Page D1.2 . 10 August 2011                     
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    San Francisco Rooftop Apartment


    Apartments: The Urban Housing Evolution

    The home in which we live constitutes our principle reference point. It is not only the place in which we spend the most time, but it is also the lookout point from which we watch the world.

    More than any other tangible element, the home helps establish the habits and define the bearings of those who live in it. Because it is a reflection, on a small scale, of the society in which we live, it becomes a place within which we carry out many of the activities which shape our existence — those related to leisure time, work, relaxation, personal relationships.

    In a certain way, our homes are no more than the physical amalgamation of our lives, because it is our interests and needs that mold the space in which we live. Thus, the home changes as the lives of its occupants change.

    The home's layout as well as its style and size vary with the passage of time, obeying our own evolution — so, for example, it would change depending on whether we go from living alone to living with another, or if we abandon a public life in order to spend more time alone.

    Throughout history, homes have changed their structure in accordance with the rhythm of societal transformation along with that of the individuals housed within them. Since the Industrial Revolution, a large part of the world population has moved from the countryside into more urban areas. This was the most important demographic movement in all of history.

    This, the development of the world's great cities, was a drastic shift in paradigm and necessitated — particularly in the last 100 years — an important reformation in the look and composition of a majority of the world's homes.

    The apartment is an evident product of this reformation: a space with reduced dimensions which has almost unavoidably turned inward, placed in the middle of the city in order to reap the benefits of living in a world where society is more concentrated, where professional activities and personal interactions are ever more intense.

    From its emergence, the apartment has been evolving and implementing countless technological innovations, such as those having to do with the domestic use of electricity, the installation of elevators, and the various air conditioning systems.

    In reality, part of the architect's and designer's work is to look for new methods and tools with which to make apartments ever more habitable.

    The most important facets and the most considered during a project's development include the comfort, style, and flexibility of the various spaces. Spaciousness, luminosity, energy-saving measures, and respect for the surrounding environment are also factors taken into account during the design of these homes, whose purpose is not only to offer a suitable place for reflection, but also to create areas for work and socializing.

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    Julio Fajardo was born in the Canary Islands, graduated in Salamanca, Spain, and later studied publishing in Madrid. He has authored several travel guides, has worked as an editor in houses such as Bruño and Revista de Libros, and has gone on to work as an architecture and interior design editor in Barcelona.

    This article is excerpted from Designer Apartments by Julio Fajardo, copyright © 2010, with permission of the publisher, h.f.ullmann, an imprint of Tandem Verlag. Translated from Spanish into English by Frieda B.K.



    ArchWeek Image

    The glazed northwestern facade of the penthouse level has a commanding view north toward the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.
    Photo: © Stan Musilek, Sharon Reisdorph Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The bedroom is separated from the living area by a wall that consists primarily of sliding frosted-glass panels.
    Photo: © Stan Musilek, Sharon Reisdorph Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The bathroom and kitchen of the studio apartment occupy a mezzanine level several feet below the penthouse level.
    Photo: © Stan Musilek, Sharon Reisdorph Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Plan drawing of the San Francisco apartment.
    Image: Tanner Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Looking through a wood roof truss, the modest kitchen is open to the dining area.
    Photo: © Stan Musilek, Sharon Reisdorph Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The interior of the rooftop apartment shows crisp, minimalist detailing.
    Photo: © Stan Musilek, Sharon Reisdorph Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Designer Apartments by Julio Fajardo.
    Image: h.f.ullmann Extra Large Image


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