Openhouse / XTEN Architecture

Architects: XTEN Architecture
Location: Hollywood Hills, California, USA
Principals: Monika Haefelfinger & Austin Kelly, AIA
Client: Randolph Duke
Contractor: Peddicord Construction
Interior Area: 418 sqm
Total Area: 697 sqm
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: Art Gray Photography

The Openhouse is embedded into a narrow and sharply sloping property in the Hollywood Hills, a challenging site that led to the creation of a house that is both integrated into the landscape and open to the city below. Retaining walls are configured to extend the first floor living level into the hillside and to create a garden terrace for the second level. Steel beams set into the retaining walls perpendicular to the hillside are cantilevered off structural shear walls at the front of the site.

Lateral steel clear spans fifty feet between these beams creating a double cantilever at the leading edge of the house and allowing for uninterrupted views over Los Angeles. Front, side and rear elevations of the house slide open to erase all boundaries between indoors and out and connect the spaces to gardens on both levels.

, in various renditions, is the primary wall enclosure material. There are forty-four sliding panels, each seven feet wide by ten feet high and configured to disappear into hidden pockets or to slide beyond the building perimeter. Deep overhangs serve as solar protection for the double pane glazing and become progressively larger as the main elevation of the building follows the hillside contours from Eastern to Southwestern exposure. This creates a microclimate which surrounds the building, creating inhabitable outdoor spaces while reducing cooling loads within. Every elevation of the house opens to capture the prevailing breezes to passively ventilate and cool the house. A vestibule at the lowest point of the house can be opened in conjunction with panels on the second floor to create a thermal chimney, distributing cool air throughout while extracting hot air.

Environmental design

Glass in the form of fixed clear plate panels, mirror plate walls and light gray mirror glass panels lend lightness to the interior spaces. These glass walls are visually counterweighted by sculptural, solid elements in the house. The fireplace is made of dry stacked granite, which continues as a vertical structural element from the living room floor through the second story. The main stair is charcoal cantilevered from a structural steel tube. Service and secondary spaces are clad in floor to ceiling rift oak panels with flush concealed doors. Several interior walls are dark stucco, an exterior material that wraps inside the space. The use of cut pebble flooring throughout the house, decks and terraces continues the indoor-outdoor materiality, which is amplified when the glass walls slide away. The building finishes are few in number but applied in a multiplicity of ways throughout the project, furthering the experience of continuous open spaces from interior to exterior.


Set in a visible hillside area above Sunset Boulevard, the Openhouse appears as a simple folded line with recessed glass planes, a strong sculptural form at the scale of the site. The minimalist logic of the architecture is transformed by direct and indirect connections to the buildings’ immediate environment. The perimeter landscaping is either indigenous or a drought-resistant xeriscape. An outdoor dining area implements artificial turf composed partly of recycled rubber. With the glass walls completely open the house becomes a platform defined by an abstract roof plane, a palette of natural materials, the hillside and the views.

Cite: "Openhouse / XTEN Architecture" 18 Dec 2008. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Pingback: Ben Barren - Confessions of a Mad Man » Dexter S03E12 Finale Flop

  • Contemporary Art

    Gorgeous views, and I love the dining table outside with the chandelier suspended from the tree. The staircase is a nice detail too. This house feels very California, in some way, though, and I’m not sure I’m responding well to that feeling. Maybe its the black aspects. I’m not sure.

  • Kim

    Mies meets the Fold.

    Nice construction but nothing new. Actually it’s almost the perfect coffee table design, you would expect in Vogue House or something sooo trendy and hype like Wallpaper magazine or Mark.

    Definitely 90′s retro.

    We’ll probably see this kind of house ad nauseam for the next few years, hundreds of late minimalist houses mixed up with folding slabs are being approved by council every year around the world…So upper middle class cliche it makes my eyes bleed…

  • sgurin

    Very, very, very good

  • Digs

    Great house! I love it minimal design and forms.

