A city house, surrounded by nature. The location of the house, resting at the end of a small cul-de-sac, and perched among the ridgeline of a canyon, sets the scene for a slow departure from the city experience into an environment enveloped by nature. The narrow approach to the house is subtle and understated. A two-story volume with one window looking out and a single story wall with landscaping in front are all that is seen from the street. The entrance lies just beyond the front wall and through a semi-hidden passageway where the entry gate can be found. Once through the entry gate, a small private courtyard is discovered, which opens itself to the various programmatic areas of the house. A large sliding door opens up to the office, a turning outdoor staircase leads to the guest quarters, and a covered concrete bridge with a roof garden above serves as the approach to the main house. Moving along the entry bridge, a dense natural garden setting is found just in front of the entry door to the house, leaving a slight moment of pause for the senses to acclimate. Once inside, a small staircase leads down and the main living spaces of the house are unveiled, opening up dramatically to the view of the canyons surrounding the site. The volumes and spaces of the house are simple and elegantly crafted for the site topography and take full advantage of the views to existing natural elements. The basic two tone materiality, consisting of board formed concrete bases and thin vertical wood siding boxes on top, is meant to become a backdrop for the landscape, and to quiet the visual appearance of the architecture within its setting.
San Diego, CA
Upon detailed analysis of the site, situated on a quiet street in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego, the most appropriate approach to the design was of humbleness and inward discovery. With this intent, the existing craftsmen style home is left almost completely intact with slight modifications to the interior walls, a remodel of the kitchen and living space, and a low sitting new addition to the back of the house. The changes were studied to be subtle in physicality and dramatic in spatial quality.
From the backyard patio, an elevation drops into an organic courtyard space, lying comfortably in between the existing house and the new addition. This space is a relaxed and reclusive environment to be used year-round in the mild climate and plays as a central circulation filter for all the areas of the house.
Directly off the courtyard space is a wooden door to access the new addition of a master bedroom. The added volume is delicate and rural in it’s design and materiality, exposing all the natural elements of the architecture and it’s structural character. Exposed white concrete masonry blocks create the walls, exposed wood beams define the ceiling, and an expansive glass sliding door opens the space up to the outdoor garden. There is small reading nook facing the courtyard next to the bed, and the concrete floor flows continuously from the inside to the outdoor covered patio area. Opposite the bedroom, is the open bathroom layout containing a vanity sink, closet and open bath tub. A room comfortable enough to stay in for extended lengths of time if desired. Directly behind the bathroom is a 12’ high narrow volume with interior onyx lined walls and ceilings and a glass ceiling open to the sky. This space holds together the shower and water closet and is private from all other spaces, while maintaining extensive natural light.
All together, the spaces of the house flow dynamically together, and while diverse, fill the role for all the activities and life-styles of a family home.
San Diego, CA
Serving the ground floor of the larger Louisiana building is this delicately crafted bar and restaurant from Grind and Prosper Hospitality. The feel and layering of the spaces was designed to evoke the unique flavor and culture inspired from New Orleans and it's warm hospitable food and beverage scene. Landscape takes a prominent role as the lines between interior and exterior are fully blurred. The seating flows throughout a variety of different scenic and semi-reclusive spaces while the bar sits in the back of the space as if hidden inside a jewel box. The kitchen is exposed to the public as an exhibition of culinary work space.
San Diego, CA
The role of the courtyard is described as a space that “leads man unconsciously to fall in an atmosphere of spontaneous meditation without any effort and with reduced nervous tension…Such a space helps so much in the development of personality and in avoiding standardization of the mind.” The Louisiana is a building that is designed with this concept as the seed for its spatial organization. The massing of the building revolves around a series of outdoor rooms, or courtyards, which serve as a dissolvent for the structure as it projects upwards, leaving functional voids at every story that become as important to the dwellings as any of their interior rooms. The courtyards and outdoor rooms are private and intimate, and seamlessly connect to the interior spaces of the dwellings. They are meant to harness repose and quietness, and to act as an escape from the pressures of the outside environment, work, or the daily routine. Such a quality is a much-needed entity that is often forgotten in the common apartment buildings of our urban environment.
Photography: Onnis Luque
San Diego, CA
A house and studio nestled into a canyon setting in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego.
