Howard Building Corporation our-work

YouTube Space LA

Playa Vista
Google YouTube
Project Team
Ross Project Management


43,000 Square Feet
HLW International

Project Description

YouTube Space LA's 40,000 square foot facility occupies what used to be a decrepit helicopter fabrication facility on the site of the Howard Hughes Aircraft Company in Playa Vista, but HLW Architects and Howard Building Corporation transformed what was once referred to as a “tin shed” into a LEED Platinum building that houses a collaborative space with state of the art production and post-production capabilities. As an extension of YouTube's Next Lab in New York, the facility provides creators with studio spaces and equipment to create original online digital content for free.

To fit a sizable program into the building, HLW organized the floor plan according to functional groups: production – notably the sound stages – takes up two thirds of the ground level; the other end is split between post-production and the public areas, starting with reception. Amenities in the production and post-production zones include seven stages, three with virtual-reality “green screens” and one with motion-capture technology for computer-generated imagery. There are also seven black-box editing bays, an open area with editing monitors, a pair of voice-over rooms, a recording studio, and a control room for audio.

Sandwiched between production and post-production, reception is no mere pass-through space. Ad hoc meetings take place at a long table lined with black shell chairs. Above the reception desk stands a 36-screen video wall constantly playing YouTube material. Opposite the video wall, lounge seating sprawls beneath a raised screening room, a specific YouTube request. The screening room's glass front, framed in reclaimed teak, can become a giant TV.

Given the historical nature of the building, the architect had to honor covenant restrictions imposed for historic-preservation reasons on two elevations of the building, which limited exterior changes. Instead, Howard Building Corporation installed new windows, roll-up doors, and a canopied entry along the length of one side of the building, providing the daylighting, views, and operable windows required by LEED.

Before the space included any amenities, however, Howard Building Corporation was challenged with the task of refurbishing a building that had minimal electrical, no existing HVAC, and no utilities running to the site. Knowing that the building was intended to be LEED certified, the team focused their energies from the start on accomplishing LEED Gold standards. In the end, 99% of the waste from the project was diverted from landfill, a first for any Los Angeles building project.