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Cube House in San Francisco by John Maniscalco Architecture

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The Cube House project is an old Victorian home that has been re-imagined by for a family of four, located in San Francisco, California. This dilapidated 1895 Victorian with a historically protected facade, abnormally long building footprint, and zero lot-line configuration was transformed into a light-filled home. The introduction of a two-story atrium (which is open to the sky) brings the exterior into the very center of the urban dwelling becoming the spatial organizing gesture, allowing all areas of the house to partake of the light, air, and landscape (both earth and sky) that this protected garden provides.

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Utilizing both the transparent and reflective qualities, the glass cube acts to both define each distinct space and extend it. The Jarrah stair, which is framed by the cube, cantilevers from the wall, adding to the transparency and lightness. A wall of Sapele cabinets transforms to respond to the changing requirements of each space, while maintaining the scale of the larger space.

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The house maintains an appropriately formal programmatic element – a library – in the room behind the preserved facade. The dining room and living room flank the garden, which a large kitchen opens on two sides to the rear garden and views to the north. Above, the cube is surrounded by two bedrooms and a master bedroom suite with a large rear deck.

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The lower level features a media room/guest suite, exercise room, laundry, and a three-car garage.

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The solution maintains and restores the historic facade, while adding an additional floor, set back from the street, which utilizes an abstraction of the cornice and fenestration patterns of the existing house.

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Photos: Courtesy of

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