300 Cornwall

Not every part of old San Francisco is perfect. Here was a hiccup in the fabric where two streets slide together at an awkward angle, creating a mini district with unrealized potential as an urban place. The two streets are broad and have very different character. The building responds to this fact, amplifies it, and activates the cityscape around it.

The long rhomboidal parcel spanned by 3 wide bays each holds two homes; the building is then cleaved by landscaped courts to soften the transition from city to home. Suspended above and between these gardens each of the six homes is clearly expressed as a 2-story box of wood, stucco and glass. A retail storefront space and parking garage are tucked beneath.

Interlocked in section, the living spaces of each townhouse stretch from street to street and open directly to private patios. The gardens below serve as semi-private entry courts and offer glimpses through the narrow block. With the interlocking concept, each home is given its own expression on the street; each gets a patio and exposure on at least 2 sides. The wood paneling nestled into each sculpted volume recalls the stained wood entry alcoves of Victorian mansions.


Project Type


Richmond District, California, United States

Related links


  • Kennerly Architecture & Planning
  • Agosta Builders, Gerry Agosta
  • Santos & Urrutia Structural Engineers
  • Bruce Damonte