The client is a young, independent motion graphics and animation studio. They intended to move into a 5,000 sf warehouse and the design brief required it be transformed into a creative workplace. It also required a new partial floor (1,500 sf) to be added within.
The existing shell was once a garment manufacturing warehouse with significant building, life safety and zoning issues. The design team additionally needed to work with a multitude of agencies in bringing up the warehouse to current land-use, building, fire, accessibility, energy and life safety code needs.
The program brief required work areas for animators, producers, editors, conference rooms, new restrooms, a clear area for green screen mockup shoots, a pantry, a lounge and a flexible work space within a 6,500 sqf of an existing shell. Animation and video culture is whimsical and technologically intensive, therefore our approach emphasized mixing two distinct work needs.
We proposed a continuous loop around a central armature nicknamed The Pit, for meeting, working, eating and lounging needs. The Pit is an orthogonal multi-faceted armature and was custom designed as an open shell with laminated plywood and light gauge framing. The surrounding loop houses a reception area, a lunch/ work countertop that dovetails into a seating area, bleachers for visual artists facing the producers as
well as an library and display shelving system. The area was located in the center of the warehouse to spatially divide private and public areas, and mediate both the vertical and the horizontal. Within this loop is a central pantry accessible from both sides.
Adjacent to this area is a staging zone for photo shoots, sized for a green screen shoot mockup area located adjacent to a glass garage door. This allows for heavy loading access, semi-open use and entertainment needs.
The mezzanine, added into the existing structure, houses post-production editing suites and acoustic recording areas. A ship ladder allows occasional access to the rooftop. The mezzanine was engineered as a slender steel frame structure with thin profiles due to significant height constraints and clearance limitations.
The key challenge designing for this space was working within an existing shell and surgically inserting new structure for creative use.