Sandra Vivanco, AIA, SEED
Screen House

The Henriquez family used to occupy a forlorn California cottage where they raised three kids in the 1970’s. Once the two brothers left the family house, the parents and younger sister started to experience the problems of an old structure with deferred maintenance: their house was damp, moldy, full of dry-rot, clogged up drainage and lack of appropriate electrical power and water pressure. Enter A+D, whom the family contacted to see whether any part of the house was worth saving. After 40 years of living there, the parents had grown accustomed to the neighborhood. They did not want to exchange their daily routine at the Excelsior for the anonymity of the suburbs. The biggest obstacle was the construction budget, which was limited to what the three siblings could cobble up together from their city salaries. A+D accepted the commission with the understanding that as long as the budget did not exceed $200-225/ SF we were free to experiment with new technologies and material choices. We created a frugal but highly inventive multi-generational space, while introducing the latest green technology into a working class neighborhood context. Conceptually entrepreneurial, the pre-assembled panel home was skinned with EPDM -a sustainable roofing system. Screening the main street aperture is a steel armature woven with VIRO polyrods – highly durable and made with 100% recyclable material. A sort of transposed landscape, the house filters the experience of growing up Salvadorian in San Francisco and staying a city dweller despite the financial pressures to move to the suburbs.