The blending of art and architecture is an oft-cited goal for residential projects. Some of the greatest contemporary houses have achieved their status through the presence of space for the display and contemplation of art, taking the sensibility of the art gallery into the domestic realm.
Luke Ogrydziak and Zoë Prillinger of San Francisco-based Ogrydziak / Prillinger architects have taken this approach to the limit with their new Gallery House, a residence designed for two art collectors as a place to live and display a major collection of contemporary female artists. On the fringes of the city's South Park, the house occupies an infill site, with a generous living space set behind an extravagant façade.
The design methodology was to carve up the available space into a series of solids and voids, an approach expressed by bespoke elements scattered throughout the scheme, from the angular façade with its orthogonal framework of slender steels, to the organically eroded void of the basin in the master bathroom, to the faceted plinths that act as seats in the art-strewn roof garden.
That façade isn't just a random composition; the forms are drawn from an analysis of the trees in the adjacent park - what the architects call its 'organic morphology'. The ground floor space is given over to a dedicated gallery, for the clients' own collection, the collections of friends as well as gallery talks and events. A bold steel box enclosing the staircase rises up to the private quarters. Behind the faceted screen, large panes of glass can be slid to one side, opening up the house to the park.
The interior spaces are a mix of gallery-quality purity and functionalism, interspersed with large volumes of open plan space. Services are tucked away into freestanding cores, allowing long vistas that run the length of the deep site.
Exposed steel beams and floor plates are paired with steel staircases and industrial mesh balustrades; even the kitchen is a paean to pared-down utility, its grey folded countertops offset by a wall-mounted LED sign by Jenny Holzer.
Artworks animate the space, including pieces by Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, Candida Hofer, Rebecca Horn and Rachel Whiteread, making this private gallery space a place of contemplation, despite the inherent toughness of materials and forms.