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Gehry Designs Warner Bros. HQ

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

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Architect Frank Gehry of Gehry Partners (Los Angeles) has designed a set of office buildings for Warner Bros.' future headquarters in Burbank, California.

Moving away from the iconic “WB” water tower, Gehry recently released renderings of the new 800,000-square-foot complex, resembling what has been described as “icebergs floating along the freeway.”

Transitioning Headquarters

In plans to expand its existing Burbank headquarters, Warner purchased Burbank Studios from joint venture Worthe Real Estate Group and Stockbridge Real Estate Fund, which is helping to develop the new office space in the Burbank Media District.

Warner had previously owned the property, but sold it to NBC in 1951. Jeff Worthe would purchase the 35-acre lot in 2007 for about $250 million. Now, Worthe is selling about three quarters of the property back to Warner; a purchase amount for the transation has not yet been disclosed. However, according to the LA Times, the multi-phase project has an estimated combined value of more than $1 billion.

As part of the deal, Warner will also be selling its historic North Hollywood Way facility—known as the Ranch lot—across the freeway from where its new head office will stand.

In a statement by Kim Williams, Warner executive vice president and chief financial officer said, “This is an opportunity to reimagine not only our workspace but our future.

"It will also better position our company for the future and provide for more production capacity."

Acquired by AT&T just last year, the company currently occupies about 1.2 million square feet of office space outside of its main lot, and plans to move many of its operations to the new complex. The expansion plan will also allow for Warner to focus on its employees and productions through a contiguous parcel.

When the transition is complete, Warner will have acquired eight sound stages, a mill building, a commissary and additional office and production spaces.

The Project

Dubbed the “Second Century Project,” the office complex will be made up of two office buildings constructed in Gehry’s signature fluted and staggered form.

“Once upon a time, Hollywood Studios had an important architectural presence in the city — they were like monuments to the movie-making process,” Gehry stated.

“With this project, I was trying to recapture that feeling of old Hollywood splendor.”

The exterior of the buildings will be created using a two-faced complex. For the more public exposure facing the freeway, Gehry has designed glass facades, positioned to catch the sun’s rays. The office complex’s second main exposure has plans to be wrapped in perforated metal panels, which will face other existing warehouse-like studios.

Gehry adds, “From the freeway, the buildings are composed as one long sculptural glass facade that creates a single identity like icebergs floating along the freeway.

"On the studio side, the metal-punched facade is terraced to relate to the scale and character of the existing studio buildings.”

Overall, the structures will encompass one seven-story building containing 355,000 square feet and one nine-story building with an area of 445,000 square feet. And although the exterior reflects a disjointed appearance, the inside is scheduled to host large, open workspaces.

The Warner Bros. headquarters is slated to break ground in the fall of this year, with plans to complete Phase I of the project by 2022. Phase II is slated to be complete by 2023, just in time for the company’s 100th anniversary.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Building operations; Business operations; Commercial / Architectural; Design; Design - Commercial; Design build; Durability + Design; Frank Gehry; Maintenance + Renovation; NA; North America; Upcoming projects

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