A glance is enough to gather that this San Francisco infill project is no ordinary row house. Its side walls and roof seem to float apart from each other. A flush wood wall at the sidewalk level disintegrates into a slatted screen above. A void at the second floor exposes the unlikely sight of an outdoor stair to the roof. The glass entry door is 10 feet tall. But if anything, the street elevation understates the innovative thinking that went into this house.

Architect Anne Fougeron organized the building as two distinct volumes divided by a central courtyard. The volume closest to the street holds a garage at ground level, an artist's studio above, and a large roof deck. The entry stair bypasses these spaces on its way to a second-floor deck that serves as an interior entry court for the rear volume, which holds the main living spaces. The latter comprise a great room at the second floor, with a master suite above and additional bedrooms below.

Despite a zero lot line at three sides, each of the three levels offers direct access to one of the house's seven outdoor living spaces. In addition to the bi-level interior courtyard, roof deck, and rear garden, these include a screened balcony on the street, a sunken courtyard at the rear, and a glass-paved walkway that doubles as a linear skylight for the interior below. Liberal use of glass in both exterior walls and interior elements maximizes the visual connection to the outdoors. “I think this is fantastic, especially considering it's a tight infill structure,” said one judge. “In a townhouse it's so neat to see this integration of interior and exterior spaces,” another agreed. “I don't think that's easy to do.”

Project Credits
Fougeron Architecture, San Francisco
Builder: Harris Construction, San Francisco
Living space: 3,500 square feet
Site: .9 acre
Construction cost: Withheld
Photographer: Richard Barnes

Resources: Bathroom plumbing fittings: Foremost Groups; Paints: Benjamin Moore; Stairs/railings: Dennis Leudeman; Windows: Arcadia; Wood flooring: Carperteria.