Monday, February 8, 2016

Photo Essay: Transforming the Hughes Campus Into Hercules, Before & After

I first visited the Hughes Aircraft Company campus—with most of its buildings abandoned and slated for demolition—right after I'd moved to LA in 2011.


Building 15, circa 2011

It was a kind of "last look" at the buildings before they would be gone...


Building 15, circa 2015

...or renovated for the new "Hercules Campus"...


Building 15, circa 2015

...named after the infamous Hughes H-4 Hercules "flying boat," also known as the "Spruce Goose."


Buildings 15 and 16, circa 2015

The hangar where it was built and stored still stands, though years of grime and gook have been stripped away from its interior.


Building 15, circa 2015

It hasn't been used for aeronautical purposes in a long time, having most recently served as a soundstage for various film and TV productions.


Building 1 Executive Offices, 2011

The International style structure that once housed the executive offices also remains...


Building 1, Headquarters of 72 and Sunny, 2015

...as does its a cantilevered awning...


Building 1, circa 2015

...although now it houses the industrial-chic, open floor plan offices of hip ad agency 72 and Sunny.


Building 1, circa 2015

Fortunately, the agency has preserved some of the historic interior elements...


Buildings 1 and 2, circa 2011

...like a wooden filing cabinet built into a wall in what's now used as a conference room.


Buildings 1 and 2, now 72 and Sunny offices, circa 2015

They even kept the old graffitied map that had been left behind...


Circa 2011

...and framed it for display in their reception area as a reminder of the past.


Circa 2011

They also preserved the corner office on "Mahogany Row," which is thought to have been the office of Mr. Hughes himself...


Inside Building 1, circa 2011

...but the rest of it is unrecognizable from those abandoned, rain-soaked days.


The view from Building 1, circa 2011

This place has often been described by former Hughes employees as a "swamp"...


Circa 2011

...and on a rainy day in 2011, it wasn't much different.


Circa 2015

But after four years of drought and a new coat of paint, it can be hard to believe that Hercules is the same place as Hughes.


Building 10, cafeteria, circa 2011

On the Hercules South Campus, video game developer and publisher Konami has moved into the former cafeteria of the Hughes Campus...


Building 10, now Konami offices, circa 2015

...which had been built in 1943 and then expanded in 1950 to accommodate the growing numbers of hungry Hughes staffers (who were often stranded on campus when the adjacent creek flooded).


Building 17, circa 2011

Originally built in 1950 as a warehouse, Building 17 was also used later for the Hughes Campus medical center and office space.


Building 17, circa 2015

Now, it's home to the Hercules Campus' first-ever tenant, YouTube...


Building 17, now YouTube, circa 2015

...which uses it as a production space for their channel "creators."


Circa 2015

In tribute to the history of the campus, they even acquired and restored a Hughes-manufactured helicopter, which is proudly on display out front.


Building 3, circa 2011

YouTube has also leased Building 3, which was built in 1942 and used to mock up the nose cone and systems for the Spruce Goose.


Building 3, circa 2015

The five-sided wooden building has been abandoned for years, so there's quite a bit of rehabilitation that is needed before it's move-in ready.

I suppose it's appropriate that the former Hughes Campus has transformed into a tech-centric haven for programmers, developers, designers, and digital whiz kids. After all, Hughes positioned himself and his company at the forefront of innovation, having worked on the latest developments in communications, radar, and other defense technologies.

This is the legacy he left behind when he died in 1976.

Well, one of his legacies. Throughout his career, Hughes had his fingers in a whole lot of pies.

Related Posts:
Photo Essay: Hughes Aircraft Company Campus
Photo Essay: Marine Corp Air Station & North Hangar, Tustin - Closed