The A-to-Z House by SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop wins a 2017 Architecture Award from the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIASF).
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.
San Francisco, CA
Architect: Dan Spiegel, SAW
Landscape Architect: Megumi Aihara, SAW
Project Collaborators: Dustin Stephens, Monica Sanga, Osma Dossani
Structural Engineer: Strandberg Engineering
Photography: Bruce Damonte
SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop is a multidisciplinary design team with backgrounds in art and public policy, and primary expertise in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, and education. SAW approaches design as a collaborative, research based process. SAW believes 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.