XTEN Architecture

XTEN Architecture

Los Angeles, CA | Sissach, CH



This residential addition is designed to display a private art collection, while also providing domestic spaces with views to the surrounding hills and creating a compelling new focal point for the approach and entry to the property.

The owners’ collection includes works by several well known contemporary artists including Uta Barth, Gregory Crewsdon, Tomoroy Dodge and the video artist Jennifer Steinkamp. The owners requested a building that would be more than just a container for these pieces. They did not want neutral, and asked that the new building have sculptural qualities that would relate to both the existing 1960’s modern house and also the art pieces, many of which have geometric and architectural characteristics.

To create the space for the new extension an existing garage was demolished.  The new structure was developed as an extension of the circulation spine of the existing house, and lifted off the ground to create secondary spaces below and around the structure. The new extension frames an open ground plane that now connects the back gardens to the main entry courtyard.  This new hardscape/landscape area is used by the family as a sports/play area for their children, for art parties and for video projections.

A structural system of lightweight braced frames was developed to achieve the double cantilevers at each end of the trapezoidal building.  The single story trusses are composed of welded tube steel sections that were factory built and assembled by crane on site in one working day. They are fixed to moment frames that clear span the open ground plane in the perpendicular direction, allowing the floor and roof diaphragms to be framed conventionally.  The system proved to be a remarkably simple and flexible way to achieve the program parameters of the project.

The remaining details of dark quartz pebble flooring, white steel stairs and perforated steel railings, full height pivot doors, and walls of UV treated glass are designed as a quiet backdrop to the artworks and natural surroundings.  An array of photovoltaic cells on the South facing sloped roof produces an average of 15kWh per day, enough to supply all the energy for the new building with a surplus directed towards the main house.

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Status: Built
Location: Los Angeles, California