2019 'Architecture + the City'

September AIA-SF festival comes alive as annual tour spotlights five home remodels
Fridays on the Homefront
As part of AIA San Francisco's 'Architecture + the City' festival coming in September,
the work of five architects was selected for showcase at 'San Francisco Living: Home Tours' Saturday, September 21. Remodel projects for the tour range from the
innovative transformation of a 1930s SOMA warehouse into a family home, to a gut remodel of a 1907 home in Eureka Valley, to less extreme makeovers of three other prewar homes. Pictured here is the Twin Peaks House. Photo: Rick Pushinaitis
Fridays on the Homefront
TOUR HOME #1: Twin Peaks House. Photo: Rick Pushinaitis
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
TOUR HOME #2: Eureka Valley House.
Photos: Warren Patterson Photography

With San Francisco homes so hard to come by and prices near nationwide highs, it might feel to potential home buyers like architecture falls pretty low on the priority list—maybe somewhere between parking availability and numerology of the street address.

Naturally, folks at the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects can relate to local despair at the housing market, but hasten to remind buyers and owners to remember the critical connection between good design and domestic bliss.

The chapter and its nonprofit, the Center for Architecture and Design, present a pretty compelling, five-point argument for their case in the home tour for the 2019 'Architecture + the City' festival, scheduled from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, September 21.

"Getting to understand people's design philosophies and how they work is an approach to solving problems," said local architect John Lum, chair of the tour selection committee who will moderate an architect's forum September 19, setting the stage for the self-guided tour. Publicity for the five-home tour bills it as the first in the Bay "to promote residential design from the architect's point of view."

"We want to highlight why it's important to hire an architect when you're remodeling your home," pointed out Annabelle Udo-O'Malley, public programs manager for the two partner organizations. To address the importance, she added, "The architect's forum will focus on the architect-client relationship."

The work of five architects were selected by the AIA committee, with remodel projects ranging from the innovative transformation of a 1930s SOMA warehouse into a family home, to a gut remodel of a 1907 home in Eureka Valley, to less extreme makeovers of three other prewar homes. The designer quintet will also share their ideas at the Thursday night forum: lead architects Geoff Gibson, Michael Kao, Andy Rodgers, Neal Schwartz, and Sarah Willmer.

"The forum will be a conversation that will allow the audience to dig into the process with the people behind these projects and to encourage clients to have more intimate conversations with the architects with what they're hoping to achieve," Lum said of the two-hour event. "The process is not easy, and the forum is an intimate conversation that will aim to go deeper."

Udo-O'Malley said this year's tour differs from other years in the owner demographic and concurrently different needs than most homeowners on past 'Architecture + the City' tours.

"It's just interesting because you see the difference between the style of home for different ages," she commented, noting that past tours have featured mostly younger owners of larger homes than the 3,376-square-foot home in Eureka Valley and two others. This year, "They're not so over the top."