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Hughes Communications
Long Beach, CA


Mark Rios


For Hughes Communications (now DirectTV), Rios Clementi Hale Studios created a new entry sequence which incorporated ten 17-foot diameter satellite receiving dishes as well as a number of significant public gathering spaces. The design solution needed to respond to some significant technological requirements. The minimum distance between antennae and the direction and angle of their face needed to be established by a consulting engineer. With these basic parameters established, we focused on the forms and arrangements of the structural elements of the communications process in order to create a landscape icon for the company.

To emphasize the importance of the antennae to the process of communication and to Hughes’ corporate identity, each individual satellite receiving dish was raised onto its own concrete plinth, giving it a more monumental aspect.
More of these concrete plinths were added to extend the grid beyond the satellite dish field, modifying in form as they moved away from the antennae's precinct. They were sculpted into forms that can accommodate different numbers and arrangements of people, establishing and defining outdoor seating areas.

For security and safety reasons, it was necessary to separate activity spaces from the concentration of satellite dishes. Ringing the satellite core with an almost invisible black mesh fence and covering the internal ground plane with a smooth sheet of crushed stone created a Zen-like garden (one to be viewed, not entered), that satisfied both security and aesthetic concerns.