LocationRedmond, WA, United States
Other ParticipantsKPFF, Skanska, Sparling, Candela, Compass Group, Hermanson Company, Cochran, Ethan Rose, Sound Artist, ZGF Architects (Core + Shell)
Text description provided by the architects. Intended as an engine for igniting creativity and sparking new ideas, Building 83 brings together 1200 users from 14 different work wings spread over 4 floors and 300,000 square feet. Working within an existing core and shell designed by ZGF, our firm reconceived the typical central atrium surrounded by hallways into an active, sensory-rich hub that that actives the brain, drives innovation, and increases human interaction.
In the building’s vestibule, an auditory art piece titled ‘Elements’, by Portland artist Ethan Rose, greets occupants and guests. The ever-changing musical composition is generated by software interpreting real-time data collected by a weather station on the building roof. An all-white undulating white aluminum Portal marks the transition from the lobby to the building’s core, casting dynamic shadow patterns and focusing the view into the four-story central atrium. Here, an espresso bar and café anchor the ground floor along with a meeting room that allows large gatherings to expand into the space, ensuring a steady buzz of activity.
Informal meeting and amenity spaces line upper floors creating a sense of community and allowing the exchange of ideas to flourish. Hovering over the atrium rim, glass conference rooms and work balconies reveal the activities within while offering views of the bustle below. The Continuum, a custom-designed, textured wood screen made from recycled oak, traverses the walls and ceilings of the atrium, bringing warmth to the volume, filtering light from a large skylight, and creating a visible banner of connectivity.
Throughout B83, custom elements add design depth. A 30-foot wall of wine bottles inspired by Washington’s wine industry forms the backdrop to a HUB, one of the building’s informal lounge areas. Over 650 wine bottles attached to purpose-cut wood panels in a grid pattern filter natural light, casting dancing patterns across the space.
In the third floor HUB, the ceiling references old-school technology with 6000 standard fabric cable cords and socket covers strung on perforated plywood panels. The pattern of cables and sockets creates interest at the ceiling plane, and cable strands that extend to the floor provide subtle separations for the lounge spaces.
Unique graphics instill a sense of ownership in each work wing and serve as wayfinding between them. Abstracted from images of the four natural elements (air, earth, fire, water), these floor to ceiling designs also correspond to Microsoft’s brand colors.
Throughout the building, employees enjoy sightlines to the outside world, views of the majestic Cascade Mountains, and the simple pleasure of watching the weather shift. The campus’ first formal outdoor conference room is Wi-Fi enabled, covered, reservable, and heated for year-round use, serving as a model for future projects.