Technology is often a source of significant change and upheaval in society. It creates both opportunity and chaos in ways that are often unpredictable.
Ultimately technology demands adaptability to survive or, more critically, to thrive within a new context. Nature can also produce transformation at a grand scale.
This recent pandemic has brought profound upheaval and change but with it an opportunity to experiment in ways that would be inconceivable without an external condition to force us to consider options to mitigate the limitations that a global virus can impose.
One of the most provocative experiments has come in the form of working from home. The concept of working from home has historically been considered to be an indulgence that would result in greatly diminished efficiency and four-day weekends.
The past two years have proven that remote work can be a sustainable option for many companies and, in many cases, increases productivity. After two years of experimenting with remote working, most Silicon Valley technology companies remain committed to in-person collaboration.
The area is faced with a contemporary, post-covid conundrum: how do you motivate people to come back into the office? One answer lies in creating environments that people want to be in, where they feel welcome and hopeful, and where the space provides an advantage over their home environment.
In addition, a unique challenge of this site was the increased office width of 180 feet over a three-bay parking garage podium, which is significantly greater than the standard 120-foot width.
The solution was a puzzle-piece-shaped floor plan that created six distinct interior neighborhoods, or Team Spaces, with natural light on three sides. This was accomplished by carving out 30 by 40-foot Light Gardens from the 250 by 180-foot footprint.
These Light Gardens follow a “place” based proportion and scale that encourages a sense of belonging and the “desire to dwell” by creating the feeling of an Outdoor Room rather than a linear path.
These gardens afford space for lush planting while Mass Timber construction further enriches a connection to nature. On the sixth floor, the open-air Oculus garden provides an urban retreat. The grand circular trellis opening is the defining aspirational destination for architectural seduction.
While at the ground level, the street-facing levels of the garage are activated by two cafe / retail spaces and a generous lobby. The sides of the garage are enhanced with ventilating green screens as a backdrop to linear gardens on the remaining three sides.
In this way, we were able to accommodate the large floorplates desired by Silicon Valley companies and the delicacy and human scale needed to attract tenants back to the workplace. Source by Form4 Architecture.
Location: Mountain View, California, USA
Architect: Form4 Architecture
Lead Architect: John Marx
Client: Jeff Morris Company