ANX Architecture Renovates a Historic Television and Film Office in Los Angeles, Once Home to Hanna-Barbera
Back in the figurative stone age when “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons” lit up TV screens across America, the cartoons emanated from a solid concrete block of a building located in Los Angeles-adjacent Studio City. Hanna-Barbera, the creative team behind the shows, moved into the single-story windowless structure in 1960, two years after completion of the 7,574-square-foot building designed by architect M.C.A. Henderson. It was aptly and affectionately dubbed The Bunker. Fast forward a half-century to the present where the building’s owner is still a production company, for film as well as television. Its interiors, however, have been renovated to foster teamwork in both open collaborative and private spaces and, most importantly, bring daylight into the equation.
“When we received the building, it was vacant and had been stripped down to a warehouse-like space,” begins Aaron Neubert, founding principal of the architecture and design practice ANX, located in the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles. But it boasted assets, too: a bow-truss structure, masonry walls, wide steel-flange beams, and concrete slab flooring. All Neubert had to do was clean them up to basically honor the building. For its big move, the ANX team sprinkled 28 skylights, fit in with the spacing of the trusses, throughout the space. Another component in the renovation was an installation of highly efficient mechanical system, its exposed ductwork painted a deep green to match the color of the beams.
While the building’s original corner entrance was retained, the ANX team, in its big move vis-à-vis architecture, created a second entry at the parking lot via a large glass and steel storefront. Now, visitors and staff, which varies according to production schedules from typical occupancy of 15 to a capacity of 98, enter into a kitchen area, segueing into reception and lounge. “It’s all a bit of domestic landscape in scale,” notes Neubert, whose resumé is chock-full of residences with more on the boards. Here, the space starts out warm, the vibe coming from a Douglas fir slat wall that also forms benches and a diminutive receptionist’s station. The slatted treatment extends into the work zone where it becomes the back wall for main conference room, otherwise transparent with its glass front. See-through, too, are the frameless, glazed private offices, 16 in number, lining the perimeter. Otherwise, the work area is configured with two small conference rooms and 10 desks with custom, carrel-like enclosures, also of Douglas fir. Initiated pre-Covid, the project originally had hot desks out in the open. When the pandemic hit part-way through, Neubert pivoted to design the enclosures addressing workplace safety concerns. As for lounge furnishings, they come courtesy of the client, and include CB2, West Elm, Industry West, and Circa lighting as sources. All told, it’s a flexible set-up allowing work from anywhere. “What’s interesting about the space,” adds Neubert, “is the ability for it to operate with a few people yet be comfortable when full. It’s a creative environment showing collaboration can happen in different ways.”
ANX’s commission also covered an existing annex building, its area included in the square-footage count and also of concrete construction. Housed here are a screening room for 16 and pair of edit bays. Work entailed building acoustically-sound walls, and, in the screening room, raising the floor and dropping the ceiling so repairs could be affected.
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