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David Ireland House

Jensen Architects, Architectural Resources Group


4,515 sq. feet
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Project Description


The challenge of restoring conceptual artist David Ireland’s home began with the understanding that the process would be as much an architectural as an artistic endeavor. Extensive research established the condition of the house (down to furniture arrangement) in 1975, a critical period in the artist’s creative career. The nature of the artist’s work mandated a restoration process that began with a survey of each room, documenting individual cracks, naturally occurring or created by the artist, within the lacquer-coated interior walls. After all movable artworks were relocated, remaining pieces were protected in place, held in stasis during construction. The lacquer-coated interior walls were then fiber-reinforced and back injected with epoxy to preserve and stabilize any cracking and topographical nuance.

The basement archive was conceived as a way to both conserve the artist’s most vulnerable pieces physically, by way of cataloguing and protecting them, and to preserve his most significant piece - the house - seismically. As a part of his art installation, he excavated the foundation of the house, leaving the building (in seismically active San Francisco) sitting on an exposed brick foundation. To perform the voluntary seismic upgrade, all major excavations under the house were done by hand tools to reduce vibration transmission to the house.

David Ireland’s extensive use of concrete and metal as a medium for his art was the inspiration for the garage/entry vestibule addition. The exposed concrete and stainless steel addition serves as the understated modern counterpoint to the ornamental monotone 19th century Victorian.
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