Gallery House / Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects

© Tim Griffith

Architects: Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects
Location: , CA, USA
Principals: Luke Ogrydziak, Zoë Prillinger
Project Team: Haemi Chang, Leo Henke, Yasmin Vobis, Gisela Schmoll
Daylighting Consultant: Loisos + Ubbelohde
Building Structural Engineering: Santos + Urritia
Façade Structural Engineering: DeSimone Consulting Engineers
General Contractor: Forsythe General Contractors
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Tim Griffith

Hybrid program

This project proposes a new domestic typology: a ‘gallery house’. It combines a semi-public art gallery and a residence for two prominent collectors who have redefined what it means to live with and look after art. The clients, a virologist and a mathematician, exclusively collect work by female contemporary artists and feel compelled to share and promote their collection, not only with friends but also with the larger art world. They requested a home within which both their extensive collection and visitors could circulate from a semi-public gallery through to the domestic space, each zone offering a different environment for experiencing the work. The street-level gallery hosts exhibitions curated from their private collection as well as the collections of friends. A site for artist and curator talks, the gallery increases public engagement in the arts within the art world as well as at the scale of their own neighborhood. Extending and redefining the exhibition space as it continues up the stairs to the next two floors and the penthouse sculpture garden, the domestic zone includes even the most private spaces in the exhibition circuit by virtue of its open plan.

© Tim Griffith
© Tim Griffith

Figural voids

The site is an infill lot bordering South Park, one of the few figural public spaces in San Francisco. This distinctive urban condition informed the search for an abstract architectural language that explores the interlocking clarity of figure-ground relationships and the liminality of their edge conditions. The design process began by seeing the base condition of the lot as solid poche, already full. The solid mass of the buildable envelope was then incised and subdivided into interlocking elements. The space of the lot was comprehensively partitioned and the interlocking figures identified as solid or void, and assigned various programs. In this manner, the original fullness of the space was articulated and accounted-for, resulting in a perceptible heaviness in the built project.

exploded axo
© Tim Griffith

Soft edges

The solids and voids slide past each other, indifferent to the abstract 4 x 5 x 4 Cartesian framework that informs the structural system. Within the house, the matrix reinforces the divisions of space implicit in the allocation of solids and voids. But at the facade that meets South Park, the orthogonal framework dissolves and reassembles to emulate the organic morphology of the tree-filled park. The tessellations flex to create a volumetric inhabitable space for balconies on the upper two floors. This swollen threshold resulted from an exhaustive taxonomy of parametric interpretations of the Planning Code constraints for allowable projections that trigger the typical San Francisco bay window. The soft geometries of the facade screen reappear in the ‘mathematical-organic’ pavers and succulents at the rooftop sculpture garden.

© Tim Griffith
© Tim Griffith

Sustainability / daylighting

The envelope of the house responds to the temperate but varied climate and weather of San Francisco with a nuanced ability to shelter and protect from the cold fog, then open for full connection to sun and breeze. Radiant floors warm the interior while large operable walls connect the large rooms to the park and trees on the southeast and the city as view to the northwest. In contrast to the horizontal expansion offered by the operable walls on both residential floors front and back, a green roof with drought-resistant plants is pierced with skylights to bring surprising and intense daylight to the deeper interior rooms. Over the 55′ high vertical space of the stairs, a sawtooth roof washes the space and art with even north light. In the gallery, the south storefront diffusing glass is coupled with a northern skylight over the back display wall, providing daylight for the art throughout the cycles of the day and the year. The house and gallery track the climatic and sky cycles, from east to west and blue sky to fog, locating the occupants in a building that engages in the city with little reliance on bought fuels and off-site energy.

Cite: "Gallery House / Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects" 20 Jul 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • Yorik

    Very good, I liked the well proportioned balance between complexity and simplicity. Also, I liked how sustainability is treated, simple and coherent.

