Drs. William Schiff and Ernst Wolfes Apartment Duplex

Julius Shulman photography archive, 1936-1997.

Drs. William Schiff and Ernst Wolfes Apartment Duplex


This apartment house is designed to accommodate two families. Rising three stories from a 25-foot-wide lot, the structure is squeezed tightly into a space between two other apartment buildings, making it a rare example of an urban infill design by Richard Neutra. With a structure of steel and wood, the house features an all-glass south-facing façade made up of a grid of windows that alternates between transparent and privacy glass. The garage doors, also along this façade, are recessed, diminishing their presence. Above, the building is crowned by a “pentroom” that features views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Also set in deeper than the rest of the facade, this room opens out to a rooftop terrace which is outlined by white cement spandrels that define the space as if it were a room itself. Inside, in the kitchen, Neutra adopted his common design of a ribbon wall of windows which are placed above a tall, bright red, linoleum backsplash. Gray linoleum floors and white enameled cabinetry is used in the kitchen, and in the bathrooms, Terrazzo floors, Marlite (which was waterproof and favored by Neutra for its monolithic quality) countertops, and aluminum-trimmed wainscotting were selected. Neutra also designed a lighting fixture for the bathrooms that was a composition of two chrome disks and a bare light bulb. Walls and built-in furniture were surfaced in tempered Masonite, white Sanitas (a non-absorbent wallpaper), and fir plywood stained in a dark brown. 

Adapted from Neutra – Complete Works by Barbara Lamprecht (Taschen, 2000), p. 144.

Project Detail

Year Built


Project Architect

Richard Neutra with Otto Winkler


Drs. William Schiff and Ernst Wolfes


San Francisco, CA