thiago Beck

    Just one thing. If the regulations are so strict the 2 stairs are mandatory, what about railings? I haven’t noticed them! Please enlighten me!

  • http://www.archdaily.com David Basulto [tricky]


    They are there, I visited this building a few months ago. We just didn´t had images of the stairs.

    I want to add that one that the volume on the left contains the apartments, and the other volume contains the offices for Natoma Arch.

  • Kate

    Only one bedroom each? What am I missing?

  • http://www.archdaily.com David Basulto [tricky]


    1 bedroom apartments are very typical in some cities, for young professionals with no kids for example.

  • JustinM

    Love the open plan design. Love the straight lines.

    Love the shade over the front/sides of the building. Anyone know exactly what they’re made of? I assume metal but does anyone know the exact product?

  • Kate

    Well, not very typical over here.. but thanks for the intel!

  • M

    Thank you guys for explanation. It’s a weird regulation with those 2 stairs.

    Now I remind myself all those US movies in which bad guys are escaping evacuation stairs on the outside of the building :]

    In Poland, for example, the number of staircases depends on the area of a floor and is connected with the lenght of a escape route.

  • http://vistadoobservador.blogspot.com Thiago Beck

    Thanks David for the info!

  • http://www.twitter.com/tgphipps Terry Glenn Phipps

    To me this is a non-response to the vernacular. Admittedly, there are valid reasons to ignore context in much of San Francisco but it seems to me that there ought to be at least be some kind of acknowledgement of what the city is. At the end of the day this is a box that responds to the need for volume and the building code.

  • JuanLuisBurke

    Finally somebody mentions the architectural context in which this box has been inserted, and the way it has been completely and utterly ignored. Whether this building is worthy of the space it took up or not, I find it inadmissible that architects do not, for a minute, regard the spirit of the place, and so easily go and alter an environment that is historically and aesthetically worthy of some respect.

  • http://metrozoe.blogspot.com/ Metrozoe

    I have to chime in about the context as well. I think it is pretty much a draw – the street is a mix of industrial and Victorian – so you could make a claim for either context. Still, seeing this next to that Victorian makes my heart fall. I like Stanley’s work but this is a scaleless and arid facade in a part of town that probably needs humanizing architecture at the pedestrian level more.

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  • Frank Phelps

    At the end of the day this building is testament to the diversity of the cities inhabitants

  • zenon


  • roberto

    Terry Glenn, Juan Luis + Metrozoe: not contextual… come now, do you not acknowledge the full spectrum of response (oftentimes mutually exclusive) to the multiplicity of context (spatial, financial, racial, zeitgeist, etc)?

    Do tell, if the facade was a perfect mirror, would you find that contextually responsive?

    • Metrozoe

      Hi Roberto,

      I don’t understand your first paragraph. It’s packed like a bouillon cube. My head exploded. So I’m not really going to be able to give you a good reply.

      To set the record straight, my post was an observation of my experience to this specific building, which includes my relationship to the neighborhood, and it’s needs over a period of 18 years.

      Here is where I am going – my own bouillon cube – , thinking about my time at Berkeley getting my M.Arch, I think it’s easier to talk about “architecture” than a building, in the same way it is easier for some to talk about “people” than a person.

      So I’ve decided to speak to my own experiences when talking about a building and let theory catch up and shape-shift to fit that experience.

      OTOH You do not include your thoughts on this building and so don’t expose yourself. You take a purely theoretical stance and from a safe distance school Mssrs. Terry Glenn, Juan Luis and myself.

      If you want to talk with us, join us.


  • Gordon Anderson

    The building refers to its context, the aluminum faced volume projects and is glazed, it IS a bay window. What is the essence of the Victorian townhouses? The neo-classical detailing? The fake dentils? The design distills the useful from the gimcrackery. Must we be forever mired in the past?