TYPE: Development, Office, Retail and Commercial
Client: Mango Cross Media
Cross Media Studios is a concept design for a high-profile film and TV production studio to be located within a tax incentive zone in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The former site of Bethlehem Steel, Allentown contains many large, mostly-abandoned industrial sites and buildings. The city’s tax incentive zone seeks to encourage development to revitalize the area through bringing in new industries and jobs to the city. Due to its tax incentives and proximity to NYC, Allentown is a unique and viable location for lower-cost film production on the East Coast.
The client required a campus containing offices and facilities to accommodate every aspect of a modern major motion-picture production—including pre-production offices, sound stages, post-production facilities and screening rooms—as well as the studio’s future growth. Cross Media Studios wanted an inspiring contemporary campus where production crews could film and produce everything in one place using state-of-the-art technology, while also allowing the facility to be adaptable to future technologies.
DESIGN PROCESS & INTENT
The intent for Cross Media Studios was to establish it as the preeminent East Coast production facility for TV and Motion Pictures. Soluri Architecture was brought into the project at the earliest phase and helped the client conceptualize, program, and visualize how the existing buildings and site could be used to achieve this goal. This design intent and process helped Cross Media Studios move away from the traditional idea of a studio limited only to sound stages with a bare-bones office, and shift into a facility that supports a more unified creative process that utilizes technology to enhance and improve the production process.
Soluri Architecture’s design for Cross Media Studios seeks to revolutionize the film production process by integrating pre- and post-production into the functionality of the space, and creating cohesive spaces for crews from around the world to work and collaborate. The final concept included the design of a new 100,000 sq. ft. technology building that would house state-of-the-art post-production facilities, allowing content from around the world to be compiled, edited, and reviewed in a streamlined process. This building was designed from the inside out, keeping in mind the relationships between directors and producers within an integrated production process. The final result is a sculptural glass building where each floor is designed to accommodate the interactions between crews, and the specific needs of each department.
The project has gone through several iterations and sites within Allentown, with Soluri Architecture revising and adapting the masterplan to each location. The design has been presented to local authorities and to a select group of Hollywood luminaries who support the project.