20th Street Residence / SF-OSL

  • 04 Oct 2012
  • Houses Selected Works
© Bruce Damonte

Architects: SF-OSL
Location: , CA, USA
Architect In Charge: Casper Mork Ulnes, Andreas Tingulstad, Grygoriy Ladigin
Landscape Architects: Flora Grubb
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: Bruce Damonte

Project Area: 2,225 sqm
General Contractor: Natal Modica Construction, Inc.
Engineer: Double D Engineering
Metal Work: Defauw Design & Fabrication

The client came to us with a derelict home on 20th street by Potrero Hill.  The client´s had a basic need for an upgrade but also more space – to achieve this it soon became evident that expanding up through the roof was our only way.  This would not only meet their needs, but could potentially take advantage of the view overlooking the San Francisco Bay.  The existing 1575 sq. ft became 2225 sq ft – the private domain would remain on the 2nd floor – while the public functions would rise to an addition on the roof – a classic but clear programmatic division.  We chose to fully comply with all the zoning regulations, and let that be the solution to our design strategies.  We maneuvered through many City issues, but managed to solve the project requirements within the required setback of 15 feet, extending 32 feet in height, all within 175 dollars per sq ft.

© Bruce Damonte

We were not allowed to change the existing façade other than replacing windows and cladding due to the fact that the city had designated this block as historic.  Although we felt that the building itself had no particular historical significance – it was first and foremost a volume – but we felt the block could make sense.  We proceeded by distilling the façade components in order to highlight the common denominator of the individual houses.

© Bruce Damonte

As the home faces south, the new dining and living space would be excessively hot in the sun during the San Francisco’s Indian summer.  We naturally wanted to capture as much of the view as possible, but also ensure that privacy and cooling issues were resolved.  The extension would become an outdoor / indoor space enabling the free roaming from the deck in front, through the public space and back to a formerly unappreciated terraced garden in the rear.  We wanted as big of an expanse as possible, but simultaneously we wanted to allow for privacy – the solution was a flexible sunscreen.  By perforating the skate-ramp cladding with a pixilated image of the street we combined the city setback guidelines, the shading- and the privacy strategy with the City’s wish to embrace the character of this block.

© Bruce Damonte

The once obsolete and underutilized backyard was given new meaning by enabling a continuous loop in-between the private and public functions.  The new indoor stair and the outdoors catwalk bridge now connect the private and secluded 2nd floor to the living area on the 3rd level.  This allows the owners’ two dogs a free passage to the rear yard 24-7.  Our only other injection apart from the color black and the bridge connection was an aim of the highest possible degree of floral diversity – to give the backyard that oasis feeling.

© Bruce Damonte

For the interior we embraced the client’s love of raw construction materials.  They especially wished for many visible and unpainted wooden surfaces combined with brightness and gloss.  We recycled wooden roof joists and custom-built a shelving system.  PSL beams were used for the stair connecting the old house to the new, and OSB sheets connected the 2nd floor to the entry.

© Bruce Damonte

To weave the house into the urban fabric the building was clad in the inexpensive Ramp Armor material, used to make skateboard ramps.  This material, with its precision, makes the building autonomous and differentiates it from the neighboring houses – while simultaneously enhancing the original design by pinpointing the primary components of the original vernacular – in that sense the building once and for all reaches its full potential within the historic envelope.

© Bruce Damonte

Sustainable Design is imperative to us.  For this project we installed solar panels, and reused existing materials and minimized new materials to minimize waste.  Our take on sustainability is foremost about the use of square footage.  In every project – and maybe especially in this renovation and extension, every square foot has been thought through in its intention and objective.  If we detect a spatial blind spot – we make sure it goes away or comes to life.

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Cite: "20th Street Residence / SF-OSL" 04 Oct 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 Aug 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=279137>

4 comments

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    love this project, wish I would have been able to have been on the AIA home tours to see it … don’t love the descrption, though, the house seems so much more inspiring and the description is like a manual … also 175 dollars per sq ft, you are joking, there is no way that includes everything, maybe the rough build-out and some finishes but no way all the custom metal, cabinets and details. Don’t know why this was added, don’t sell yourself short, great job and awesome project!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I’m not wild about the house generally (it’s nice enough, just not my style), but I really like some of the dynamics of it – how the one surface goes from shade to awning, and the bridge to the backyard.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    I did see this house on the home tour and thought they did a nice job. The highlight is indeed the large room upstairs. i also love how they have fulfilled the letter of the planning code with regards to the exterior but not the spirit, it no longer reads as a stodgy Ewardian. But the white OSB floor is a disaster, first it’s white so you see all the dirt and second the uneven surface of OSB catches dirt. Even for the cleanest client, this seems a very poor material choice.

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