located in the bird streets of the hollywood hills, los angeles, ‘skyhouse’ by XTEN architecture is a contemporary home designed for a married couple and their teenage son. with 5 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, a theater, a gym, a bar, and an 8 car garage the house was theoretically inspired by renzo piano’s fondation beyeler museum. the dwelling’s white abstract volumes serve as a backdrop to the landscape made up of native grasses and a single multi-trunk olive tree.
XTEN architecture wanted to fill the modern home with as much light as possible. the ceiling is made up entirely of a grid of truncated skylights that extends from front to back and across the main entryways of the home. the custom-designed expanse of skylights fills the space with a soft, diffuse light. the main entrance is defined by a bead-blasted stainless steel door separating the volumes leading to an entry garden where a floating pathway leads over water to the front door.
from the far end of the pool looking back at the house, the grid of skylights reflects off the water
large marble exterior walls on the rear of the property separate the living areas from the bedroom suites. the main living area is located at the center of the house and extends to an exterior terrace with a white plaster infinity pool, reflecting the canyon view beyond. full height sliding glass doors pocket away, connecting the living room and open family/dining/kitchen area to the pool terrace. this process creates one connecting indoor/outdoor area reinforced with white terrazzo floors that run seamlessly from interior to exterior.
pivoting front door entry into the home
the house is tucked into the hillside, taking advantage of the inherent thermal qualities of the earth. the skylights are tinted and contain a diffuse pvc membrane reducing the solar intake while providing plenty of natural light, reducing the need for artificial daylighting. sliding glass doors throughout the house allow for passive cooling and cross ventilation
front view of the house on cul de sac at the end of robin drive in the bird streets of los angeles
‘I was living in basel when the fondation beyeler museum opened, which renzo piano designed in the mid-90s. for the project, he picked up on these stone walls that you see in the agricultural fields nearby, and based the design on them, creating these massive parallel walls with a lightweight series of skylights hovering above, filtering the light into the galleries below. not to say that skyhouse looks anything like the museum, but some of those conceptual ideas translated into the design of this house. we basically have a series of four solid volumes with the space between them as a more public area — like the living room — and that whole area is covered by a series of skylights. they’re square, and kind of dome-shaped. it was more inspired by the cityscape of LA, which you see when you’re at the house. so instead of the agricultural linear fields, the inspiration here was to take the city grid and bring that into the house. when you’re up there, it’s very private. you see the city lights at night, and you kind of have this echo of experience when you’re in the house. it was an important building for me, just to understand light and shadow and the power of these soft spaces that are created when you can work with light to filter it and bring it inside, softly. that was the genesis of it.’ says XTEN architect monika haefelfinger.
after you enter the outside front metal door, you walk over a water feature past these lattice screens to the left which also secretly open/close for entry to guest rooms
inside front entry showing how skylights allow soft diffused light to flow in and highlight the art
front entry looking toward the side door and showing detail of the expansive skylight grid covering the entirety of the main entry and living space
family room adjacent to the kitchen and dining area looking out to the pool and the stone slabs separating the living areas from the rear
master bedroom with pocket doors open to reveal the exterior landscape and pool
kitchen designed with all gaggenau appliances, pantry hidden behind doors
architects monika haefelfinger & scott utterstrom of XTEN architecture in the main living room of the house while pocket doors are closed
designers: XTEN architecture
area: 1,115 sqm (12,000 sqft)
location: birds street, hollywood hills, los angeles
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edited by: yasmina karam | designboom