Mondrian's Window

San Francisco, CA
Architects
Form4 Architecture
Location
San Francisco, CA
Year
2012

Designed for two artists, this rear addition to a one-bedroom house symbolizes the 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.

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.

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.

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