Architectural reboot hits Silicon Valley [Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA)]
(Telegraph-Herald (Dubuque, IA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) building boom Apple Where: Cupertino, Calif., on land formerly owned by Hewlett-Packard. What: A new headquarters of 2.8 million square feet for 12,000 Apple employees. When: 2016. Nvidia Where: Santa Clara, Calif., across the street from its current headquarters. What: A new headquarters consisting of two triangular buildings, each with 500,000 square feet for as many as 4,000 employees. When: July 2015 (first building). Facebook Where: Menlo Park, Calif. What: A 433,555-square-foot West Campus for 2,800 engineers. When: spring 2015. Google Where: Mountain View, Calif. What: A new Bay View complex of nine buildings totaling 1.1 million square feet. When: 2015. Samsung Where: north San Jose, Calif. What: A new U.S. headquarters for its semiconductor division, with 680,000 square feet for 600 employees. When: 2015.
For all the technological breakthroughs it has produced, Silicon Valley is an architectural wasteland.
Rather than complementing the lush rolling hills to the west and the expansive San Francisco Bay to the east, this high-tech hub has produced an
unending line of dreary office parks full of two-story, cubicle- lined buildings whose main visual goal is to escape notice.
Yet amid this backdrop of bland, Silicon Valley is suddenly showing signs of architectural life. The latest evidence came last month when Nvidia Corp., of Santa Clara, Calif., and then Google Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., unveiled plans for elaborate new campuses.
Google's new complex, dubbed Bay View, would be a series of bent, rectangular buildings connected by bridges arranged around courtyards and topped with green roofs.
Nvidia's campus would sport a Space Age look with a pair of triangle-shaped buildings with geodesic roofs that mimic the miniature triangles used in computer graphic chips.
"The new Nvidia building will capture the ambition and imagination of our people," said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive of the computer chip maker. "It will stand at the intersection of science and art, just as our work in visual computing does. It will be the symbol, the physical manifestation, of our vision for the company. You'll see how it fuses together smart design, craftsmanship and soul."
Art Soul In Silicon Valley
Believe it. Google and Nvidia are just the latest distinctive office designs that have been announced for the region.
The most buzzed-about has been Apple Inc.'s spaceship-like campus in Cupertino, Calif. In Menlo Park, Calif., Facebook Inc. hired architect Frank Gehry to design its expansion.
And Samsung Electronics Co., the South Korean giant, has unveiled plans for a new facility in San Jose, Calif., that includes office floors alternating with open-air parks and smaller buildings draped in greenery.
"It would definitely be a signature building for
San Jose," said Joseph Horwedel, the city's director of planning.
This game of one-
upmanship is a long way from the stripped-down garages where tech companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Apple got their start. That simple, no-frills aesthetic has guided Silicon Valley's approach to work spaces, fashion sense and other matters ever since.
Indeed, there seems to be a growing desire to stand out from the crowd of tech competitors for practical and strategic reasons.
"Absolutely, that's one of the cornerstones of competing in Silicon Valley," said John Hankey, Nvidia's vice president of real estate. "We think this building is going to be a reflection of the amazing things we do."
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