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They put the skeleton on the outside.

They put the skeleton on the outside

Spiders, crabs, and this house in WoodlandHills, California, all have one thing in common--they wear their skeletons on the outside. Ordinarily, an exoskeleton provides support and protection for the body structures of arachnids and crustaceans; this one supports a large house addition over the garage and provides earthquake protection for the whole building.

Owners Bonnie and Marshall Goldsteinwent to architect Bouje Bernkopf seeking a new activity room with adjacent spa; more storage space; sun control for the small, south-facing back garden and shade for the fully exposed rear windows; and a new, more distinctive look for their 27-year-old tract house.

A little checking revealed that the housedidn't meet current earthquake codes and certainly couldn't take a second-floor addition. Any alteration would have to include bringing the building up to code. The house needed shear strength, which usually requires substantial diagonal bracing or a plywood skin. Instead, Bernkopf built a wood framework over the house exterior. It consists of 2-foot-deep fin walls perpendicular to the existing house walls and set on a full foundation.

White stucco covers the plywood-sheathed2-by-12 framework, contrasting with the house's yellow-painted siding. Besides providing the needed structural integrity, the framework visually unifies the house's old and new elements.

A gable pushed out on the north-facingfront forms a glass-roofed entry porch; one on the back is centered over the covered poolside patio. Horizontal overhangs provide shade for windows, especially desirable at the back.

Inside the existing house, only the originalupstairs hall was altered. Here, Bernkopf installed skylights between the existing roof trusses and tucked fluorescent tubes along the edges of the new, more interesting coffered ceiling.

Completely unsupported by the garage'sexisting walls, the new 27- by 32-foot family room rests on the exoskeleton--the room is essentially a bridge. It has two entries: a spiral stair from the back garden, and a new interior door at the top of the house's central stairway.

Built into the new room are two otherrooms--a small half-bath and an enclosed spa. The spa's sliding glass doors confine chlorine and humidity to its 144-square-foot area. A window opens to the outside as well. Cantilevered 4-by-8 beams tied to back fin walls support the spa.

In the back, the exoskeleton extends 6 feetfrom the house. Beams reach from the outer edge of this frame, under the tub, and across the room. The house wall at the back of the garage was reinforced and acts as a fulcrum.

The spa enclosure's floor is fully tiled, asis the 12-foot-wide area between it and the exterior doors. This lets water lovers come from the back-yard pool to the spa without crossing the carpet.

Two glass-block panels nestle in the enclosure'sinterior wall. One provides natural light for the adjacent bathroom, which is sealed off with a pocket door; the other brings daylight to house plants and gives the wall a balanced look from within the enclosure.

Including a new roof for the entire house,the project cost $75,000 in 1983.

Photo: Exoskeleton extends from house walls, forms a glass-topped cover for entry walk, shades upper windows. It also supports new multipurpose room over garage

Photo: A room within a room, corner spa is set off behind a sliding glass door. Glass-block panels help bring light into adjacent family room and half-bath
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:remodeling for earthquake protection
Date:Aug 1, 1987
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