  • Alex (CorbusieLer)

    Замечательная работа.

  • C.K. Avangado

    Give a round of applause for the architect. Who wouldnt like to live in such a house?

  • icecream

    nice views of the distant city, even beter without the folding minimalist magazine thing.

  • R

    I’m not following why it is necessary to have a Swiss firm be designing simplistic minimalist homes in Hollywood Hills…

    LA has some of the best small architecture firms in the country and as most of them have run out of work due to our declining economy. Then there is an opportunity to design a minimalist home in Hollywood and…Swiss architects are hired? Really? Not impressed.

  • R

    Well I feel like a dumba$$…apparently they ACTUALLY DO have an office in LA..


  • David Basulto


    any other LA or US based practices you would like to recommend for ArchDaily?

  • Sinking Cities

    Their office is in the Arts District, adjacent to my loft building. Keep up the good work X Ten and ArchDaily.

  • speedwing

    and it’s for sale

  • chickmagnetstuff

    it looks great but I think its a bit space waster

  • Pingback: City of Skies » Blog Archive » Openhouse

  • richie

    I like it too.

  • Pingback: SKYY VODKA BLOG » Blog Archive » Openhouse / XTEN Architecture

  • jason yang

    very very very good

  • Lasse

    Why did’nt they continue the fold to the lower levels and maybe to the interior? Or why is it even a fold? It’s not really in tune with the concept of lite vs massive and the fold is becoming such a cliche due to projects like this….


    When its a house with so much focus on interrelations between inside and outside I think the landscapeing, pool area and so forth lacks a dialog or integration into the system of the house.


    Very nice detailing……..

  • Gregorio

    VERY…VERY NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stefano Ricci

    This project reminds me another italian one, still in progress.

    Some pics here:

  • Nullifidian

    “So upper middle class cliche it makes my eyes bleed…”

    Would you suggest a cardboard box in an alley off of Wiltshire Blvd. instead?

  • Kim

    No, why ? Can you read any marxism, or even a single word of social struggle in my comment ? No, it’s just a comment on the current trend of “what is good taste” for the bourgeoisie…
    This house is classy for sure, but maybe missing a touch of vulgarity, that would make it definitely interesting…or maybe it’s just the charmless interior ?

  • tannaz

    wo0wwwwwww, i realy cant say anything cause its wonderfull !!! would u please send me some pictures from the out side view which is show every side

  • Interior Designs

    The views are worth dying for. Nice use of greenery too.

  • Nullifidian

    “No, why ? Can you read any marxism, or even a single word of social struggle in my comment ?”

    No, and that’s the problem. I’d prefer an honest class struggle politics to the mindless naysaying exhibited here. Your sole objection to the house was that it was beautiful enough to be an entry in a coffee table book. By that standard, why not stump for cardboard boxes or rows of shanties? I haven’t seen them exalted on people’s coffee tables.

    One hopes that the point of architecture is to create something that *somebody* will find aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. So you are always going to be able to sneer that the people who might like a piece of architecture are the Wrong Kind of People, but it’s still engaging in the worst kind of ridiculous, impotent BoBo snobbery.

  • Ultra man

    @ Nullifidian, I think I do agree with you, of course architecture should aim high. My comment was on the fact that the way this beautiful house has been portrayed for the media is dull, thus for average coffee table books, then it is not aiming high enough.
    I think the interior designer should have made it more hedonistic, and less boring in terms of interior. It is trying to hard to please the middle class taste, and should try to reach for the sublime by using more sophisticated material, or maybe playing with vulgarity and luxury. In a way this house looks very nouveau-riche.

  • Evalyn Dominguez

    wonderful…this is worth alot of money about $99,800 i would say maybe even more good work(:

  • affiliatefreeprogram

    Hi, what inspires you to post articles about this topic? It is very informative and enriches my knowledge!

  • Peter

    Love it, love it, love it…………
    No more words to development..