Magic Johnson Park

Phase 1A of the Earvin “Magic” Johnson Recreation Area Master Plan was the first of six to completely renovate and expand the existing 104-acre site into a 120-acre recreational area. Integral Group provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology services to this project. In this interview, Associate Gislene Weig reveals the “magic” behind this highly coordinated community space that is as beautiful as it is functional.

What were some of the key challenges with this project?

This project had several aspects that made it more complex.  The beautiful architecture by Paul Murdoch Architects features a slanted V-shaped roof across a large divisible multi-purpose room controlled locally by a single wireless control touch panel.

Additionally, the owner did not want any AV equipment racks on the floor or in any AV spaces so the entire building had to be supported by a single control room using a single control touch panel in each space. 

This kind of centralized design wherein you have multiple rooms supported by single room, you add the complexity of the ceiling, and multiple configurations, which creates for challenging design.


The inspiration behind this project has been to transform a widely-used community-based park into something much more: an interactive and dynamic center of learning, nature, and engagement that is powered through environmentally sustainable design. We believe that the enhancements for Phase 1-A of the Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park ensure its standing as a world-class urban park for the community while also serving as a model for sustainability and conservation for the County of Los Angeles. We thank our partners and the wider community for the opportunity to create a new and exciting space for residents and families.

Gary Lai, AHBE | MIG Principal, and Director of Regenerative Design

How did these challenges influence your design process?

To create a seamless, centralized system design, we had to have a completely transparent and integrated design process that included Integral’s MEPT team as well as the trades that installed the equipment.  Having a well-coordinated design team and open communication was essential for the final product to work.

Placing the speakers, electrified screens, projectors, and other AV equipment in such a unique architectural space required a painstaking attention to detail to ensure everything lined up correctly, since everything was set at a different height from the finished floor.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park – Community Center Virtual Tour courtesy Los Angeles County Parks

What about the final installation? How was that process?

Basically, any sort of typical AV layout was thrown out the window. There are no straight lines with equipment stored locally in each room.  The biggest effort was coordinating each piece of equipment with different manufacturers going over the design multiple times and working with them to stretch the boundaries of what we could do with their products.

The result was so carefully designed and integrated into the architecture that when you enter the space you can’t see equipment wires anywhere, speakers are masked into architectural elements like baffles, screens nested beautifully into the ceiling, and the single touch panel is the only user contact point.  The whole space works “like magic.”

What did you learn from this project?  What strategies are you taking away to future clients?

Not be afraid to push the boundaries and work as a team, be open, and over-communicate.

Want to learn more about this project or our technology services? Contact Gislene here.

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