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Hughes Moving to New Headquarters : Recessed Design Preserves Views of Westchester Neighbors

December 08, 1985

Hughes Aircraft Co.'s nearly 900 corporate employees will move between Christmas and New Year's Day from leased offices in El Segundo to the firm's new corporate headquarters in the Westchester district of Los Angeles.

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the 900-foot-long, granite-faced structure is set into a hillside to preserve the views of residential neighbors and mitigate traffic and noise impacts on the neighborhood. The building overlooks Marina del Rey at 7200 Hughes Terrace, off Lincoln Boulevard.

The 1 million-square-foot complex was developed for Hughes by the Koll Co. and is the largest project developed for another owner by Koll, which normally develops office and industrial buildings for its own portfolio. Koll Construction Co. was the general contractor.

The Koll Co. worked with Hughes for 3 1/2 years from gaining land-use approvals and selecting the architectural firm through construction management and final move-ins. Sources close to the development reported project cost at more than $90 million.

All seven levels are stepped into a hillside adjacent to an established residential neighborhood. The building contains 450,000 square feet of offices on four levels, a 100,000-square-foot atrium and 550,000 square feet of parking for 1,150 cars on three levels.

The structure will allow Hughes to consolidate its corporate staff in a single location, and the building is large enough to eventually accommodate 1,250 employees. Hughes is the largest private industrial employer in Southern California, according to the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Glenn S. Hunter Jr., director of real estate for Hughes, said:

"We challenged the Koll Co. and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to provide us with a corporate headquarters that would consolidate our corporate staff, preserve the views of our Westchester neighbors, maintain the residential character of the site, integrate the building into its natural surroundings and mitigate traffic and noise impacts on the neighborhood. To gain permission to build our headquarters on this environmentally sensitive site, we and the Koll Co. worked for eight months in meetings with neighborhood groups, civic groups, government officials and a raft of environmental consultants."

For its efforts, Hughes Aircraft's executive committee of the board received the national, nonprofit Industrial Development Research Council's 1985 Award for Distinguished Service in Environmental Planning.

"This building will provide a strong corporate identity for Hughes, which has a long association with the Westchester area," Hunter said.

The structure is faced with polished, pearl granite quarried in Spain. Expansive panels of blue-green glass span the 30-foot distance between columns.

The office levels overlook the four-level-high atrium, which is landscaped with 20-foot-high trees set into tree wells among flower beds and other greenery. Office levels bridge over the atrium and are interconnected by escalators as well as elevators.

Koll Construction Co. excavated 780,000 cubic yards of earth to place the structure into the hillside on five acres of a 20-acre site. The building is surrounded by terraces and gardens, including a dining terrace adjacent to the cafeteria.

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