Transformation in San Francisco by Buttrick Projects Architecture + Design

History Chalets Filbert in San Francisco were built as modest rental homes during the construction boom that followed the devastating 1906 earthquake that hit the city. The cottages, arranged in a row perpendicular to the street and accessed by a deep and narrow garden, have hipped roofs and their characteristic simplicity goes perfectly with the other cottages built at the time. By the early 2000s, the cottages had fallen into a deep state of disrepair, when a development controversy erupted that earned them San Francisco Historic Landmark status, to ensure their character was preserved.
After purchasing the property in 2007, when it was in rather compromised condition, the new owners hired Buttrick Architecture + Design Projects to tackle the complex works of conservation, restoration and updating of the site. A tough undertaking that took five years of planning and another five years to build, but in the end the cabins reappeared as four residential units for a total of 12,000 square feet of space, along with underground parking garages. .
During the construction phase, the team was able to preserve a number of key elements of the historic buildings, such as the single-glazed wooden windows, the brick floor and the original frame. To address complex seismic and waterproofing issues, work on the property included removing several of the additions to the rear of the cottages and replacing them with a three-stage zinc-plated addition, made possible by the construction of a reinforced retaining wall that extends the full depth of the land and is 40 feet high at its highest point. Although taller than the original constructions, the addition remains almost imperceptible. Despite all the changes necessary to meet the codes in force, in particular with regard to anti-seismic and energy efficiency requirements, the architects of the firm Buttrick Projects Architecture + Design have kept intact the original character and charm of the cottages. and its landscaping, a revitalized urban oasis from the city’s past.
The intervention and recovery of Gîtes Filbert are a perfect example of how old obsolete buildings, despite having been severely damaged by time and without even being structures of a particular quality, can be rehabilitated and transformed into beautiful, useful architectures, perfectly adapted to contemporary life. You just need to hire the right people, in this case an experienced designer and a skilled team of construction specialists, engineers and landscape architects.
After many years of painstaking work, the owners were able to put the salvaged chalets on the market where they were quickly sold, illustrating the interest in unique properties such as Chalets Filbert. Indeed, the imperfections and patina of the past add texture and character to the completed project and highlight the merits of reusing and rehabilitating neglected and underutilized resources, for the people who live there and for the city in general.

Christiane Bürklein

Architecture and interiors: Buttrick Projects Architecture + Design
General contractor: Achill Beg Construction Inc.
Historic preservation: preservation architecture
Structural engineer: GFDS Engineers
Civil Engineer: KCA Engineers Inc.
Geotechnical engineer: Rollo and Ridley Inc.
Landscape architect: Munden Fry Landscape Associates
Location: San Francisco, United States
Year: 2017
Images: Andres Gonzalez

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