Tehama Grasshopper

A surprising integration of old and new elements, of competing urban forces, brings the remodeled warehouse alive. Three stories of interlocked spaces have distinct personalities and functions: office, main living area, and penthouse. The rigidity of the original concrete structure is broken down in a subtle interplay of light, surfaces, levels, and indoor and outdoor spaces—making the urban living experience as richly textured as the city itself.

Industrial and Residential
The new lobby for the ground-floor office space opens onto a private residential entry with a custom steel staircase. This simple, unassuming entrance remains true to the industrial nature of the building and surrounding neighborhood.

Public and Private
The second floor is the main living space for the young owners and their child. Its focus: a new courtyard, cut out from the existing floor plate, that connects the building to the new penthouse above and to the sky. This vertical section offers multiple layers of transparency and views from one floor to the next, thus interweaving the inside and outside spaces with a play of light and dark.

According to the owners’ request, clear glass walls enclose bathrooms and a child’s bedroom, confounding notions of public and private. The viewer’s eye is kept in constant motionfrom a multitude of angles. This visual enticement, and the size and scale of the interior spaces, lend beautifully to the flow of life within and throughout the house.

Rough and Refined
All the new elements in the living space—kitchen, bathroom, and storage—are treated as eight-foot-tall cabinetry, floating within the existing volume. Old and new are allowed to live together in what reads as one, large space: rough warehouse framing and concrete walls; refined, pristine cabinetry and glass windows.
Urban and Natural Beauty
The airy third-floor penthouse addition is the centerpiece of the design. The geometry of this sculptural object is a deliberate contrast to the orthogonal grid of the existing concrete structure.

Reminiscent of rooftop staircase enclosures on old San Francisco warehouses, the penthouse adds natural form to the urban landscape—like a grasshopper settled lightly on the building surface. From all vantage points at the rooftop level, the owners enjoy breathtaking views of the city skyline.

The penthouse living area includes the master bedroom and bathroom as one free-flowing space. It wraps around the courtyard, interweaving the upstairs and downstairs levels. Clear glass panes—again a requirement of the owners—offer no visual privacy. Their connection to outer world is a celebration of urban living.

Description from the architects

Media

31 photos and 6 drawings

Building Activity

  • Georgi Sokolov
    Georgi Sokolov updated 93 media, added a digital reference, updated and activity.buildings_person.update
    about 4 years ago via OpenBuildings.com