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Demanding attention: the new tech buildings

Posted: Jon Peddie 11.29.17

Back in the go-go years leading up to the Internet bubble. I developed an adage which proved to be faultless, and a dire predictor of a company’s fate—as the building goes up, the company comes down. 

However, today with well-established firms like Apple, Nvidia, the amazing Salesforce Benioff tower in down town SF, Amazon, Google, and now Microsoft, that adage no longer holds.

Edifice envy is the new game in town

And yet. I can’t help but wonder, do these companies have so much hidden off-shore cash they can invest in such edifices that the bottom line, R&D, and (god save us) sales & marketing won’t suffer due to cash constraints?

Microsoft today announced an ambitious “refresh” of its Redmond headquarters as it seeks to create an architectural wonderland that can compete with the space-age workplaces of rivals such as Amazon and Apple.

In a blog post, Microsoft said it was recommitting to the 500-acre campus in Redmond, Washington that has been its home for three decades. Over the next several years, the company will level some of the existing structures, build 18 new buildings, and renovate 6.7 million square feet. Microsoft did not put a price tag on the project, but no doubt it will run into the billions of dollars.

Overall, the number of buildings will only increase from 125 to 131. The company said that this increase will allow it to eventually expand from its current workforce of 47,0000 to 55,000.

                                                  Microsoft’s proposed 500 acre campus

The problem with a giant campus like Microsoft’s is you need a private jitney service to get around.

Nvidia reasoned their triangular design (which, by the way was totally designed with the help of Nvidia’s ray-tracing software and Quadro AIBs) is more logical for getting from point A to B, or C for that matter.

                                                     Nvidia’s new campus, takes a trangular shape

Apple’s ring is less efficient unless you’re right next to the place you want to go. Also, since it’s a ring, it’s hard to judge how far your destination is.

When we build the JPR monolith (we’re negotiating the land-rights now), we’re going to build a mobius, so you will always be where you started and at your destination at the same time. We’ve contracted with the grandson of Escher to draw up the plans. Then there is arduous task of clearing it with the Tiburon town council who insist everything be single story, and painted earth tones. I wanted iridescent blue but I guess that is out except for my office walls. One other advantage or drawback to Escher’s Mobius if no one gets a corner office.

                                                        JPR’s proposed galactic headquarters