While coworking spaces began as places for freelancers and startups to rent a desk and gain an office-like community, the industry has become a big business in and of itself. WeWork, arguably the best-known network of coworking spaces received a (likely inflated) $10 billion valuation in 2015. Meanwhile NeueHouse, a "private work collective" based in Manhattan, raised $25 million—and has used the investment to open its Hollywood outpost inside the landmarked CBS Radio Building and Studio.
The CBS Radio building is something of an icon: Originally designed by Swiss-American modernist William Lescaze in 1938, the structure was meticulously constructed to be a state-of-the art broadcast facility. When it was finished, the building was lauded for being one of the early International Style buildings in America and celebrated for emphasizing functionality. At the time, it was also symbol of show business—I Love Lucy's pilot was shot there. These days, the CBS building is part of a larger redevelopment project called Columbia Square. Los Angeles firm Rios Clementi Hale developed the master plan, which aims to update the historic film studio for modern-day use.
Reshaping an iconic piece of L.A. modernism as a contemporary shared office space was a challenge, so to renovate the 70,000-square-foot space, NeueHouse enlisted the veteran Rockwell Group, the New York–based firm that worked very closely with the company to establish its design sensibility. "We hope it will be a great meeting place, a great place to work, a great place to collaborate, to think, to meet people—just a beehive of creative activity returning to the original use of this building," architect David Rockwell says.
Rockwell retained the structure's shell but completely revamped the interior while respecting the landmarked sections. His firm riffed on the metaphor of a dense city block for NeueHouse Manhattan, but responded to a different set of inputs for Los Angeles—mainly the city's unique brand of modern architecture, its warm climate, and beloved indoor-outdoor lifestyle. While the L.A. location's swanky aesthetic is similar to its East Coast cousin, the details are site specific. For example, it's birch desks, wired glass, and earth tones in New York and white oak desks, fluted glass, and a silver-and-gray palette in Los Angeles. The materials and hues that Rockwell Group used in the NeueHouse renovations are in a dialog with the original architecture, like the terra cotta in the New York building and steel detailing in the L.A. structure.
Original board-formed concrete walls, leather couches, custom library tables, and plush Moroccan rugs amp up the clubhouse vibe. In addition to the open-plan work space, there are semi-private offices and shared conference rooms. And if members need a break from the daily grind, they can lounge on outdoor terraces and a private roof deck, or grab a drink from the cafe. The experience is all about amenities, and NeueHouse frequently hosts lectures, events, and screenings, so Rockwell Group incorporated a double-height theater with moveable bleacher seating.
With its thoughtful and considered approach, Rockwell Group has created the ne plus ultra of coworking spaces that'll appeal especially to people who highly value design and architecture—and it'll cost its members. Rates are between $200 and $1,250 per month.