NBCUniversal Area 51 Sound Stage Complex


Location Universal City, CA

The Area 51 Sound Stage Complex consists of twin 18,000 sf sound stage buildings approximately 53 feet in height.

Adjoining the stage buildings is a three story 23,370 sf production office building that includes dressing rooms, dimmer rooms, private offices, workstations, conference rooms, reception, copy rooms, pantries, and support areas.

NBCUniversal chose to support the proposed studios and production office on torque-installed piles. The pile layout was determined by the structural engineer to support both spread footing foundations and continuous footings. The studio buildings were completed using tilt-up construction methods with laminated wood trusses, which support twin semi-cylindrical roofs. The production office building was constructed with a steel-framed structure founded on spread footings that rest on the torque-installed pile groups. Both the studio and production buildings were connected by doorways but the buildings were separated by about 18 inches because of seismic building periods.

Shannon & Wilson provided geotechnical recommendations for the project as the geotechnical consultant for NBCUniversal and Universal Studios Hollywood. Our role in the project included site exploration, laboratory testing on subsurface samples, geotechnical analyses and engineering, foundation type recommendations and general site grading methods, including a preliminary report completed in November 2015. Shannon & Wilson observed pile testing, pile installation, and construction activities related to grading and ground preparation prior to foundation structural slab construction.

property development Commercial / Residential
Pavement Laboratory Geotechnical Engineering Geologic Hazards Construction Management
Los Angeles


2018 ACEC Merit Award for California Engineering Excellence


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