Right Angles - James Cioffi’s retro hangout

Arthur Coleman.

They call it the “Skybox.” They being owner Dave Gandolfo, part-time tenant John Cockrell, and architect James Cioffi. A part-time/temporary residence that sits on top of the office portion and the wine and cigar storage of Palm Springs Airport Self-Storage, the Skybox enjoys a quirky existence unlike any other local structure. It’s residential yet commercial, it’s fairly isolated but it’s a bustling hub of all-hours activity, and it’s occupied at times and empty at others.

The second-floor residence was built in the tradition of an owner or manager living on site. But, as Cockrell explains, with all of the high-tech security and video surveillance in place at this cutting-edge storage facility, there’s no need to use it that way. Instead, Cockrell calls it home while he remodels his own just a few miles away; jet-owning friends crash there when they breeze into town for a few days; and special guests find there’s no better place to barbecue on the fly. “It’s always turnkey and ready to go,” Cockrell says. “And the space is about as close as they come to a penthouse that you would find in a more urban setting.”

Cockrell calls the building a “Cioffi masterpiece” and enjoyed furnishing it minimally to keep the focus on the architecture. Besides, he reasons, while the indoors is bright with natural light and the space is immediately comfortable, the balcony is hands downs the highlight. “From up there, it’s eye candy at all times,” Cockrell says. “You’re looking down at the Palm Springs Air Museum and you have 180-degree views from Bob Hope’s house to Edom Hill. Plus, this airport doesn’t have your typical plane traffic. We get some of the most beautiful planes in the world flying in. You can just sit out on the balcony and watch the show.”
 —Lisa Marie Rovito


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