Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Hill House in California by CARY BERNSTEIN ARCHITECT
February 21st, 2018 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: CARY BERNSTEIN ARCHITECT
The complete renovation of a non-descript and well-worn, 1930’s mid-block bungalow created a new home for a young San Francisco family. Through a modest addition and comprehensive transformation, the house was reconceived for modern living. Hill House brings the hill inside, integrating the domestic architecture with the site’s unique topography.
Capitalizing on a wide lot, the existing house was expanded laterally to the side property lines, to the front and to the rear, increasing the living area from 1,100sf to 1,800sf without adding a story. The newly amplified, split section adds spatial differentiation within the open living areas, mitigates construction challenges on the steep slope and establishes a design physically and metaphorically at one with its site. Five skylights, three clerestories and plentiful full-height windows infuse the house with daylight. Long, short and medium range views provide layered relationships to the site and city.
Rigorous, ship-like planning ensured limited waste by integrating storage into thickened walls and floors. A cavity under the raised floor at the dining area provides built-in drawers for shoes, while the raised floor itself serves as a bench. Kitchen equipment is housed within a long storage wall, keeping counters and views across the open interior uncluttered. Dressers and hampers are built into closets, reducing furniture needed in the small footprint of the bedrooms. The hall is lined with bookshelves, laundry and utility cabinets, giving this transitory space multiple functions.
Material application reinforces the building organization. Stone circulation paths make visual and physical connections from street to landscape. Iron-spot clay tile wraps the building base, creating an earthy plinth for the wood-clad volume above. Stained wood flooring and walnut veneer paneling enhance the warmth of the interior. Handmade ceramic tiles add a layer of serendipitous irregularity and shadow play.
The commitment to sustainability started with the clients’ choice to live in a compact house on an urban site near a transit corridor. Demolition was managed through deconstruction and recycling. Sustainable construction includes: hydronic radiant heat; high-performance, solar-ready boiler; engineered wood framing and flooring; FSC-certified cedar siding; locally made materials; ample daylight and cross ventilation; low-VOC paint; principal use of fluorescent & LED lighting and drought-tolerant landscaping.
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