Of all the changes in architectural typologies in recent years, one of the most dramatic – and the most documented – is the transition from corporate to more casual, ‘fun’ office buildings. This change has infiltrated companies from tiny 5-person start-ups to Silicon Valley giants, and while it has been pioneered by tech and media companies it has certainly not been limited to them.
Most analysis of this change focuses on work patterns created by new technology or the demands of the ‘millennial’ worker, but this post originally published on Means the World - the blog of NBBJ - examines the shift away from the corporate office as a product of not just what these building are but what they represent about us as a society, arguing that “when today’s workers look at the midcentury office, they see a symbol of exclusion.”
International architecture firm NBBJ has created Sunbreak, a new prototype for user-controlled sunshades that will not only lower energy costs, but also give buildings a dynamic appearance throughout the day.
Technology currently exists for automatically regulating solar gains in buildings, but the downside to these systems is that they often lack manual controls, and one of the most common complaints heard from workers in modern office buildings is that they do not have enough control over their environment. Automatic sunshades go up or down based on the time of day but if it happens to be cloudy outside or if users want natural light in a room when the shades are down there may be nothing they can do.
Fast Company has announced who they believe to be the most innovative practices in architecture for 2014. Topping this list is New York’s SHoP Architects who has gone from “boutique to big commissions in only a few years.” See who made the list after the break and let us know who you believe is the world’s most innovative firms in the comment section below.
NBBJ, together with EOP Architects, has unveiled a massive renovation plan for Lexington’s famous collegiate basketball arena, Rupp Arena. An attempt to upgrade the 38-year-old arena’s facilities and strengthen its connection to the surrounding urban realm, the 23,500-seat stadium will be separated from the adjoining convention center, which is also undergoing renovation, while its enclosed facade is re-clad in glass and site sculpts a vibrant new public square within the heart of the city.
This two-minute video with NBBJ’s Andrew Heumann highlights a valuable capability of parametric design; whereby the architect can optimize the shape and orientation of a building to appropriate a variety of viewing conditions at the client’s request.
The aptitude for quick, cost-effective variation and the capacity for intuitive visual re-presentation of scripting plug-ins like this one (Grasshopper for Rhino) is a gold star for parametric design.
NBBJ has unveiled a 250-meter-high, two-tower campus that will become Tencent’s main headquarters at the Shenzhen High-Tech Industrial Park upon completion in 2016. As the world’s third-largest internet corporation, and 2013’s most innovative Chinese company according to FastCo, Tencent hopes the new campus will serve as a vibrant workplace for an expanding workforce of 12,000 employees.
The City Design Review Board has approved NBBJ’s tri-sphere biodome planned for Amazon’s downtown Seattle headquarters. Reaching up to 95 feet, the glass cluster of “Spheres” was designed to create an alternative work environment within the 3.3 million-square-foot office and retail campus that is currently under construction.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital just broke ground last week on the Brigham Building for the Future, a 620,000 square-foot translational research and clinical facility designed by NBBJ. Located on the hospital’s Longwood campus, the 11-story project will house eight floors of research laboratories, three floors of clinics, a state-of-the-art imaging facility, social spaces, and a 400-car garage, along with associated site improvements. More images and architects’ description after the break.
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.
One thing Google has become known for is their spectacular work environments. From playful employee lounges to environmentally sensitive design, the multifaceted internet giant has successfully transformed hundreds of existing spaces from around the globe into casual work environments that spawn innovation, optimizes efficiency, and boasts employee satisfaction. Much like many other California-based corporations, Google has been toying with the idea of building their own office space from scratch. Well, this dream will soon be realized, as the company has teamed up with Seattle-based NBBJ to expand their current, 65-building “Googleplex” in Mountain View, California. By 2015, Google plans to construct a 1.1-million-square-foot complex known as “Bay View” on a neighboring 42-acre site.
More on Bay View after the break…
NBBJ has shared with us their latest design in sports architecture, a multifunctional industrial sports complex for the residents of Suzhou, China. Designed as a community asset, the cultural sports hub will include a commercial center, aquatics facility, gymnasium, arena, professional sports stadium and more. All facilities will be integrated within a lush “Sports Garden” that features an abundance of pedestrian walkways, gardens and sport fields.
The architects’ description after the break…
Claiming to be the most progressive, sustainable, and cost effective courthouse in the nation, NBBJ’s shortlisted proposal for the New Los Angeles Federal Courthouse serves as a model for future GSA development. The contrast between the free and informal spirit of Los Angeles with the formal structure and societal role of the Federal Courts illustrates an important duality that openly coexists throughout their phased design. At a larger scale, the structure becomes a mediator within the skyline, rising to a comfortable 256 feet tall to help transition the steep, urban high-rise topography of Bunker Hill and the mid-rise, ordered context of downtown.
Read the architects’ description after the break to learn more about this high performance, multifaceted design.
With a 3-2 vote, Seattle’s Downtown Design Review Board has voted in favor of Amazon’s plans for a three-block, high-rise complex in the Denny Triangle. The board voted after conducting five, comprehensive meetings over the last six months to review Amazon’s evolving NBBJ-designed proposal. Although this design review approval is simply a recommendation to the city’s Department of Planning and Development, it is still a milestone for the ambitious project.
The five acre site, roughly located between Sixth Avenue, Blanchard Street and Westlake Avenue, is currently occupied by expansive parking lots, the Sixth Avenue Inn and the King Cat Theater. Continue after the break to learn more.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) has announced four recipients of the AIA National Healthcare Design Awards program. The awards program highlights the “best of healthcare building design and healthcare design-oriented research” that exhibit “conceptual strengths that solve aesthetic, civic, urban, and social concerns as well as the requisite functional and sustainability concerns of a hospital”.
The AIA National Healthcare Design Award recipients are:
NBBJ’s design for the Amazon’s new headquarters in downtown Seattle, Washington, promises to consolidate the companies currently scattered buildings into a 3-block development that includes high-rise towers, a variety of open spaces, and landscaped plazas. The 3.3 million square foot design was presented to the city’s Design Review Board (DRB) in great detail outlining the division of the each of the buildings, their integration into the downtown urban fabric and the synthesis of the currently underdeveloped Denny’s Triangle.
Follow us after the break for more.
Tomorrow, Amazon representatives are scheduled to present their design for a three-block proposal that will introduce three new towers to the Seattle skyline and add 3.3 million square feet of office space to the downtown area. Quite possibly the largest development ever proposed downtown, the complex will consume five acres in the Denny Triangle Urban Village that is currently being used for parking, the Sixth Avenue Inn and the King Cat Theater.
Continue reading for more information on the Denny Triangle project.
Metro officials have released six conceptual visions that suggest how the historic Los Angeles Union Station could be transformed by 2050. Preliminary “Vision Boards” were released in a public forum at Union Station last week, and although they are not part of the formal evaluation process, they have ignited an immense amount of public interest in the competition.
In an article posted on The Source, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa described that this competition is “about preparing for the future.” As plans for the California High-Speed Rail System evolve, it is imperative that Union Station is redeveloped to meet the standards of a 21st century transportation hub.
Continue after the break to view each Vision Board provided by the six well-known practices shortlisted for the competition.