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Friday, Aug 12, 2022

Bringing Football to Los Angeles with Breathtaking Style

With the same spirit and grit as a Hail Mary pass in the 4th quarter, the National Football League (NFL) Los Angeles project team achieved the seemingly impossible. This landmark buildout was headed by an all-star lineup of Gensler, CBRE, Howard Building Corporation, MGAC, AMA Engineering, Diversified, Sheridan Group, Newson Brown, Labib Funk + Associates, and several more honorable mentions.

Just shy of 300,000 square feet of Class A office space, the monumental project was the first of its kind in Inglewood’s Hollywood Park. Every inch was strategically designed to seamlessly blend office space, studios, and post-production rooms while retaining the capacity to safely support over 800 NFL employees. All components of the space are connected by a grand staircase with glass guardrails and a stretched fabric ceiling that immerses employees in a cohesive experience. Connectivity was the key to success, and the result is a testament to the strength and resilience of the entire project team.

This sense of connectivity carries into the production areas to yield one of the most comprehensive and technical studios in Los Angeles. With 24/7 broadcasting capabilities, NFL Los Angeles requires an impressive tech-heavy production system to support the high-quality content that they are known for. Infrastructure upgrades to the Central Machine Room have yielded astronomically fast bandwidth speeds with 8K capabilities. Almost 75,000 square feet are dedicated to five studios and studio support areas, including a podcast studio, voiceover booth, and audio control rooms. Acoustically isolated studio walls and ceilings allow for clean and precise audio capture every time even if multiple stages are being used simultaneously. Furthermore, a live audience studio and outdoor studio provide endless creative options for future content.

A combination of structural steel trusses and pipe grids support theatrical lighting setups to consistently produce Hollywood-quality results. The captured content is then polished in one of the dedicated post-production edit areas to achieve the perfect harmony of audio and visual. Since football is best enjoyed in the company of others, the project scope included a nearby screening room and adjoining projection room so the results from the impressive studio setup can be previewed right then and there. Additional talent hosting and entertaining areas provide additional community spaces for watching the game.

As this project was completed during the height of the pandemic, employee wellbeing was at the forefront of every design decision. Several building upgrades were made under the guidance of NFL’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, and chief security officer, Cathy Lanier. In addition to optimizing the entire building’s air filtration and ventilation systems, several other preventative measures were integrated as well, including MERV-13 filters, bipolar ionization, and UV lighting in the ductwork. Several materials and features were upgraded for easier cleaning and to provide a safer workplace experience for employees. Touchless technology and barrier protection systems are utilized in restrooms, offices, dining spaces, and other high-traffic areas as a preventative measure.

As part of the workplace wellness initiative, a full-service commissary offers farm-to-table options from an onsite garden. With fully enclosed food displays and prep areas, and a touchless food ordering and pickup system, the workplace dining experience is safe and seamless. For those that opt for open air, an outdoor amenity deck with a water fountain and trellis provides seating areas and Southern California sunshine. The NFL also teamed up with dozens of medical specialists to create the most ergonomic solutions for their workforce. These design considerations extend to everything from one-of-a-kind task chairs, adjustable desks and benches, and privacy pods.

While it may be tempting to get lost in the details of the technology and amenities that NFL Los Angeles has to offer, the sheer magnitude of the NFL’s brand is felt throughout. Stepping into the main lobby is reminiscent of stepping onto the field, as visitors are greeted with a custom Corian reception desk with laser inset lettering, in addition to an expansive LED screen wall emblazoned with highlight reels and stats. Traditional football yard line imagery is reimagined as a creative lighting solution to greet all who walk in. A custom head-to-head helmet display, composed of 32 game-day helmets initiates visitors and employees as they engage in an experience synonymous with game day energy.

What’s more, the “Creators & Gamechangers Hall” packs in 600 feet of mural to pay homage to the NFL greats. In a global tribute to the love of the game, over 20 artists from eight different countries are represented through commissioned art pieces displayed throughout. Designed locally and in-house, the black and white themed tile is a product of NFL’s graphics team.

Every detail of this project was carefully considered, including wayfinding and iconography. Neon signage and pops of color are strategically interspersed throughout to indicate path of travel, add visual intrigue, and reflect the energy of the NFL brand.

The project team’s dedication to infusing the space with quality technology, employee wellbeing, and aesthetic cohesion reflects the project’s laser sharp focus on community. Not only do 800 local NFL employees reap the benefits of a world-class workplace, but the surrounding Los Angeles community benefits as well. The completion of NFL Los Angeles is ultimately a story of being brought together by a love for football. Hundreds of people worked together as a team and, even though many challenges were thrown their way, they huddled together, created a strategy, and got back in the game. The result is a space that the NFL and the surrounding Los Angeles community can be proud of for years to come.

Howard Building Corporation would like to thank the NFL, Gensler, CBRE, MGAC, AMA Engineering, Diversified, Sheridan Group, Newson Brown, Labib Funk + Associates, and the rest of the NFL Los Angeles team.

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