Alan Tse

Creative Director

The residences at Elevant feature signature aesthetics and interior design that blend minimal modernism with a palette of warmth and texture in what has become a defining work by Alan Tse. We invited Alan to share his approach and walk you through the homes in more detail.

Alan Tse Sketching “There will be an underlying modernity in the lines and compositions, layered with a very elevated palette of materials, appliances and finishes.”
Q: Can you offer an overview of the building’s concept and design?

A: This is a new level of verticality, construction and design for JS Sullivan. We wanted to take this opportunity to extend our portfolio and build something at the next level. It is really a very advanced building with the virtues and views of a high-rise building. The height is quite rare in this neighborhood, so we wanted to really embrace the possibilities and views of working in a high-rise vernacular. The views in particular are incredible, given our stature among smaller buildings in much of our neighborhood. It feels quite rare to be at these elevations in a more low-rise, walkable, neighborhood location.

The surrounding civic buildings were a definite consideration and a strong influence on the design. Particularly the SFPUC building next door, which is very prominent and distinct. Because of this, we wanted to fit in more and coalesce with our environs. We focused on the design articulation for an 11-story building form, without a particular function. This approach gave us a unique form that broke the mold of typical residential buildings with repetitive façade articulations. Many residential buildings you encounter are quite repetitive and we really wanted to break from that. So we’re reacting to and complementing our surroundings while pushing the architecture in a really interesting direction.

Alan Tse Sketch Q: How did all of that come to life in the architecture?

A: This exploration led to our unique ‘punctured’ façade that gives the building a unique ‘rhythm' and variation as well as adding a permeability and transparency that adds additional outdoor space, light and air throughout the interface between the building’s exterior and interiors. This variated exterior is highlighted by the inclusion of 6’-deep private balconies that shift and pull into the animated façade. These spaces are very large in comparison to typical residential balconies, and allowed the homes to have this great outdoor space with a large, open-air volume that serves as a diffuser and transition between home and city. We also brought these balconies up throughout the entire height of the building which, again, is quite rare to have this much outdoor space in the upper floors of a mid- or high-rise.

Q: How did this concept affect the rest of the building and the homes?

A: First, moving inside, we wanted to maintain a feeling of openness and permeability, so we made a bold decision to make our interior corridors open-air. This brings light and fresh air into the building’s inner structure while also giving each home a distinct sense of arrival that is more of an elemental experience versus something more typical like an elongated, enclosed corridor or hallway. We call these "sky bridges" and they definitely make navigating the building more of an experience, more alive and connected to the architectural elements. The open corridors also allow light and air to enter the home from boths sides, increasing circulation and the brightening the interior.

Next, looking inward to the actual residences, we are aiming for something much more sophisticated to reflect the heightened level of architecture and construction. I would say it’s more of a timeless look that is somewhat more formal and mature than many of the flashier residential buildings of late. There’s a certain level of richness and detail and texture that elevates it from the more delicate and minimal looks. More of a proper home I would say. At the same time, the JSS portfolio showcases some very modern and forward-thinking interiors, and we are carrying that through, in terms of the thoughtfulness of the spaces and the focus on everything being seamless and integrated and well-planned. There will be an underlying modernity in the lines and compositions, layered with a very elevated palette of materials, appliances and finishes.

Q: Thank you for your insights, Alan. We are really looking forward to seeing the building.

A: No problem. I’m very excited as well. We chose the Elevant name as both a moniker and a concept, and it shouldn’t disappoint. Cheers.

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