San Francisco-based Studio 12 Architecture had the opportunity to transform a small footprint of undeveloped property near Precita Park into two tall, gracefully interconnected homes. The genius behind this small-site solution is an inner courtyard that infuses the two four story units with natural light and offers those inside a good look at Bernal Hill and the surrounding neighborhood. We recently had a chance to take a look inside this brilliant renovation during the Architecture and the City Festival - hit the jump for our exclusive photos!
One of the Harrison Street Residences lies parallel to the street, cloaking the inner courtyard and allowing for greater privacy, space and light shared within a dense urban area. The second residence faces mirror-image backyards. Each backyard is one square patch of concrete with ample room for a barbeque and one square patch of living roof with access to an underground studio space.
A rooftop terrace further expands the livable space and encourages an intimacy with the surrounding beauty of Bernal Heights. The austere minimalism of the master bathroom holds no pretense of privacy and the lack of doors reinforces the experience of openness to one’s environment. A side-by-side shower and toilet left us wondering where we’d leave the soap, but an independently installed shelf in one of many half bathrooms answered that query.
Hydronic radiant floor heating and a living roof are the high-efficiency elements of this design. The developer did consider LED lighting and passive solar heating, but cost and aesthetic incongruity shelved those bright green ideas. “Despite the disappointment, I’m certainly happy such a large residential project can operate at some measure of efficiency,” said Studio 12 Principal Jeff Burris.
A lot is accomplished and subtly suggested by strategically stacking these two residences. The design provokes new awareness of how architecture affects our daily lives and relationships. In this case, the lost identity of neighbors. For more photos of Harrison Street 1×2 and other 2011 AIA Home Tour picks, take a look at Inhabitat’s Flickr.