A staple of Seattle’s booming music scene for over 40 years, KEXP 90.3 FM Radio recently moved to a new 25,000 sq. ft., $15 million, 21st Century broadcast facility. Situated in the world-famous Seattle Center, in the shadow of the iconic Space Needle, KEXP FM features cutting edge broadcast and recording studios and, a live performance venue.
A collaboration between lead designers SkB Architects, and WSDG-Walters-Storyk Design Group, the complex includes a 400 sq. ft. on-air DJ Booth, a 1090 sq. ft. Live Room, (2) production studios, (2) audio and (2) video edit rooms, a video control room (2) DJ Iso rooms, a Green Room, Production/ Mastering, open office space, a library and conference rooms. Future plans include an additional DJ Booth for back-up and educational outreach. To support the station’s commitment to airing live performances, a 4500 sq. ft. reception area was created, replete with a stage and space for up to 75 fans adjacent to the record/retail store and café. Additionally, an 1100 sq. ft. live room was designed to support the station’s broad live streaming/video production mandate. KEXP’s audio/video broadcast systems integration design is based on a Wheatstone Audio for Radio and TV System.
The key to the KEXP 90.3 design was developing a sense of how the building’s functions frame its courtyard, how traffic flows inside the space, and where guest artists and bands, as many as three on any given day, would park and load-in. Live music performances are an important element of the station’s format. The building layout needed to address musician and engineer needs while simultaneously considering fan comfort and line of sight. To further encourage community engagement, the primary DJ Booth was also sited in this area. Designed with windows to maintain visual contact between the DJ and the public, the concept is central to KEXP’s goal of establishing the studio as a hub for social meeting and interaction.
Photos by Bitterman Photography