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Mission District home

Although California architect Thomas Ryan had long been a fan of Alvar Aalto’s buildings, it was during a 2006 trip to Finland and Sweden that he became particularly enamoured of the Finnish icon’s recurring use of screens. “There’s something about the way a screen creates space but doesn’t stop space,” the Sausalito-based architect says. “It creates the atmosphere of a wall.” When a couple asked him to take over the gut reno of a two-storey San Francisco house that already had permits for its interior plan, Ryan designed a series of quasi-walls in tribute. “Because there were so many givens I couldn’t change, it became about the details.” 

Screens appear throughout the 297-square-metre Mission District home. Entering it requires...

In San Francisco, a Tailored Renovation Riffs on Alvar Aalto

For a Bay Area abode, local studio T.W. Ryan Architecture pays subtle homage to the Finnish icon.

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