Longtime art collectors George Bradley and Eddie Baba collaborated on the ‘Buena Vista’ house in San Francisco’s Upper Castro neighborhood. The home is situated on a steep triangular lot with breathtaking views towards Sutro Tower and Bernal Heights. The original house on the site was used as a bomb shelter in 1941, and architect George Bradley subtly carried on this theme with reclaimed old growth Redwood siding sourced nearby from Hanger One at Moffett Field, and decorative WWII era steel buoys placed within the landscaping. We had a chance to tour this inspiring project during last month's AIA SF House Tours - read on for a closer look!
The lower level of the house remains bunker-like, emerging from the site like a pedestal for the main upper level that is reached by an exterior steel and concrete staircase leading to the large-scale Redwood front door.
An au pair unit with a separate entrance is located at the lowest level, still high above the street. On top the concrete plinth foundation, two solid wood-clad volumes are connected by a tall glass atrium at the center of the house. The two solid sides brace the house on what is a somewhat dizzyingly steep and sharp angled site.
Inside the home, quiet bedrooms and a library are tucked below the kitchen, entry lobby and living room on the main level. The top level holds the master suite and outdoor roof deck, connected by a catwalk along the central atrium that cantilevers over the main entry. The south-facing central atrium also passively heats the house, along with radiant flooring. Expansive walls lining the side masses provide ample space for the homeowners’ carefully curated art collection amassed over the past 14 years.
The artwork – playful, architectural, and delightful products of known designers and somewhat unknown local artisans – can be found throughout the home. A Zeppelin chandelier lamp by Flos hangs over the main door, illuminating the atrium at night. Locally sourced tile from Heath Ceramics lines the fireplace and kitchen backsplash. Several works came from Creativity Explored, a local nonprofit that provides artists with developmental disabilities the means to create, exhibit, and sell their art.
A Jens Quistgaard Safari chair sits in the main living room and a collection of his colored pots accent the kitchen. Local glass artist Jonah Ward has two major works in the home – a three panel molten glass / burnt wood piece and a nine panel glass sculpture series. Several vintage Eames and Dansk furniture pieces were also spotted in the home.
Perhaps the most entertaining works were the models of famous architecture, such as Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, constructed from LEGO bricks. We look forward to seeing more works, in LEGO and in full scale, by architect George Bradley.
Photos by Piper Kujac for Inhabitat