Imperative Sustainable Design: 20th Street Residence, San Francisco

Imperative Sustainable Design: 20th Street Residence, San Francisco

One of the greatest challenges is to upgrade a home and bring more space to it. When a client requests to expand the existent living space, you have to take into account the fact that you are more into transforming and adapting a place than starting to develop it from scratch. The SF-OSL team, the architects in charge of renewing the 20th Street Residence, had one question: if the space is limited (due to the fact that we’re talking about a narrow neighbourhood house, guarded at one end and another by other houses) how can the space problem be solved? Eventually, they figured it out: “to achieve this it soon became evident that expanding up through the roof was our only way”. 

The space transformation came with an advantage: a spectacular view over San Francisco Bay. “The existing 1575 sq. ft became 2225 sq ft – the private domain would remain on the 2nd floor – while the public functions would rise to an addition on the roof – a classic but clear programmatic division.”  The street facade, all black has regular windows, in order to protect the inhabitants from the sun, during the hot summer days. The back of the house is a little more breezy, offering a stunning view. The indoor/ outdoor living areas (the open spaces) connect the inhabitants with the interior courtyard, seen as a private oasis of green lush vegetation. The architects tried to minimise the waste of materials and they also installed solar panels. Their concern towards sustainability made them choose for the house’s facade, Ramp Armor material, which is basically used to make skateboard ramps.

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