NBBJ‘s design for the new Samsung Headquarters in Silicon Valley will become one of the new buildings to relieve the city of its dull, nondescript two-story office architecture that dominates the landscape and introduce a new culture of office environments with a little push from the architecture itself. According to the LA Times by Chris O’Brien this architectural endeavor is just one move to establish ground in the rivalry between Samsung and Apple, whose highly anticipated spaceship-like, Foster + Partners-designed Cupertino Campus has made waves in the design community. Technologically innovative and influential companies like Samsung, Apple, Google (also designed by NBBJ), Facebook, and Nvidia have engaged in a cultural shift of the work environment to create a hospitable and creative community for their employees. The architecture of the campuses and offices introduced by each of these companies reflect the goals of an innovative business model that engages its employees in an innovative work environment that fosters collaboration and creativity.
See how the new Samsung Headquarters innovates office building design after the break.
The new Samsung Headquarters will be composed of two, ten-story buildings. The distinctive features of the towers, aside from the fact that it will be one of the taller buildings in Silicon Valley, is that the structure is essentially a series of two-story office buildings stacked on top of one another, sandwiching a series of “green floors” between them. The areas are open-air spaces whose gardens and recreational opportunities are part of an effort to reintroduce the natural environment in office architecture. These horizontal slivers within the composition of the structure are designed as a reprieve from the eight-hour workday.
Adjacent buildings are connected by elevated walkways, creating a truly open-air experience of the campus and encouraging employees to step away from their desks, collaborate with their peers, and engage in the environment. The structures will include research facilities, a clean room, data center, basketball and sports courts, and cafes – essentially a mini-city for its employees that encompasses work, play and relaxation.
The facility is designed with sustainable considerations in mind. Landscaped roofs, living walls, lush open-air courtyards and the parks layered within the office tower provide a natural environment for its employees. Roof panels mounted on the parking structure are also a measure of consideration for the campuses goals in maintaining environmental responsibility in its design.
Although it is ironic that in such a lush and fertile landscape as Silicon Valley, the architecture is responsible for reintroducing its inhabitants to the outdoors, the design for the Samsung HQ succeeds in creating a sense of environmentally considered design. Silicon Valley is strewn with low-lying office architecture, connected by highways with regard for utility and efficiency. Unfortunately, its natural landscape is largely ignored in favor of the “fertility of its innovative ideas”. It suffers from its own lack of culture outside of its reputation for technological innovation and instead has become a job hub for the cities around its center: San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, places where people escape to live for the cities’ cultural and social influences.
Samsung’s addition to Silicon Valley may be one of the many new works of architecture that changes the way its technologically-driven expansion develops. In the meantime, we are keeping an eye on the developments from tech giants like Samsung, Apple, Google and Nvidia – all of whom have the influence to challenge and ultimately change the work environment with the architecture to accommodate it.