San Francisco, California
Lining the hills of San Francisco’s historically Victorian residential neighborhoods, a modern façade is something of a rare sight. In Pacific Heights, a neighborhood high in the hills with a sweeping city skyline below, Edmonds + Lee’s View House offers something a little different, both to the neighborhood - and to the experience of home. The scheme begins on the front terrace, raised above the height of the road, whose own path is winding and brings the visitor face-to-face with the house and the view in turns. Ascension is emphasized and immediate; an elevator carries you to the top floor, maximizing the impact of the site’s height above the city, and introducing the first of many breathtaking views. On the top floor, a 180 degree view available off the expansive living and dining room leads to the full 360 degree experience. From here, the home winds you downward, through a series of sleek stairways and seamless doorways. On the first floor, windows slide open in the library to connect its secluded program with the airy garden, allowing you to step through the frame and into art: in both directions. This curated mode of viewing the city is a notable piece of Edmonds + Lee’s established history of renegotiating the relationship between restorative interior and vibrant civic exterior. These views are striking not because they encompass the home, nor because they attempt to merge home and city; instead, they are striking because the architects have broken the experience of the glass wall down into a series of intimate vistas, presented in the sleek, modern interiors as one would present art in a gallery.