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Press kit - Press release - A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop
A v2com exclusive

A-to-Z House

San Francisco, United States

SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop

A modest home expands through aggregation, multiplying scaled versions of the original A-type pulled along a twisted Z axis. The result is a double offset – a 2nd story structure to capture sweeping views and a voided landscape carved into the hillside. New forms combine with the old, erasing boundaries.


San Francisco, United States, 2017-06-16 -

The A-to-Z House by SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop wins a 2017 Architecture Award from the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIASF).


The A-to-Z House proposes an alternative to conventional approaches for expanding an outmoded San Francisco home. Perched on a hillside in Golden Gate Heights, a modest single story 1934 developer vernacular structure had limited space and failed to take advantage of expansive views of Sutro Tower, Golden Gate Park, Sausalito, and the Bay. But rather than replacing or merely attaching to the existing structure, the A-to-Z strategy seizes upon the existing forms – scaling, repeating, and manipulating found objects into a contextual collection of structures comprising a dynamic home immersed in its surroundings.


A new gabled roof structure is inserted at the ridgeline of the existing living room bar, stepping back from the street to reduce mass and nestling into the existing roof to establish a low horizon line. This datum is characterized by a ribbon of operable windows that wrap two corners of the building to take advantage of critical views, accented by to a sawtooth window system and thickened metal edge. Inside, variations of the floor level and ceiling height provide different ways to experience this horizon in each space, from sweeping vista to private lookout.

As the new gabled structure reaches the carefully terraced back yard, it twists and wraps down around the dining room. This turn along a torqued Z-shaped axis (alternately horizontal and vertical) is held ever so slightly apart from the existing house, using a band of light and the articulation of the ceiling to create meaningful difference out of similar forms.


Project Data

A-to-Z House

San Francisco, CA


Client: (withheld) 

Architect: Dan Spiegel, SAW

Landscape Architect: Megumi Aihara, SAW

Project Collaborators: Dustin Stephens, Monica Sanga, Osma Dossani 

Structural Engineer: Strandberg Engineering

Budget: (withheld)

Completed: 2016

Photography: Bruce Damonte


SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop is a multidisciplinary design team with backgrounds in art and public policy, and primary expertise in Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, and education. SAW approaches design as a collaborative, research based process. SAW believes in the transformative power of good design, in the inextricable relationship between building and context, and in the vital role the built environment plays in the development of community.  

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Press kit | 2601-01 - Press release | A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Residential Architecture - Exterior Facade/ Nested Volumes / Channeled Ribbon Window - Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
Exterior Facade/ Nested Volumes / Channeled Ribbon Window
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Press kit | 2601-01 - Press release | A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Residential Architecture - Channeled Ribbon Window, Open - Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
Channeled Ribbon Window, Open
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Press kit | 2601-01 - Press release | A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Residential Architecture - Split Level Interior / Sawtooth Window / View Corridors - Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
Split Level Interior / Sawtooth Window / View Corridors
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Press kit | 2601-01 - Press release | A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Residential Architecture - Lookout Den - Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
Lookout Den
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Press kit | 2601-01 - Press release | A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Residential Architecture - Master Bedroom / Thickened Threshold - Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
Master Bedroom / Thickened Threshold
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Press kit | 2601-01 - Press release | A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Residential Architecture - Kitchen / Gap Between Nested Volumes - Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
Kitchen / Gap Between Nested Volumes
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Press kit | 2601-01 - Press release | A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Residential Architecture - Exterior Facade/ Nested Volumes / Sawtooth Window - Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
Exterior Facade/ Nested Volumes / Sawtooth Window
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Press kit | 2601-01 - Press release | A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Residential Architecture - Perspective of Nested Volumes - Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
Perspective of Nested Volumes
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Press kit | 2601-01 - Press release | A-to-Z House - SAW // Spiegel Aihara Workshop - Residential Architecture - Exterior Facade/ Nested Volumes / Channeled Ribbon Window - Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
Exterior Facade/ Nested Volumes / Channeled Ribbon Window
Photo credit: Bruce Damonte
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16.5 x 11.0
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