The idea of a live–work lifestyle is nothing new. In fact, it was the norm in America before the advent of the automobile. Today the reality is, people no longer work from 9 to 5, in an office, with a mandated, hourlong lunch break where they punch a time card. The world has changed pretty dramatically, and it’s not going to flip back anytime soon and as a result, people are living and working differently. People want to be back in urban-like settings again, where they can walk and never even have to get in their cars.
Centrally located in the emerging Hawthorne neighborhood near SpaceX, LAX and across from Jim Thorpe park, Xantho Workhouse builds on the live/work concept, but not without challenges. The four-story addition is added to the existing 4000 square foot architect’s office was converted from an auto repair shop nearly three years ago. Because the architect’s could not close their business to add on top of the existing building the only option was to build on the extremely narrow ten foot wide existing driveway on the property’s western edge. As such the building rises two stories high before cantilevering six feet over the existing structure of the architect’s office below. The lower levels consist of a workshop on the ground level, additional studio space on the second floor, while the upper two levels contain the living space for the architects.
Because the addition rises well above the surrounding one-story industrial buildings, panoramic views open from the two-story living space and mezzanine above. Large glass openings on the north, south and east sides take full advantage of the views but are also shaded by an abstract horizontal and vertical composition of metal fins and planes. The bright yellow corrugated metal siding of the building makes it a welcoming and cheerful addition to the otherwise greyish tone of the neighborhood’s industrial buildings. The roof includes a PV solar system that makes the entire complex a “Net Zero” energy building.