[highlight1] Flip House [/highlight1]
Anne Fougeron and her firm in San Francisco. Their Flip House reconfigures a townhouse in their home city to reconnect it to its urban and natural context. Like many houses in San Francisco , the house had to deal with various problems on the ground with its sloping topography and solar orientation. The architects have reformulated the rear of the house with its main facade with faceted glass wall custom … Divided into three vertical panels that grow inside and out, this dynamic prism brings light and animation and spectacular views in every communal space.
- Flip House places the spectacular faceted glass facade facing to the rear to capitalize on sunlight and sweeping views, with bedrooms moved to the front. Disconnected stairways between the three floors were sorted out with a single stairwell that improves circulation. The street-side entry opens onto a foyer that leads to the central stairs and a guest room/den.
Located in San Francisco, Flip House was created by Fougeron Architecture with one aim in mind – to reconnect an existing building with its striking landscape. The result is a light, modernist building with a huge custom-built glass facade to the rear and a new open plan layout which sees each level integrated via. a single stairwell, improving circulation and creating a communal living space and kitchen at the same time. The street level entry now leads to a spacious foyer, from which the guest room can be accessed without disturbing the other residents.
“The house was like a pancake before, with floors stacked on top of each other and no relation between them,” says Fougeron. “So we came up with a design where the window system isn’t visibly interrupted by the different levels.” Also enhancing the view, the flow of space, and the light is a semitranslucent staircase of 3/16 – inch perforated steel, bent to form treads and risers. A canopy of perforated steel also defines the dining area and mimics the rear facade as it dips over the stairwell.
A strong practical reason motivated this $850,000, 3,056-square-foot renovation. The name “Flip House” refers to how Fougeron flipped the public and private quarters in plan. Two modestly sized children’s bedrooms now face the street above the garage and main entrance on the lower level, and the kitchen/dining/living area is integrated into one expansive space in back. The new layout enables the clients to isolate the kids’ wing and entertain in peace, simply by closing a pocket door. (A master suite—a previous addition by another architect—sits on the roof.)
This radical reinterpretation of a typical San Francisco rowhouse wowed the jury. “It reinvents the rowhouse renovation typology in a way that’s so fresh,” observed one judge. Architect Anne Fougeron, FAIA, opted to flip the home’s floor plan, placing the main living spaces at the rear of the building and the bedrooms at the front. She consolidated its vertical circulation, removing a series of disconnected staircases in favor of one main, perforated-metal stairwell. The new design also replaces most of the rear façade with a dramatic, faceted glass wall.
- This creative arrangement scoops up views of the city and plays with natural light. “The view is off to the side, and we wanted to respond to that,” says principal Anne Fougeron, FAIA. “Now there’s a relationship between the different floors without making the house substantially bigger.”
The architect answered some questions about the Flip House project:
What were the circumstances of receiving the commission for this project?
- This commission was a single-family home remodel for a private client. We were selected based on references and portfolio of work similar in style desired by client.
Can you describe your design process for the building?
- Several conceptual options were generated by the office and presented to the client, who settled on an option with a few revisions through the collaborative process. The resulting design was contextual in nature – responding to the constraints of the existing home and site. The challenge was to reconnect a plain San Francisco home to its striking landscape, light, and views, and transform its confusing program with a new modernist aesthetic. We flipped the home’s façade and interior space to reinvent its typology and capture views of its natural and urban site.
How does the completed building compare to the project as designed? Were there any dramatic changes between the two and/or lessons learned during construction?
- The original design included a reimagining of the existing front façade as well as the rear. This portion of scope was omitted because of budgetary constraints.
How does the building compare to other projects in your office, be it the same or other building types?
- Like all projects in the office, this building exhibits a strong commitment to clarity of thought, design integrity and quality of architectural detail. This building also responds to its situation and context with a uniquely urban point of view.
How does the building relate to contemporary architectural trends, be it sustainability, technology, etc.?
