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Residence for an Orthopedic Surgeon is a two-unit residence in Castro Heights in San Francisco. The design grows out of a series of metaphors. The main metaphor comes from the client’s profession as an orthopedic surgeon and translates into structures in the house that refer to skin and bone, sinew and tendon.

The street elevation is a classic Victorian façade. On entering the residence, interior transforms into a very contemporary home. The rear façade is glass and steel, creating a three-story atrium at the back of the house that captures the stunning San Francisco views.

Anatomical metaphor is especially strong in the lower unit, an apartment that is often occupied by doctors and residents from the San Francisco General hospital.

The lower unit is a bi-level space with entrance to its upper level from the south. These spaces are skinned in articulated panels of apple plywood. Exposed structure becomes a covert study in anatomy: metaphorical skin and bone. At the upper level there is a sleeping/work space and bathroom. Below is a living area with fireplace and a north-facing view through large openings bordered by a steel seismic frame. Double doors beneath the frame open out onto the lowest level of the atrium. A central structural spine, which runs down the middle of the space, is composed of glue lam beams supported by exposed blue-tinted columns. The exposed seismic frame is also blue-tinted.

Connecting both units, and all three levels of the residence, the glass atrium in the rear allows light to flood every room even on the grayest of days.

Running three stories up through the atrium is a column that opens on each floor into a fireplace. This is wrapped with large steel panels, or leaves, as if this were a tree growing up from ground level.

Custom steel stairs climb up one side of the atrium, connecting all three floors.

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