In an urban environment, fences are often a necessity, but they run the risk of taking on an austere, barricade-like appearance. The trick is to provide privacy while allowing light, air, and appealing cityscapes to filter through. A new multifamily house in San Francisco’s Mission District uses landscape elements to accomplish such a feat.
The challenge began at the facade, where architect Owen Kennerly created an aluminum gate that provides security, while its water-jet-cut pattern treats neighbors and passersby to an artful form. A bedroom extends beyond the gate, so landscape designer Christopher Radcool Reynolds, of Reynolds-Sebastiani Design Services, brought in leafy palms to buffer sidewalk traffic and counteract the heat generated from reflected sunlight. “Layering in foliage creates organic interest, dampens noise, and offers environmental benefits such as cooling, shade, and oxygen,” he says. “The aim is to frame vistas, not hinder them.”