As a new recording facility conceived for the alternative rock bands of the owner’s independent record label, the intention was to provide a hip atmosphere within an inspiring and comfortable working environment. Working with the acoustically specific architecture of recording studios, a great effort was made to utilize the necessary angles and materials to enhance the overall design intention of the project, while creating rooms that performed according to very particular acoustic needs.

The existing building’s location at the only bend in the boulevard for miles in either direction inspired the use of an ellipse as a pivot point. Borrowed from the client’s logo, an oblique view of a record album, the shape was then used as one of the main design elements in the project. It acts as a tie between interior and exterior, and integrates the new addition into the existing structure. Laid over the western portion of the building, it is a guideline for the design of various elements both inside and outside of the building.

On the exterior the shape appears in the mechanical screen and skylight on the roof, in the curved cutout in the concrete-block wall of the tower, and in the back courtyard as a curved beam overhead and a pattern in the paving. Inside, the ellipse reappears in the spa skylight, the reception area stair and in the shaped ceiling and curtain rods of the main studio.

Given the sunny San Fernando Valley setting, the project allows as much natural light into the building as possible, with oversized skylights and glazed storefront systems opening to the exterior. With glass mostly oriented to the north heat gain is nonetheless minimized. Light-pigmented plaster on the walls and ceilings reflects the light and changed color throughout the day.

While much attention was paid to the spatial development of the individual program parts, their interrelationships, and the natural lighting of the spaces, in the end it is the decor that is the most striking feature. All things gothic being a favorite theme of the late 1990s music scene, the atmosphere of a mock English castle has been transplanted into this Los Angeles facility, where it is combined with the technology and architecture of the late twentieth century.

The interior design, initially met with resistance from the architects, has ultimately been integrated, and the combination has proven a success with artists and engineers. In the end, the sumptuous luxury and the vibe of the place, with all its amenities and capabilities, constitute a truly memorable environment.

building use: music recording and mixing, audio post production          
project scope:    10,000 sf; architecture, interiors, acoustics
schedule:  completed 1995
construction cost:         not available