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Second Home Hollywood

Steering the future of seismic safety

Project Facts

Location Los Angeles, California
Owner Second Home
Size 90,000 SF
Cost $20 million
Status Completed 2019


Second Home enlisted the creative and engineering expertise of Walter P Moore to breathe life into the vision for their first U.S. location. The U.K.-based company creates and leases highly creative co-working space and sought a tranquil, healthy, outdoor working environment in the heart of Hollywood. The resulting conversion of an architecturally important but aging structure pioneered the use of cross-laminated timber in an American seismic system, and was recognized as the Best Architecture of 2019 by the Wall Street Journal.

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About the project

Originally home to the Anne Banning Community House, a two-story wood building designed by pioneering African American architect Paul Williams, and a Family Resource Center that featured above and below ground parking, this $20 million facility is now a distinctive collection of 60 oval-shaped, office “bungalows” and supporting workspaces nestled in an integrated garden creating a co-working campus for individuals and small groups of collaborators.

Completed in 1964, the Anne Banning Community House headquartered the Assistance League of Southern California for the latter half of the twentieth century. To preserve this historic landmark, Walter P Moore repurposed the facility by relocating several wood shear walls, converting the first-floor roof into exterior patios, and removing non-structural partition walls.

The team replaced the above ground portion of the Family Resource Center with a new landscape featuring individual office bungalows scattered around a lush, vegetated garden with more than 6,500 plants and trees. The original concept called for the demolition and replacement of the existing below-grade concrete parking structure.  Walter P Moore had a better idea: a complete retrofit that substantially reduced both construction costs and environmental impacts. To make this possible, we collaborated with the architect and landscape architect to develop two patterns of lightweight soil and foam filler to reduce the weight of the substantial landscaping elements that give the project its distinct character. Our creative “can-do” retrofit approach saved over 800,000 kg of total carbon dioxide emissions compared to reconstruction.

The design architect preferred to use cross-laminated timber (CLT) as a key structural element for the workspace pods because of its high strength, detailing simplicity, efficient low-waste offsite fabrication, and lighter environmental impact.  CLT systems have been used widely in Europe but limited prior use in the United States. When the design began, the local code authority, the Los Angeles’ Department of Building Safety, did not even recognize CLT products as potential lateral seismic components.  Walter P Moore did not let that obstacle prevent this landmark use.  We actively worked with LADBS to obtain a one-time approval, providing research reports, manufacturer’s testing results and our own supporting calculations to demonstrate the adequacy of CLT panels as a viable and safe system, resulting in the project becoming the first use of CLT as part of a seismic system in Los Angeles.

Ultimately, Walter P Moore’s creativity enabled the team to preserve an historically important structure and convert an under-used parking lot into a healthy and lush urban working environment unlike anything else in Los Angeles.  The diverse LA arts, design, and corporate communities have collectively adopted Second Home Hollywood for co-working and special events, and the project has won numerous awards for its spectacular design.