Confidential Client


Motion Picture Film Archive

Los Angeles, California

20,000 sf / 2,787 m2

Architecture, Interior Architecture, Programming


When a confidential client needed a new facility to house its original film negative collection, it turned to SmithGroupJJR to protect these valuable and irreplaceable assets. Because water is severely detrimental to film, the client desired a clean-agent fire suppression system. Local authorities, however, routinely required water-based fire-suppression systems for such storage facilities.

The resulting vaults met both the client’s needs and the authorities’ regulations, thanks to a completely new box-within-a-box approach dubbed the “Russian doll” design. It features an inner shell without any penetrations that is water-tight, fully insulated, temperature-and-humidity compliant, and protected with a two-stage clean-agent suppression system. This inner shell is enclosed by an outer shell that is equipped with a pre-action water-based protection system. A long span structure supports the outer enclosure, providing room for air dehumidification mechanical/electrical equipment and creates a buffer of semi-conditioned, circulating air space. The structural system is designed to an increased safety factor to protect against seismic activity and for increased durability.  The enhancements to the interior concrete shell also create greater thermal stability as well.  Along with fire protection and seismic safety, this new system creates an extra layer of security, service circulation, and increased insulation — ensuring the highest level of care for this irreplaceable collection.