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Site Area: 0.9 Acres     House: 1,955 Sq. Ft.     Photographs: Courtesy of Case Study House #26

The Architecture of Beverley D. Thorne + Case Study House #26

The only house of the legendary Case Study House program built in Northern California, Case Study House #26 is a seminal project in the equally legendary career of visionary architect, Beverley David Thorne. Located in San Rafael, Marin County, this steel frame home encapsulates his ideas about the critical adoption of this industrial material in residential design. Its architecture has been preserved virtually in its original state and is a textbook application of the open plan, uniquely sited to provide for the necessary separation between public and private functions.


Built in 1962, Harrison Fuller, then Bethlehem Steel CEO, commissioned the design of his personal residence to the up and coming architect, whose claim to fame was the Brubeck House in Oakland for jazz master Dave Brubeck. Following Fuller's premature death, a TWA pilot/flight attendant couple lived in this home until it was sold in 2015. The design is based on a simple concept: a shoebox comprising 8 identical bays, steel-framed and covered with a flat roof. The social spaces are accentuated by a double height space, whose dramatic roof follows the slope of the lot.


Using a steel structure allowed the ultimate indoor/outdoor living experience: All typical exterior walls are fully glazed; also allowing panoramic views over the nearby State Park and golf course. Landscape designer Garrett Eckbo (EDAW, now AECOM) designed the landscape. Recent renovation and preservation work was conducted by Cord Struckmann, AIA.

Both past and current owners have been taking great care to preserve the home for future generations.


Pierluigi Serraino, AIA, architect and author, who met Thorne in the early 2000s and interviewed him over the years, will give a talk about his career, his beginnings, and his ideas to then focus on how the Case Study House #26 is the embodiment of the design philosophy of one of the most radical figures on California Modernism.

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