The house integrates into the natural topography of the canyon while allowing it's natural elements to infultrate it's spaces. This is acheived by dividing the house into two massing elements, with a slim light shaft couryard running through the middle.
Photography: Onnis Luque
San Diego, CA
Inspired by the narrow and winding streets of Venice, Columbia contains 18 apartments which are separated by delicated carved voids, creating internal courtyards that compress and expand.
The concept of the void allows for maximum use of space, light and ventilation. Instead of one building with many units and shared walls, these apartments function more as small individual houses, which open up onto private patios and shared courtyard spaces.
Photography: Yoshi Koitani
In response to the conditions of the site, being a flag lot, the house turns in on itself, causing a duality of introspection and engagement, which becomes its essence and its most defining element.
Upon arrival, there are two separate programmatic environments within the house:
The lower level, or courtyard level, comprises the more private and independent family conditions. Including all the bedrooms, playroom, and study. The courtyard is the central place among which all other spaces on this level interact, in either a direct or subdued way, allowing for family interaction between varieties of functional areas.
The upper level, or roof garden, acts as the more social and formally engaging space of the house. With it’s wide and expansive views, this space is also a retreat from the other functions of the house, as it is elevated and removed, it can fully absorb the greater surrounding location.
East Village Lofts
San Diego, CA
With an active seismic fault running through the middle of this 10,000 square foot site in the East Village of downtown San Diego, we took what seemed to be an undevelopable piece of land and created a unique 28 unit apartment complex.
The fault setback area was used dually as both landscape courtyard and surface parking as it divides two separate buildings.
The larger building is a dense array of 23 units, with open exterior walkways cut delicately out of the middle, allowing for exterior approaches to the units and cross ventilation.
The smaller building, which is elevated off of a footprint 11' wide x 100' long, contains one ground floor garden unit and 4 lofts cantilevering above the skinny base.
Jeff Svitak Inc is no longer participating in this project.
San Diego, CA
Sky Condo is a complete interior remodel, 36 stoires above the city of San Diego. The existing space has commanding bay, ocean and city views which were compromised by an excess of interior walls. By elimiating these walls and opening the space to its extremity, the true essence of the space is unveiled.
By opening over 72 lineal feet of this wall continously, the space feels as though it is literally "sailing" lightly above the city. By exposing the concrete structure, it also remains grounded, and delivers a sense of steadyness.
Salt Lake City, UT
Litotes is the award winning design submittal for the Fluid Adagio Design Competition hosted by Ballet West, Salt Lake City's premier dance company and AIA Utah.
For this two stage design competition, the goal was to design a temporary outdoor amphitheater and urban refuge in the heart of the art center in downtown Salt Lake City.
The design for Litotes starts with a simple modular box. The box is empty. This empty mass is then repeated and strategically located throughout the site, inherently taking away space by adding mass. What is left is a proportionally scaled and functional program of voids, which define the movement and life of the project.
There are five main programmatic elements to this house: social/entertaining, cooking/eating, sleeping/privacy, guest housing, and services. There is one barn uniquely and proportionately designed to contain each programmatic element. The five barns are then positioned to allow for interior and exterior circulation. The connecting elements are slim steel boxes, 2’ in width, which allows for all the cabinetry to neatly fit inside, while keeping the internal spaces of the barns clean and clearly defined on all sides.
The main level contains a large front courtyard, which opens to the dining and living spaces. An oversized rear wood deck opens the living room up to views of the Rocky Mountains for relaxing and entertaining. The basement takes advantage of the sloping site by allowing for a walk-out, retreat style space for housing guests.
Located in the garden of a private residence in Normandy, France, this project consists of converting a Pre-World War II barn into a studio and guest suite. While care was taken to keep the integrity of the existing structure and its context, the biggest move is to remove 20 square meters of stone wall to open the space up to the garden.
New York City, NY
In contrary to our society of globalization, over-information, speed and virtual reality, FUNNEL focuses on personalization, materiality, reflection and touch.
From 24th street, in New York City, a quote invites us to leave our thoughts on a chalkboard wall, leading us into an intricate funnel, cleansing and compressing us. Suddenly, we open to a deep lake of leaves surrounded by a series of experiences crafted within wood boxes.