Designed for two artists this rear addition to a one-bedroom house symbolizes architecture of linearity and sequence, where all of the rooms across the three-stories have a sightline, progressively more expansive as one moves higher, overlooking a downward sloping garden and panoramas of the Bay to the North.
At the ground level, the existing garage opens onto a new studio that opens onto the garden beyond. Connected by a spiral staircase in the studio, the second level comprises an existing street-facing parlor and previously windowless bedroom, which now opens onto a multi-use space for painting and yoga. The existing kitchen and dining room on the third floor open onto a live/work space that also doubles as a space in which to entertain. The view of the Bay increases as one ascends.
Built on a lot narrower than the typical San Francisco 25-foot parcel, this three-story infill project is not visible from the street; instead the existing 1,900-square-foot residence forms the primary façade of the new 1,400 square-foot addition.
The addition to the house opens up the space to provide room for creative work and an abundance of natural light. The original spaces gain more breathing room while continuing to cater to everyday functions. These areas were kept in the Edwardian/Arts and Crafts style in deference to two generations of artists who lived in the house prior to the current owners.
The rear elevation, now the primary façade of the house, is rich in explicit formal references. They range from the Dutch cabinet maker/architect Gerrit Rietveld for volumetric composition, to Dutch painter Piet Mondrian for the subdivision of the glazing and its coloring, and contemporary New York architect Richard Meier for the expression of frames containing the individual windows in and out of the primary building envelope. In Roman mythology, Janus is a god with two faces: one looking toward the future and the other toward the past. Similarly, the addition to this one-bedroom house overlooking the Bay represents a creative front where artwork is carried out, whereas the existing part allocated to routine functions faces the street.
Through a language of planes, a much larger scale is hinted at than what the current footprint really affords. In breaking down the smaller elements blatant symmetry is avoided while simultaneously remaining elusive. As a result, there is some symmetry in the middle floor, wherein the sectional ins and outs activate the default flatness of the elevation. Selective use of dichroic glass suggests further scale as a pursuit of optical vibrancy. These bold primary colors are repeated in the two main worktables’ bright colored glass tabletops. The wall surface is broken up into planes in the color palette of the California morning.
Location San Francisco, CA
John Marx + Nikki Beach, San Francisco, CA
Bruce Damonte Photography, Inc.
F4 Team: John Marx / Ho Man Wong / Nathan Reasons
2015 Honorable Mention, International Design Awards
2014 Interior Residential Built, Honorable Mention, Re-thinking the Future Award
2014 World’s Top 100 Designs of 2014, Architecture 256 Magazine
2014 Residential Interior Design Award, 12th Modern Decoration International Media Award
2013 Award of Merit, Renovated Single House, Gold Nugget Awards