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Amenities And Arts District Vibe Lures HOK To DTLA After 20 Years In Culver City

After 20 years in Culver City, HOK’s design studio is moving to Downtown LA.


The new 20K SF space in the Row DTLA will offer more amenities for the studio’s employees, who are working in the office on a hybrid schedule, and will be a space that will entice those workers to come to the office, said HOK Design Principal Adaeze Cadet and HOK Director of Design of Interiors Bill Bouchey, who are leading the design of the new space.

“As creatives and collaborators, we need a physical space that's the most engaging in order to support a better, higher-quality satisfaction at work — because we’re only going to be in three days a week,” Bouchey said. “There's a lot more pressure on those three days a week, but there's a lot more attraction to that as well.”

The Arts District-adjacent location, too, was a factor in choosing the space. The neighborhood feels much like Culver City did 20 years ago, Cadet said, with its warehouses, both repurposed and industrial, and its growing reputation as a creative hub. Like its Culver City space when it moved in, the new location brings a sense of being up-and-coming, they said. 

“If you think of the next decade, the amount of mixed-use developments that are going in and around all the districts that make up Downtown — it's a hotbed of activity,” Bouchey said. “It's the fastest and hottest next chapter of real estate development, arguably, in LA. And that's a place that we want to be.”

The Row DTLA on Alameda and Seventh streets is just across the intersection from the Arts District, but the 32-acre former produce market complex built in the early 20th century is a little neighborhood in itself, with retail, restaurants and office space. 

The access to outdoor shared working areas and a tenants-only rooftop deck the new space offers is a definite plus, Cadet and Bouchey said, as is the ability to walk to the ground-floor food, beverage and retail options. The area of Culver City where their current office is doesn’t have the same easy access to lunch options or other services. 

“One of the first things I noticed when I went to work in the [Culver City] office and I had 20 minutes to grab food was that that was an ordeal,” Cadet said. “I have to get in my car and go somewhere.” 

The warehouses at the Row DTLA were originally built as part of a large produce complex in the early 20th century.

Parking, too, played a big role in their decision to come to Row DTLA, said Cadet, who was involved in the real estate search for the new office. At the towers in Downtown that the firm looked into, landlords would only provide a certain number of parking spaces. Cadet said that that would have created a “have and have-nots” situation among their workers — most of whom commute by car — in which some would get parking and others wouldn’t. 

“At the Row, we're actually able to have equitable parking for everyone,” Cadet said. 

The new space is smaller than the 25K SF offices that HOK leaves behind on Jefferson Boulevard southeast of Culver City, but will be more efficiently used, the two said. 

“If you go to our current space, we're basically rattling around in there,” Cadet said. The new space in Downtown will feature assigned and floating stations for workers, as well as additions that could include phone booth-type enclosures that allow for privacy in what is expected to be an open, studio-style environment. 

With this new location and its attractive amenities, HOK’s LA studio is aiming to create a space that gives people a reason to want to come into the office. 

HOK’s U.S. and UK offices are currently operating on a policy of hybrid work that involves employees being in the office three days a week, Tuesday through Thursday. 

“We have to entice people to want to get back into the workspace,” Cadet said. When choosing a new office space, “It really needed to be a space that not only looked good and was cool, but had added benefits to make it feel even more rewarding to leave your home and get back in the office and collaborate.”

HOK expects to move into its new offices at Row DTLA by the end of 2022.