For some companies, an office is merely a vessel for getting stuff done. For others, it’s a showcase and calling card for their craft. When Knowhow Shop, a design and fabrication studio out of Los Angeles, started thinking about its new office, it immediately knew the space should be a test bed for some of the studio’s more radical ideas and materials.
The designers came up with the Lighthouse, an angular bunker of a building constructed out of lightweight prefabricated panels. From certain angles, Lighthouse looks a little like a geodesic dome gone wrong—and we mean that in the best way possible.
Knowhow Shop founders, Kagan Taylor and Justin Rice, designed the space to be deliberately experimental. “This is not a project that we would have been able to hand off to a contractor to execute, so we bypassed the normal methods of architectural production, and relied on the most experimental potential of our design/build model,” they said.
And indeed, the 154-square-foot space, built with an estimated construction cost of $50,000, is full of unexpected design choices. Taylor and Rice designed a custom door whose quadrangle shape has no right angles. When open, the door leaves gaps at both sides, creating a pleasant indoor-outdoor vibe. Likewise, the windows and skylight have unusual shapes, with the latter being constructed from shipbuilding and automobile parts.
The designers wanted their office to be mobile, so instead of building it on a foundation, they mounted the lightweight building on casters that were originally used for rolling dumpsters. It’s a brilliant example of how reused parts, even those made for a dumpster, can come together to create something beautiful and unique.