Associate Professor of Architecture Raveevarn Choksombatchai was recently awarded the 2017 American Architecture Award—the nation’s highest public award for new architecture—for her design of the Grace Street Live/Work Residence in San Francisco.
Now in its 23rd year, The American Architecture Awards are the nation’s highest public awards given by a non-commercial, non-trade affiliated, public arts, culture and educational institution. From a shortlist of 300 buildings and urban planning projects, this year’s American Architecture Awards went to 79 firms and architects for projects as diverse as skyscrapers, hotels, parks, pavilions, restorations and renovations, retail facilities, housing projects, private homes, interiors, and humanitarian and educational initiatives.
Choksombatchai’s project is located on a lot in a rough mixed-use neighborhood. The Grace Street Residence is designed to clearly redefine the urban edge it shares with its adjacent streetscape in order to create an inner sanctum and refuge. As a small mid-block building with a zero lot line, the house maximizes its daylight exposure and natural ventilation by carving a rectangular volume out of its whole design to create an interior courtyard that serves and connects every space of the house.
Conceptually conceived as a choreography of various material qualities, layers of varying transparency and color dance together forming spatial devices throughout the house. This allows visual privacy and spatial definition to exist without compromising daylight exposure.
The outermost layer is composed of overlapping perforated anodized aluminum sheets which define the sheer facade of the house. These overlapping sheets are attached to resilient channel supports which connect to the weatherproofed inner envelope composed of floor-to-ceiling operable glass openings. Once inside, a system of custom aluminum shelving forms the next layer, and simultaneously acts as a deep modesty screen during the night time. Simultaneously, three sheer walls oriented perpendicular to and along the depth of the space help to further visually obscure the deeper and more private space of the house. Finally, a magenta pony wall with three layers of tightly wrapped fabric on top act as an enclosure for the bathroom. At night, the bathroom also doubles as a lantern illuminating the interior space.
View more photos of the Grace Street Residence here.