Andrew Skurman, the award winning San Francisco and Paris based architect, specializes in designing classical houses. This was not always the case. Early in his career, Andy worked with I.M.Pei and Partners designing office towers, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill where he learned to be in charge of large commercial projects and interact with clients and finally on to Gensler as a studio director. None of these prestigious firms created the Georgian country houses, French Chateaux or Mediterranean villas that Andrew Skurman Architects is known for today.
However, one look at the new monograph, CONTEMPORARY CLASSICAL, The Architecture of Andrew Skurman, and you are transported into a world where the architectural orders of Palladio, Serlio and Vignola inspire the character and form of a building highlighting Skurman’s deep knowledge and understanding of the classical orders. The final vision he creates for his clients is an accurate, yet contemporary representation of that style. The inspiration for his projects, according to the author, is from the extraordinary beauty and harmony of existing architecture. His firm accomplishes its’ and the clients vision with an in depth study of the exterior rhythm of the building and the interior circulation and disposition of rooms that make the flow of the spaces seem effortless.
This wonderful book documents houses, city apartments, townhouses, villas and estates created by the firm. We are treated to the hand drawings, photographs and watercolor sketches that inform the finished structures. The interior architecture is highly detailed yet restrained. For the most part, the houses designed by Skurman are formal and the interiors refined and sophisticated, edited and curated.
There is much to be learned from this book about restraint, understatement, a sense of place and appropriateness. Andy believes that his spaces yield comfortable and welcoming homes for generations of families and a sanctuary from the outside world. Classical architecture combined with the taste of clients convey a sense of elegance in the architecture of Andrew Skurman Architects.
On a more personal note, I was privileged to see the San Francisco apartment that Andy and his charming French wife, Francoise, have created for themselves. It is an all white confection; a remarkable blend of modern and traditional. It simply glimmers with silver leaf furniture upholstered in white that belonged to Francoises’ grandmother, a spectacular mirrored chest designed by Andy as a gift to his lovely wife and large scale colorful modern art. The beautiful white sculpture created by the talented Francoise adds a three dimensional aspect to the space. It is clearly different from the houses and estates that Andrew Skurman designs for his clients but showcases his great talent as an architect and designer.
FYI: Andrew Skurman along with Ann Getty is the speaker at the San Francisco Antiques Show on Saturday October 27th. On Monday, October 29th Waterworks will host a book celebration at our showroom at 200 Kansas Street, San Francisco.
3654 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA
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