fougeron architecture, san francisco

Faced with a square concrete warehouse and only one wall of north-facing windows, Anne Fougeron, AIA, worked magic by adding a grasshopperlike penthouse bedroom that alights on the building's surface, opening the entire loft to the sun. “We wanted something in keeping with the kind of architecture you see on the roofs of buildings in these slightly eccentric shapes, pitched for stairs or mechanical space,” Fougeron explains. The judges raved about the resulting “intangible quality of light and air and livability.” The penthouse “captures what it means to be near the sky,” said one.

Fougeron interwove layers of light and space, starting on the commercial ground floor, where a private lobby opens onto a sculptural steel staircase. Without walls to attach to, the treads cantilever off a main stringer that floats up three stories. The second-floor living areas benefit from skylights and an airy courtyard cut from the steel plate. But the pièce de résistance is the diaphanous master suite, where a bent window at the top of the stairs scoops light deep into the living areas below.

“The project shows its own acts of construction without being overly obsessive about it,” one judge observed. “When I look at these photos, all I see is space.”

principal in charge: Anne Fougeron, AIA, Fougeron Architecture
project designer: Todd Aranaz, Fougeron Architecture
general contractor: Bill Johnstone, Johnstone McAuliffe Construction, Pacifica, Calif.
project size: 4,800 square feet
site size: 0.1 acre
construction cost: Withheld
photography: Richard Barnes.

product specs
bathroom plumbing fittings:Dornbracht Americasweaetxdyvaydzcwq, Vola A/S; bathroom plumbing fixtures:Duravit USA, Kohler Co.; dishwasher, range:Miele; fireplace/wood stove: Hearth & Home Technologies (Heat & Glo); garbage disposer, kitchen plumbing fixtures:Franke Consumer Products; hardware:Häfele America Co., Stanley Hardware; kitchen plumbing fittings:KWC America; lighting fixtures:Birchwood Lighting; oven:Dacor; paints/stains:Benjamin Moore & Co.; patio doors:Metal Window Corp.; refrigerator:Sub-Zero; skylights/roof windows:O'Keeffe's