Bringing the Future Downtown

Megan
Thursday 01 Nov 2012

Gensler converts an abandoned bank building in downtown Los Angeles into a creative workplace showcase


To spark an urban renaissance the City of Los Angeles has spurred developments downtown such as AEG’s L.A. LIVE. Attracting the creative sector is equally high on its agenda, which is why Gensler L.A.’s 400 designers relocated from Santa Monica to 500 South Figueroa.

The new office transforms a long-vacant City National Plaza banking pavilion into a true workplace of the future that is designed with the firm’s mobile teams and highly interactive studios clearly in mind. Conceived from the outset as a flexible, technology-rich innovation lab, the office keeps pace with its fast-moving teams. Floating conference rooms line the centerpiece—a skylit atrium and stair that define a vibrant social and visual hub. More than half the space is collaborative, with project, team, and conference rooms, impromptu work areas, and the Red Zone, the main communal space for the office.

Achieving this meant removing parts of the roof and top floor of the 1971 pavilion and inserting a 12,000-square-foot mezzanine. Two disconnected floors became a dynamic three-storey volume with a larger floor area. Colourful, soundproof breakout rooms act as visual landmarks for the open studio floors. Designed and built in just nine months, the LEED Platinum-certified building incorporates such sustainable features as radiant chilled sails and motion-sensor lighting. An integrated 30ft by 50ft skylight has operable windows for smoke evacuation and natural ventilation as well as high performing glass that allows 25% of natural daylight to be transmitted.

The new office supports the present and future needs of a globally connected, tech-savvy design collective. It dramatically displays Gensler’s commitment to downtown L.A. as the showcase of the city’s renowned creative sector, one of the powerful engines of the California economy.

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