242 State Street

Location Los Altos, California
Design Principal Tom Kundig

Located in downtown Los Altos, the highlight of this adaptive re-use project is the introduction of a new façade that enables the circa 1950’s building to morph from an enclosed structure into an environment that invites the community into the space.

The client wanted something that would be interesting for the scale of the street and in character with a future vision of downtown Los Altos, and treat the relationship between the street and interior as generously as possible. The transformation was achieved by essentially replacing the entire front façade with a double-height, single hung floor-to-ceiling window wall that can be raised or lowered depending upon the needs of the user.

Beyond the introduction of the window wall, the interior was relatively untouched, leaving the space as flexible as possible for its future tenant. In addition to the front façade, other changes to the building included raising the roof by half of one story to create a better proportioned interior volume, and installing skylights to bring in more natural light.

The wall is operated by engaging a pedal—to unlock the safety mechanism—then turning a hand wheel which activates a series of gears and pulleys that opens the sixteen-foot by ten-foot, two thousand pound window wall. When closed, visitors to the shop enter through a ten-foot-tall pivot door.

The space opened with an installation by the San Francisco Museum of Art as part of its remote programming. They installed a number of works of art including Spenser Finch’s Back to Kansas (2013).

Information

Team

Design Principal

Tom Kundig

Project Manager/Project Architect

Michael Picard

Awards

2016

Architizer A+ Awards, Winner, Details: Architecture + Facades

2014

AIA Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Awards, Citation Award

AIA Pacific Northwest Region, Citation Award

Interior Design Best of Year Awards, Finalist

Publications

2016

“Awards Category Plus / Type Architecture + Facades / Winner Jury: 242 State Street Los Altos, CA, USA.” Architizer: A+ Awards 2016, 2016, 224-225. Book.

Kohn, Asher. “New stores may give downtown a new look in 2017.” Los Altos Town Crier. 28 Dec. 2016. Web.

Kohn, Asher. “Unique State St. spot to host Saratoga chef’s new restaurant.” Los Altos Town Crier. 17 August 2016. Web.

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