Ocean Beach Residence
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A translucent glass bridge connects this 1,820 square foot pavilion to a mid-century modern house designed by Bay Area architect Ernest Born. Gen… Read More
A translucent glass bridge connects this 1,820 square foot pavilion to a mid-century modern house designed by Bay Area architect Ernest Born. Gently placed among existing trees, the addition, though physically simple, is phenomenally complex. A private cypress grove in the rear and the Pacific Ocean in front are experientially connected through a strategic layering of space, view, reflection, acoustics, and nature. Read Less
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The primary goal was to design an addition to a mid-century modern house designed by the renowned architect Ernest Born, without compromising the existing home in any way. The second goal was to respond to the physical environment responsibly and sensitively.
 
The client is a single father of two teenage sons as well as an avid surfer. The site is on the western edge of San Francisco, facing the Pacific Ocean. The existing home is unique within the neighborhood in that it adjoins a large garden to the rear as well as to the side of the house.
 
The primary diagram nestles a three-story pavilion 10' away from the existing home, within a grove of existing cypress trees. The only alteration to the existing house, and the only interior connection, is a 9' x 5' incision in the side of the house on the second floor, where a translucent glass bridge connects the two structures. While both structures maintain their autonomy, their connection to both the surrounding landscape and to each other is complimentary and mutually enriching.
The tripartite diagram of the addition is a simple, direct response to the site. The pavilion is divided into three elements, two masses flanking a central void. The northern mass is dedicated to bathing and vertical circulation, with a stair connecting all floors. The southern mass articulates a three-story Douglas fir storage cabinet that houses the adjacent program’s contents, be it surfboards on the ground floor, dress suits in the master bedroom, or a fireplace at the solarium level.

The resultant open plan provides a direct connection with the ocean to the west and the garden to the east. Decks on each side allow one to further inhabit these contrasting natural environments. The garden façade completely retracts to dissolve the boundary between the interior and the garden. The integration of both mirrored and translucent surfaces captures the life of the adjacent landscape both in reflection and in the play of light.
The furnishings were approached with a collected quality giving attention to scale, materiality, function, and relevance—curating a collection of mid–20th century and contemporary pieces relating to the vintage of the original building as well as its recently completed counterpart. In addition to the custom furniture designed by our firm, the furniture designs by Nakashima, Risom, Wormley, Molino and Kagan were combined with the original Ernest Born design elements. The art and objects in the home take a similar collected approach, mixing pieces from the latter half of the 20th century with newer pieces to bring color, texture, and a story to the home—without compromising the story already being told by the building itself and its relationship to the site. For this reason, windows were treated minimally.
The furnishings were approached with a collected quality giving attention to scale, materiality, function, and relevance—curating a collection of mid–20th century and contemporary pieces relating to the vintage of the original building as well as its recently completed counterpart. In addition to the custom furniture designed by our firm, the furniture designs by Nakashima, Risom, Wormley, Molino and Kagan were combined with the original Ernest Born design elements. The art and objects in the home take a similar collected approach, mixing pieces from the latter half of the 20th century with newer pieces to bring color, texture, and a story to the home—without compromising the story already being told by the building itself and its relationship to the site. For this reason, windows were treated minimally.The furnishings were approached with a collected quality giving attention to scale, materiality, function, and relevance—curating a collection of mid–20th century and contemporary pieces relating to the vintage of the original building as well as its recently completed counterpart. In addition to the custom furniture designed by our firm, the furniture designs by Nakashima, Risom, Wormley, Molino and Kagan were combined with the original Ernest Born design elements. The art and objects in the home take a similar collected approach, mixing pieces from the latter half of the 20th century with newer pieces to bring color, texture, and a story to the home—without compromising the story already being told by the building itself and its relationship to the site. For this reason, windows were treated minimally.
Photography:  Sharon Risedorph, Dwight Eschliman