Gehry Partners points to the icebergs of the Warner Bros. building
Los Angeles architecture studio Gehry Partners has completed an expansion of media company Warner Bros.’ headquarters in Burbank, which combines two distinct facade styles.
The Gehry Partners-designed complex, called Second Century Burbank, contains additional offices and studios for the headquarters, which is flanked by a major highway and studio space.
Its name represents the celebration of the film studio’s centenary of operation.
Second Century Burbank is divided into two large blocks connected by a two-story volume topped by a landscaped courtyard. The offices and studios are intended for use by Warner Bros. and its potential tenants.
For the facades, Gehry Partners combined two distinct designs. The first consists of slanted curtain walls with a white layer.
They are used across the building elevations facing highways and have an “icy white appearance” intended to evoke the shape of icebergs.
On the side facing the studio area, these curtain walls are punctuated by steel facades with punched windows modeled on the Art Deco buildings of early Hollywood.
“For the glass facades, we adopted the image of icebergs for the dynamic angular geometry of their vertical faces,” Gehry Partners told Dezeen.
“As a counterpoint, we imagined metal volumes embedded within crystalline glass forms,” the studio continued.
“We wanted the metal façade design to convey a historic industrial feel, a throwback to Hollywood’s bygone era when the architecture of movie studios symbolized the grandeur of their ambitions.”
In addition to these references, the different types of interfaces also refer to internal software.
Glass partitions house more collaborative workspaces while metal partitions house more private executive offices.
Gehry Partners’ design also responds to the structure’s proximity to a busy highway.
At the southern end of the building’s sloping site, the curtain wall is designed to reduce noise from the freeway while providing visual interest for drivers.
“This is where the image of the iceberg stands out the most, and where the visual effect of the broken geometry of the iceberg works best,” the studio said.
“The movement and rhythm of the walls with multiple angles were carefully designed, taking into account how they would be perceived from a moving car,” she continued.
The other side of the building is more pedestrian-oriented, with landscaped spaces designed by OJB Landscape Architecture directly outside the building. These trails are complemented by paths winding through groves of mature trees and shrubs.
Inside, Gehry Partners designed the flooring to be flexible and in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of different tenants. Warner Bros. contracted international architecture studio NBBJ for the interior fit-outs.
The first two levels span across both buildings, while the third level includes a roof terrace for the smaller building.
Near the ground floor, the ceilings are higher with large expanses of glazing. The ceilings are a little lower on the upper floors, but outdoor balconies open them to the outside.
The building includes three floors of underground parking, as well as bicycle storage and water reclamation facilities used in cooling towers. Photovoltaic panels are installed on the roof.
Gehry Partners was founded by architect Frank Gehry in 2001. The studio is the architect behind the Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and recently completed a pair of skyscrapers called The Grand in the city.
Photography by Tim Hursley.
building: Geary Partners; Frank Gehry (Responsible Partner), Tensho Takemori (Managing Partner), David Nam (Design Partner), Heather Waters (Project Architect), Megan Lloyd (Partner/Chief of Staff)
Curtain wall: Curtain wall design and consulting company
Structural consultant: Inglekirk
civil engineer: Psomas
Elevator Consultant: HKA Elevator Consulting Company
Interface Access Advisor: Lerche Bates
Lighting consultant: Kaplan Gering McCarroll
MEP Engineer/FP: Arc Engineering
Landscape architect: Landscape Architecture OJB
Voice Advisor: Newson Brown
Code advisor: Simpson Gompertz & Heger, Inc
Hardware Consultant: Finishing hardware technology
contractor: Chrismar Construction