- San Francisco
This new house in San Francisco includes a small front building with a garage on grade and a painting studio above and a three-story 2500 sq ft. house in the back with a courtyard between the two.
The design for this house plays with two sectional moves, one horizontally by introducing a courtyard in between the house and the painting studio and one vertically by digging the ground floor of the house the same level as the front street and garage. These two moves result in a creating a powerful interplay between inside and outside and between the different levels of the house and studio. Now light and transparency are used to create dramatic spaces both inside and out. The courtyard house is an unusual typology for San Francisco houses where many lots are too shallow to accommodate them. The extra 50' of depth of this lot permits the introduction of the open courtyard and alleviates one of the major problems with San Francisco houses, which are invariably dark in the middle since they are deep and only get light from the front and the back.
The main floor of the house consists of an open plan for the living room, dining room, and kitchen, unctuated with a double height volume for the stairs. The kitchen counter, the cabinetry of the kitchen, and the living room form a singular zone of service. The floors are integral colored, acid-etched concrete with radiant heating. The exposed steel frame is infilled with transparent, translucent, and opaque glass.
The upper floor is a master suite consisting of the master bedroom, the master bath, and a study. The master bedroom has a glass bay window oriented toward the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay. It reintroduces the form of the all glass bay at the front of the studio, which is also capturing the bridge view. The glass on the north wall is pulled back from the property line to allow for an exterior deck that allows diffuse light to the rooms below.
Appropriate solar orientation, specialized glass coatings, natural air and ventilation and a careful selection of environmentally sensitive materials all contribute to make this a green building.
Appropriate solar orientation, utilization of natural light and ventilation, application of appropriate technologies, and selection of environmentally selective materials all contribute to a ‘green' building that is a residential model of sustainability in an urban environment
Solar orientation. The house maximizes large expanses of glazing facing north and south. Glazing on east and west orientations was minimized. This allows greater utilization of thermal mass, blocking excess heat from entering the building. Also, south facing building overhangs were calculated to shade harsh summer light and allow winter light to penetrate and warm the interior.
Natural Daylight. Floor-to-ceiling glazing that faces the courtyard spaces allows for a light filled interior protected from excessive solar gain. The louvered street façade allows ample glazing behind while protecting the resident's privacy. The result throughout the home is generous ample daylight that reduces the need for artificial lighting and raises the
comfort level for the residents. Also, all glazing is insulated to protect against heat loss and has a low-e coating, reducing solar gain.
Natural Ventilation. Organized around a central, multi-story courtyard, all habitable spaces in this home features ample operable glazing to allow for natural ventilation. The courtyard is accessed by large glass sliding doors on all levels. Together with an open stairwell, a ‘stack ventilation' effect allows the building to expel excess heat without mechanical equipment.
Mechanical Systems. Heating is provided by radiant concrete floors, eliminating the need for ductwork and a furnace. Solar hot water panels above the second story roof deck pre-heat the water, which then warms
concrete floors in each room. Energy usage is significantly lower and more efficient than the traditional forced air system. The quality of heat is also more uniform and comfortable for the residents.
Renewable energy. The primary energy source in this home comes from photovoltaic panels on the third story roof. The panels provide more energy than is necessary for daily life in a residential structure, even in foggy San Francisco. This minimizes reliance on traditional electricity sources supplied by power companies.
Efficient artificial lighting. The required artificial lighting primarily uses high efficiency, dimmable, T-5 florescent tubes. This omits the need for commonly found incandescent recessed ceiling cans, which are less efficient. The dimmable florescent tubes allow the residents to adjust the light levels as necessary.
Low VOC & sustainable finishes. The interior paint and other interior finishes are low VOC. Also, the added insulation in the walls is formaldehyde free.