Santa Monica Animation Studio / Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio

Courtesy of Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio

Architects: Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio
Location: , California,
Principal: Gwynne Pugh, Linda Jassim
Waisler Design Principal: Andy Waisler
Landscape Design: Studio J
Area: 17000.0 sq ft
Photographs: Courtesy of Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio

Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio, Inc. with Andy Waisler has recently completed an adaptive reuse of a 1940s bowstring truss and brick warehouse in what was Santa Monica’s Industrial corridor, now a hotbed of entertainment and hi tech. The 17,000 square foot building was artistically designed for a well-known, International animation studio that has recently achieved significant commercial success. Urban Studio designed an interior renovation that is warm, forthright and efficient, while also elegant and inspiring.

Courtesy of Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio

As is a consistent throughout all of Urban Studio’s designs, sustainability and conservation were of paramount concern throughout the tenant improvement process. The design maintains the structure of 1940s bowstring truss and brick warehouse along with stripped down and polished concrete floors. The centerpiece is the ‘Cube’ which houses a screening room, two editing rooms and a central IT/Server room for the entire office. Designed with a small black band that secures the foundation of the room, the office appears to float within the space. The sides facing the kitchen and hallway have built in platform seating used as spill over spaces for employee lounging.

Using natural lighting paired with efficient lighting design, the space incorporates natural woods and sharp, contrasting colors to create a vibrant and natural aesthetic. The design also includes an outdoor patio space that playfully blends both the indoor and outdoor spaces. Oversized sliding doors connect the interior to the outdoor garden area, bringing in the Mediterranean light and fresh sea air. The landscape design, by Linda Jassim of Studio J, capitalizes on found space on the side of the building, for use by employees for dining and breaks. An outside bar with seating hangs off the large open window facing the kitchen. At night and on cool winter days, heat lamps and lighting warm the space.

Courtesy of Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio

Urban Studio’s design successfully offers maximum flexibility of space, as the use of the studio varies widely, including viewing and editing spaces, general offices, and production facilities. The plan is open with privacy between offices and creates a visual connection to the overall space. On the mezzanine level architectural steel stairs connect to an overhead bridge and the conference room, which overlooks the ‘Cube’. The use of consistent and clean materials, the design shines as a representative example of Urban Studio’s keen eye for clean and sharp design.

Courtesy of Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio

Operating on a tight budget and timeline, the completion of this project involved significant negotiation with the city and utility companies to ensure a smooth transition from the studios previous location. Use of the space began recently in Santa Monica, and is currently fully occupied.


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Cite: "Santa Monica Animation Studio / Gwynne Pugh Urban Studio" 02 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>