    Congrats to archdaily too, I noticed more and more articles consider sustainability simply as a parameter to assess the value of a building, like functionality or integration, which is IMHO the proper way to consider it, every building should have some degree of sustainability and no building is special only because it is sustainable

  • Tyler

    I work around the corner from this place and I love it. The steel plate stair volume looks as soft as velvet up close, and the first floor gallery ceiling is gorgeous. Often, architectural details of substandard quality can be masked by photographs, so I’m happy to report that the detailing in this case are nice and tight. Forsythe Construction produces impecable work. And of course, Tim Griffith delivers top notch images, as usual. It was great fun walking by the sight during construction, day after day, seeing it come together.

    But then, one day, they added the spider web to the facade, and I was so dissappointed. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for ‘genetic algorithms’ and ‘parametric interpretations’ and all that, but this building was SO much better without it. Not only does the reality fall short of the concept, but the detailing of this element doesn’t live up to that of the rest of the project. The steel isn’t finished, and the welding is messy. It just looks like a cheap trendy after-thought.

    Still, I smile when see it… …a beautiful addition to South Park. …Great Stuff!

  • Liana Lunardelli

    RT @helenadegreas: Povo arquitetura:projeto bem resolvido.Descontar"monstrinho"na cobertura.Gallery House/Ogrydziak Prillinger Archs

  • Jason

    I truly love this project. Beautifully thought out and executed. But yet again the description makes me sad. Can we all as architects just get over ourselves? A new typology!? Really? It’s a gallery and residence. This has been done before. Many times. In similar contexts.

  • Jason

    Also… once again, ArchDaily, the “enlarged” images are absurdly undersized. Some of us aren’t running our monitors at 800×600 resolutions and have not been for over a decade. Maybe it could be standard practice to make the images large enough to enjoy?

    • Nico Saieh


      We didn’t choose to show the images “undersized”, that’s the size the architects shared the images with us. If you check almost all the projects, we show images with enough resolution so you can enjoy.

  • Jason

    On a critical note about the actual project itself… It does sort of seem like the designers went through a checklist of every exercise undertaken by every architecture student throughout their education and then just threw them all into one project. Nowhere is this more evident than the pasted on South Park facade. Solid/Void, check. Sliding planes, check. Dissolving framework responding to the “organic morphology of the tree-filled park”, check.

    It’s easy to overlook this stew of architecture school exercises, however, because in this case it just happens to work. But it’s worth mentioning anyway.

  • Michael Baugus

    Some nice visual interest here- Gallery House / Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects

  • dan debuf

    san francisco dream home:

  • squidly

    i find the detailing wanting. i never fail to be bothered by steel vanishing into gyp bd ethers. i’m sure this is a nice place to live, but the circulation is banal and lacking in any surprise, which i’m surprised to find in a residence for clients so intuned with the arts.

  • Nicholas Patten

    I'd Live Here: Gallery House.

  • Danuzza Cavalcante

    RT @nicholaspatten: I'd Live Here: Gallery House.

  • maiasylba

    Me too:) I'd Live Here: Gallery House. via @nicholaspatten

  • Lilli Keifer

    …and located in heavenly San Francisco, WIN! RT@maiasylba Me too:) I'd Live Here: Gallery House. via @nicholaspatten

  • Ryan

    I completely agree with tyler … I loved seeing this building go together, and knew that the “ornament” on the facade was coming and was dreading the day. Fortunately I have never seen it in the current state.

    Any case, great project. I know peter jeal did a bunch of the interior metal work, great guy and great work. The interior is a quite bit sparse for my taste, but I do think it is (was) the best building in south park.

  • Molly Paul

    beautiful design. reconfiguring nature for urbanites. & living with art within.

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    Looking at: "Gallery House / Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects | ArchDaily"( )

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  • Derek Fernandes
  • Thomas McConnell

    This is a dream home for anyone in the world, thanks for sharing.

    • JM

      Great place. I really like the openness, facade and outdoor areas.