242 State Street

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 transformation was achieved by essentially replacing the entire front façade with a double-height, double hung floor-to-ceiling window wall that can be raised or lowered depending upon the needs of the user. 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.

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 building is currently serving as one of the temporary off-site locations for SF MOMA’s Project Los Altos. Beyond the introduction of the window wall, the interior was relatively untouched, leaving the space as flexible as possible for its future tenant.


Project Type


242 State Street, Los Altos, California, 94022, United States

Related links


  • Olson Kundig Architects
  • Bruce Damonte, Andria Lo