Inspired by Renzo Piano’s Fondation Beyeler museum in Switzerland, Skyhouse by XTEN Architecture is a multi-award-winning home in the Hollywood Hills. The 12,000-square-foot house consists of five bedrooms and seven bathrooms with amenities including an infinity pool, home gym, theater and eight-car garage.
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Located on a cul-de-sac in the Bird Streets of Los Angeles, the site has a 15-foot difference in elevation. The house is nestled into the hillside, maximizing the thermal qualities of the earth. The property also incorporates endemic drought-resistant plants, which are irrigated via stormwater collection tanks.
The project’s walls juxtapose with the seemingly weightless grid of truncated skylights that float above. This concept stems from the Beyeler Museum, which adopts a full ceiling of skylights to filter sunlight into the galleries. Skyhouse’s ceiling grid is inspired by the urban fabric of L.A. and produces a soft, diffused quality of light that floods the interiors. The skylights are tinted and contain a diffuse PVC membrane to reduce solar intake, keeping the temperatures comfortable while minimizing artificial daylighting.
Four solid volumes form the private bedroom suites, while the area between them creates the shared living spaces, including the kitchen, dining and family area. This living area extends from the center of the house and opens fully to a terrace and infinity pool overlooking the landscape. Passive cooling and cross ventilation are optimized through the floor-to-ceiling glass pocket doors that slide away. These create a blur between the interiors and exteriors, which is reinforced through the white terrazzo that spans from the indoors to the terrace.
Due to the combination of an elegant minimalist aesthetic and passive design, XTEN has been awarded several awards for this luxurious project. These awards include the Residential Awards’ “Large Single Family Merit Winner,” an American Architecture Award (AAA) by Chicago Athenaeum, and the “Design Awards Residential Merit,” by the American Institute of Architects’ L.A. chapter.
Photography by Steve King