In what is common in many parts of the United States, Santa Monica, California's industrial buildings have been transformed into office spaces for replacement business, in this case for entertainment and tech companies. Many of these old industrial spaces near Los Angeles feature large open spaces capped by wood trusses. Gwynne Pugh Urban Studios with Waisler Design recently completed the transformation of one such space into offices for an animation studio. The architects sent us some text and images on the design, which is oriented about the "Cube."
The Cube and its connections
As is a consistent throughout all of Urban Studio's designs, sustainability and conservation were of paramount concern throughout the tenant improvement process. The design maintains the structure of a 1940s bowstring truss and brick warehouse along with stripped down and polished concrete floors. The centerpiece is the “Cube” which houses a screening room, two editing rooms and a central IT/server room for the entire office. Designed with a small black band that secures the foundation of the room, the office appears to float within the space. The sides facing the kitchen and hallway have built in platform seating used as spill over spaces for employee lounging.
Using natural lighting paired with efficient lighting design, the space incorporates natural woods and sharp, contrasting colors to create a vibrant and natural aesthetic. The design also includes an outdoor patio space that playfully blends both the indoor and outdoor spaces. Oversized sliding doors connect the interior to the outdoor garden area, bringing in daylight and fresh sea air. The landscape design capitalizes on the found space on the side of the building, for use by employees for dining and breaks. An outside bar with seating hangs off the large open window facing the kitchen. At night and on cool winter days, heat lamps and lighting warm the space.
The Cube volume with seating
Urban Studio’s design offers maximum flexibility of space, as the use of the studio varies widely, including viewing and editing spaces, general offices, and production facilities. The plan is open with privacy between offices and creates a visual connection to the overall space. On the mezzanine level architectural steel stairs connect to an overhead bridge and the conference room, which overlooks the Cube.
Bow truss ceiling and workspace below
Operating on a tight budget and timeline, the completion of this project involved significant negotiation with the city and utility companies to ensure a smooth transition from the studios previous location.