LA-based design-build practice knowhow shop introduces their studio space ‘lighthouse’ as a micro-building designed and built like a piece of furniture. founders kagan taylor and justin rice, through their commitment to both traditional craft and contemporary digital fabrication, have turned away from typical details and assembly systems in favor of more experimental methods of construction. the project ultimately served as an exercise in craftsmanship and a test of spatial perception. the small studio comprises such atypical moments as a door without right angles. a custom-built skylight marries traditional boat-building materials with details borrowed from those of a car sunroof. shop-fabricated and mitered SIPs (structural insulated panels) are joined with hardware used in the film industry.

knowhow shop lighthouse
image by stephen schauer



as the team at knowhow shop had custom designed these details, the project could not have easily been passed to a contractor for execution. standard methods of architectural production we bypassed so as to explore the project’s full experimental potential. the studio elaborates: ‘lighthouse is an office for our business, a showcase of our craft, and an example of the huge potential within rethinking the way we design and build.’

knowhow shop lighthouse
image by stephen schauer



lighthouse is named to reflect both its construction system and its apertures. the lightweight prefabricated panels are assembled on site with minimal impact to the environment. a oversized and entirely custom door, window, and operable skylight provide natural light during the day and project a warm and inviting glow at night. without the necessity of a traditional foundation, lighthouse rests on industrial casters — originally designed to support roll-off dumpsters — which can be moved around the shop yard to facilitate material deliveries and flexible outdoor space.

knowhow shop lighthouse
image by stephen schauer


knowhow shop lighthouse
image by stephen schauer


knowhow shop lighthouse
image by stephen schauer


knowhow shop lighthouse
image by stephen schauer


knowhow shop lighthouse
image by nephew LA


knowhow shop lighthouse
image by marisa vitale


knowhow shop lighthouse
plan by knowhow shop



project info:


project name:​ lighthouse

design/construction:​ knowhow shop

date of completion:​ july 2017

built area:​ 154 sq ft

location:​ highland park, los angeles, ca

estimated construction cost:​ $50,000

systems/materials:​ shop fabricated SIPs, concealed draw latch, fiberglass exterior with AWLgrip
topcoat, reclaimed douglas fir doors, windows, and cabinetry.

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