- This project represents the latest iteration of a custom steel framed window wall system. Using composite built-up steel shapes, we achieved a faceted dynamic geometry. The system takes into account stringent energy efficiency requirements with insulated glazing, thermal breaks, and the latest sealant technologies.
How would you describe the architecture of California and how does the building relate to it?
- While modern design has undergone a remarkable renaissance in California, we are now bound by the tyranny of consumerism. With infinite choices, we all eventually want the same thing. We call this the “Dwell-Light “ phenomenon, where one type of modernism has come to the forefront of residential design. This home attempts to move away from this trend with a fresh voice and perspective.
Flip House is entered at street level and guests encounter a streamlined foyer with the staircase rising from this space. The guest accommodation is the only living area at this level so offers visitors an extra degree of privacy and separateness from the main house.
The Challenge: To reconnect an erratic San Francisco home to its striking landscape, light, and views and transform its confusing program with a new modernist aesthetic.
The Design: A complete flip of the home’s facade and interior spaces that reinvents its typography and captures all advantages of its natural and urban site.
Like many San Francisco homes, this one poorly integrated its many levels with each other and with its sloping topography and solar orientation. Reversing its reading, we recast the back of the house as its main facade with a faceted custom-built glass wall. Divided into three vertical panels that push in and out, this dynamic prism begins animating light and spectacular views to the communal living spaces, now placed at the rear. Bedrooms were flipped to the front.
We also rationalized the circulation, replacing disconnected staircases with one rear stair that smoothly links all three levels and the garden below. The street-level entry now leads to a generous foyer that is open to this staircase and to a guest room/den. The open plan of the second floor allows the kitchen and living room space to look down into this den and outward to the striking city, bay, and garden vista beyond.
[highlight1] Project Data [/highlight1]
Project name: Flip House
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
- Type By Characteristic: Renovation House, Townhouse
- Type By Site: City House
- Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
- Type By Structural: Glass House
Site Area: 2,500 sq. ft
Project Area: 3,056 sq. ft (278 sqm)
Project Year: 2011-2012
Construction cost: $275 per square foot
Completion Year: 2012
- 2013 The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – AIA San Francisco Awards – Excellence in Architecture – Merit Award
- 2013 The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – Residential Architect Design (RADA) Awards – Category: Renovation – Merit Award
- 2012 The American Institute of Architect (AIA Awards) – AIA Home Tours
[highlight1] The people [/highlight1]
Client / Owner / Developer: LISA Koshkarian and Tom Di Francesco
Architects: Fougeron Architecture – 228 Grant St., San Francisco, CA 94108, United States
Principal in charge: Anne Fougeron, FAIA
Project architect: Todd Aranaz
General contractor: Dermot Barry, San Francisco
Structural Engineer: Yu Strandberg Engineering
Text Description: © Courtesy of Fougeron Architecture, american-architects, residentialarchitect, archrecord.construction
Images: © Fougeron Architecture, Joe Fletcher Photography
[highlight1] Materials & Suplier [/highlight1]
Bathroom cabinetry: Custom by Kenwood Cabinetry kenwoodcabinetry.com
Bathroom fixtures: Duravit duravit.us
Cooktop: Wolf subzero – wolf.com
Countertops: Caesarstone – caesarstoneus.com
Doors: Fleetwood – fleetwoodusa.com
Garbage disposal: Franke – franke.com
Hardware: Omnia – omniaindustries.com
Insulation: CertainTeed – certainteed.com
Kitchen cabinets: Custom by Kenwood Cabinetry – kenwoodcabinetry.com
Kitchen fittings: Franke – franke.com, KWC – kwcamerica.com
Lighting: Birchwood – birchwoodlighting.com, Delta – deltalight.com
Paints/stains/wall finishes: Benjamin Moore – benjaminmoore.com
Refrigerator: Sub-Zero – subzero-wolf.com
Skylight: Velux – veluxusa.com
Windows: Custom by McLaughlin Windows & Doors – mclaughlinwindows.com