Located in downtown Los Altos, California, this adaptive re-use project introduces a dynamic new façade that enables the 1950's building to morph from an enclosed structure into an environment that invites the community into the space. The transformation was achieved by replacing the entire front façade with a double-height, single-hung window wall that can be raised or lowered via a custom-designed hand-cranked gizmo.
The gizmo is operated by engaging a pedal which unlocks the safety mechanism, and then turning a hand wheel to activate a series of gears and pulleys that opens the sixteen-foot by ten-foot, two thousand pound window wall. When closed, visitors enter through a ten-foot-tall custom steel pivot door. In addition to the front façade, other building modifications include raising the roof a half story to create a better proportioned interior volume, and installing skylights to bring in more natural light.
242 State Street most recently served as a temporary location for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Project Los Altos. Beyond the application of kinetic architecture, custom detailing, and increased height of the primary space, the open plan design allows the space to remain as flexible as possible for future tenants.