American Institute of Architects hosted its 9th annual San Francisco Living: Home Tours as part of the Architecture and the City Festival. The theme this year was “Architecture of Consequence”. Each home on the tour demonstrated how progressive design and creative problem solving can address society’s current challenges and lead to a more sustainable future. First stop on the tour was the Hill Street Residence, a small single family residence originally built in the 1970's on a steeply sloping site in Dolores Heights.
John Maniscalco Architecture has had plenty of projects hobbled by historical preservation policies (a common complaint from progressive architects attempting to rebuild historic San Francisco) so a complete rebuild of a mid-century modern home was a welcome alternative to a Victorian renovation.
A front addition incorporated the detached illegal second unit while simultaneously lowering the home to allow for easier access to the main interiors. After climbing a short outdoor staircase, visitors enter the building, but don’t altogether leave the exterior experience. Bamboo shoots up a sky-lit two-story stairway and contrasts systems of vertical movement with the site’s expansive horizontal views.
The exterior landscape crosses over into the interior corridor with seamless indoor-outdoor transitions. Framing urban views in the front of the house, “the tree tops, the simple Victorians, and as much sky as we could carve out,” further emphasizes the intimate and distant spatial relationships that connect this airy modern home high on a hill to the melodious San Francisco sites below.
The project incorporated many green design elements: extensive daylighting, engineered lumber throughout, Forest Stewardship Council rated flooring, siding, and cabinets, low-voc paints, low energy insulated glazing, denim insulation, fly-ash concrete, high efficiency furnaces and hot water heater, low flow toilets.
A seriously steep hike home is well rewarded with this garden-infused, holistic mid-century modern renovation.