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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.

For more photos of this Hill Street home and other 2011 AIA Home Tour picks, take a look at our Flickr page here.