“The main intent was to give the clients an atmosphere of beauty that expresses both warmth and worth and encourages their interaction,” Anne Fougeron, AIA, wrote about her design for Planned Parenthood at Eastmont Mall in San Francisco. That simple statement also could be applied to her light-box-like single-family residences, which are bold incubators for other project types, including health care and affordable housing.
High-end, low-end, private, public, and everything in between, Fougeron’s varied buildings are modern, sensual, and interesting to look at. Her own memorable kitchen, in an 1895 Victorian, has a cerulean blue ceiling, an ochre-colored cork floor, clear and sandblasted glass walls, and a soft green night-time glow emanating from gelled fluorescent strips in the adjacent bath. It’s not just look-good architecture, it also satisfies her curiosity about how layers of translucent materials interact with the changing light.
“We try to keep a diverse portfolio of work and bring the same voice of design excellence to all of it,” Fougeron says. “We’re interested in creating enlivened spaces that are about light, the expression of transparencies, and how well-crafted materials come together to reinforce those ideas.” She is currently working on Buck Creek, a cliffside house on the south coast of Big Sur, along with her first monograph, to be published by Princeton Architectural Press in 2011.
What is the most gratifying aspect of residential practice?
Using single-family homes as a lab for creative architectural ideas, and the personal relationships we form with clients.
What is the most frustrating aspect?
In the entitlement process, trying to convince people that design innovation is an essential part of a city’s growth. It’s also a struggle to be considered in the same league as firms owned by men.
What is your mission statement or firm goal?
To join the opposites of old and new, industrial and residential, rough and refined, urban and natural in modernist compositions.
What is the most indispensable tool in your office?
The people who work for me. Architecture is about collaboration, having the right team.
What software does your firm use?
AutoCAD and Vectorworks.
Who is your ideal client?
Someone who hires an architect not because they have to, but because good design is something that matters.
What is your favorite building?
Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, or Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.
If you didn’t have time to design your own house, who would you hire?
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.