Feldman Architecture

Feldman Architecture

San Francisco


Telegraph Hill

The original structure of Telegraph Hill was featured in the November 1956 issue of House & Garden Magazine when it was remodeled by the designer/owner. It had remained unchanged for decades and had since fallen into disrepair, characterized by peeling paint and rotting floorboards. The original house suffered from a plain, unarticulated stucco façade and unusually narrow, chopped-up interior spaces. However its tall ceilings and the capability for stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, and downtown San Francisco encouraged the current clients to seek out an architectural team to unleash the home’s potential.

The top-floor envelope was pulled back from the lower façade and transformed into a metal wrapped penthouse volume, outfitted with a deck and planters that sits lightly atop the main façade capped with corniced roof line. Taking cues from traditional townhouses compositionally but updated with modern detailing and materiality, the remodel reinvented the main portion of the street façade with grey limestone cladding and projecting metal frames around the windows and garage. The reinvented main façade is now a better match in scale and proportion to the established streetscape of the alley and the surrounding blocks. An extremely minimal cable trellis was carefully integrated into the new façade to re-support the existing wisteria tree that lends organic counterpoint to the cleaned-up façade.

Upon entering the main unit, a wood, steel, and glass stair with light spilling down from windows and skylights above pulls visitors up to the top floor. By relocating the master suite from the top level to the middle level, the top floor was opened-up as one great room with windows on three sides. An open kitchen with ample storage serves the needs of clients who love to cook and entertain. The main deck takes advantage of the sweeping views and serves as an outdoor room with a fireplace, windscreen, custom planters, and an operable awning. A small outdoor deck off the dining room provides space for grilling and growing herbs.

A perforated metal screen wraps down from the ceiling of the top floor to the entry two floors below, adding diffused light as well as visual and textural continuity. The kinetic sculpture by a local artist Reuben Margolin hanging above the staircase was commissioned by the owners specifically for the project. Through close collaboration with the artist, over a hundred fishing wires were individually fed through the openings of the perforated metal screen that works as an integral and key part of the sculpture – an armature that helps to translate the two-dimensional motion of the upper structure into a fluid three-dimension wave motion of the sculpture.

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Status: Built
Location: San Francisco, CA, US
Firm Role: Architects
Additional Credits: General Contractor: Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders
Interior Design: Lisa Lougee Interiors
Lighting Design: Kim Cladas Lighting Design
Structural Engineer: Strandberg Engineering
Metal Fabrication: Chris French Metal
Landscape Design: Clarke de Mornay at Flora Grubb Gardens
Photography: Joe Fletcher