XTEN Architecture have designed Sapphire Gallery, an addition to an existing 1960’s modern house that seeks to wrap a growing art collection in a sculptural object of its own. The new structure is grafted onto the existing circulation/ gallery spine of the main house, extending it up to a second story for light and views.
Sandwiching the steel frames is a building facade system that was developed to provide solar protection for the art while still allowing for visual connections to the lush hillside gardens. The South facade and inclined roof are clad in noncrystalline solar cells that are customized into a diamond array, a pattern that continues on the East and West facades of the building as perforated aluminum cladding to screen the solar gain.
The artworks are hung independently from the steel building structure, an arrangement that allows for flexibility and creativity in staging the galleries. Continuous glazed clerestories allow for even daylighting of the artworks. The building facade is wrapped in a lightweight photovoltaic fabric that provides solar protection while allowing for uninterrupted views to the surroundings.
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