Bringing a Slice of Hollywood to Stamford, CT
While the number of streaming platforms being introduced in recent years has increased at a rapid pace, the demand for digital entertainment content has never been greater. ITV America, part of the global production group ITV Studios, has grown to become the largest independent non-scripted producer in the United States, creating successful programming for a wide range of broadcast and cable networks in addition to digital and premium streaming services.
Under its ITV America umbrella—which includes production companies such as Leftfield Pictures, Thinkfactory Media, High Noon Entertainment, Sirens Media and Good Caper Content—the company has produced Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, History Channel’s Pawn Stars, HGTV’s Fixer Upper, and A&E’s The First 48, among many other hit series.
In order to keep up with demand, ITV Studios expanded its American footprint beyond its growing Los Angeles and New York City offices and into New England. The company completed the renovation of a 30,000sf office in Stamford, Connecticut, in the Spring of 2021.
“ITV America has been growing,” explained Pavarini North East (PNE) superintendent Matt Bruno, who oversaw the project. “They have an LA office that’s fairly new and Stamford is the fourth build they have completed in recent years.”
ITV’s new Stamford space is located inside a building that has a storied past. Originally only two floors, the new owners stripped it down, beefed up the foundation, and added two new stories on top. With its ideal location on the Long Island Sound, the possibilities for entertainment and tenant offerings were clear. Renamed the Stamford Media Village, this building is part of what makes downtown Stamford and the surrounding areas a hotspot for elite tenants and professionals and offers many entertainment opportunities.
PNE was enlisted to fulfill ITV’s needs for the full-floor interior renovation, including a mix of office spaces on the perimeter of the building, numerous conference rooms, multiple edit bays, an audio mix room and voiceover rooms. Many of the rooms—specifically the online and mix rooms—were complete with cutting-edge technology that will separate ITV America from its competition.
“The high level of acoustical needs definitely sets this kind of construction apart from your average office building,” Bruno says. “The audio mix room was certified by Dolby and is one of only a handful of mix rooms on the East Coast to have that acoustical certification.”
These rooms, Bruno noted, are also auditory masterpieces. “With each room, there are increasing levels of acoustical sensitivity. There were intricate acoustic details that had to be followed.”
The new online and mix rooms were designed to be structurally isolated from the rest of the building, with raised floors, both hard lids and acoustical ceilings, and HVAC and electrical measures that prevented vibrations and additional outside noise from entering the space. PNE implemented a double-
wall system—an exterior wall and interior wall that included more than 8in of acoustical wall treatment on top of the interior wall.
“Ensuring that the inner and outer walls were completely isolated from each other was critical,” says Bruno. “We also used putty pads and sound dampeners and sealed everything with acoustic caulk.”
The extensive acoustical demands required collaboration; PNE collaborated with three different outside acousticians to assist, particularly on the Dolby room, which necessitated refined MEPs. In the end, acoustical testing included a background noise check for the HVAC system, sound isolation tests consisting of white noise trials, and reverberation testing, which measures the time it takes for sound to dissipate in the room.
COORDINATION FOR THE WIN
Mastering the acoustics was a top priority for PNE, but it was hardly the only special feature for the project. ITV America also required an extensive Main Distribution Frame (MDF) room to store all of the data on the company’s large media files. The MDF room is equipped with three computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units to prevent overheating.
“Each CRAC unit is four tons,” Bruno said. “Two of them run at all times, the third is redundant, and all three of them cycle. It’s a lot of cooling for a small room.”
Another crucial challenge PNE faced during the completion of the project was coordinating with the contractors and subcontractors that had been working on the core and shell before PNE was hired. Bruno noted there were many meetings between his team and the other contractors working on the floor, particularly the MEPS trades, since a multitude of mechanicals were run through ITV’s floor, directly below the roof.
All of the coordinated communication and intricate auditory designs paid off in the end, however—ITV has been thrilled with the final result, according to Bruno.
“At the end of the day, when a client is happy with you and grateful for having you on the project, that’s worth its weight in gold,” says Bruno.