Valve Headquarters / Clive Wilkinson Architects + JPC Architects

Valve Headquarters / Clive Wilkinson Architects + JPC Architects

© Ema Peter © Ema Peter © Ema Peter © Ema Peter + 20

  • Design Architect

    Clive Wilkinson Architects
  • Executive Architect

    JPC Architects
  • Design Team

    Sasha Shumyatsky, Grace Eun, Caroline Duncan, Chester Nielsen
  • Client

    Valve Corporation
  • Structural Engineer

    Cary Kopczyski & Company (CKC)
  • Lighting Consutlant

  • General Contractor

    GLY Construction
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© Ema Peter
© Ema Peter

Text description provided by the architects. Valve Corporation’s new headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, consists of 135,500 square feet of office and amenity space spanning 9 contiguous floors for 500+ employees. The company’s steady growth, in addition to their recent expansion into VR (virtual reality) and hardware development, prompted the popular video game developer to relocate to the newly completed Lincoln Square, a 31-story mixed-use development just down the street from their previous offices. Working together with a Bellevue-based Executive Architect, JPC Architects, the Design Team at Clive Wilkinson Architects implemented a dynamic design solution that incorporated flexible, open workspace for the company’s software and hardware departments with a cafeteria, café spaces, gym and shower facilities, audio visual editing suites, a merchandise display room, a motion capture room, and various family play areas and rooms.

© Ema Peter
© Ema Peter

Building from Valve’s deep-rooted cabal system of self-organized, multidisciplinary project teams, the new workplace is supported by a variety of open and enclosed collaboration spaces. The flexible and interactive floor plan allows teams to expand and contract as necessary around specific production needs. The cabals combine dedicated meeting spaces with semi-enclosed work pods that provide additional privacy for more “heads-down” work. More importantly, the circulation path supports not only the free flow of people moving throughout the entire office but also the free flow of work-desks-on-wheels, as developers regularly move between and among the individual cabals.

© Ema Peter
© Ema Peter

In response to software developers’ inclination to work in the dark, the Design Team sought to employ the central core not only as a secondary source of soft illumination, but also as a means of connecting the office to itself and to the outside world. The “inner glow” from the continuously lit core walls highlight the shared circulation path on the cabal floors with level-distinguishing color palettes to augment wayfinding along with warm textures drawn from the exposed concrete shear walls. Central elevator lobby walls and pantry backsplashes carved out at the core ends of each floor provide bright canvases on which characters and scenes sourced from Valve’s games and rich history are painted and composed of tiled mosaics, all of which were produced by the company’s own creative talent. On the central reception and amenity floors, full-height digital displays enrich the “inner glow” with changing scenes from Valve’s games, as well as content drawn from community forums on the company’s distribution platform, Steam.

© Ema Peter
© Ema Peter
© Ema Peter
© Ema Peter

Here, the design transcends the constraints of the office floor plate. Connecting feature stairs provide a direct route from the hardware cabals on the lowest floor to the software cabals at the highest level. Just as the central core concept provides more intimate and subtle experiences where workspace is positioned while expanding its scale and reach at the communal spaces, the connecting stairs are designed to be compact at the extremities and allowed to stretch out at the central amenity floors. On these floors, the floor openings at the south perimeter curtain wall draw in three stories of natural light to reveal expansive views of Bellevue, Seattle and the greater Pacific Northwest.

© Ema Peter
© Ema Peter

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Project location

Address: Bellevue, Washington, United States

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Valve Headquarters / Clive Wilkinson Architects + JPC Architects" 17 Sep 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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