Community Spotlights

The Shape of Things To Come

January 6, 2014

Author: Stephen Skinner, Vice President of Information Technology of Alain Pinel Realtors

In this month’s Vanity Fair magazine, Architecture Critic Paul Goldberger writes about star architects designing corporate headquarters for Silicon Valley corporate giants Google, Facebook, Apple & others.
Despite a history of technical and entrepreneurial brilliance, Silicon Valley has always been an architecturally non-descript landscape of office parks and housing tracts. The companies that pioneered semiconductor manufacturing and internet e-commerce are are often housed in buildings that have no relationship to the innovation and brilliance of their tenants. Times (and tastes) have changed and now many of these same firms believe that they can express their identity and individualism through by building architecturally significant Corporate Campus’.
Award-winning British Architect Sir Norman Foster has designed Apple’s new Cupertino Campus, a circular building that is 1500 feet in diameter and has been dubbed “the Spaceship”. The Apple Spaceship Campus was one of Steve Jobs’ last projects and he worked closely with the architect on the design concept.
Facebook has hired innovative and unconventional architect Frank Gehry for their 420,000 square foot camps extension in Menlo Park. This new campus will feature rooftop gardens and a 10 acre underground room that can house the entire company under one roof.
Not to be outdone, Google is also working with Seattle-based architects NBBJ on expansions to the Googleplex. Take that Microsoft! (Another NBBJ client).
Product design and user experience are key aspects of innovation in the 21st Century. Leading Silicon Valley firms are beginning to apply the same standards to their Campus’ and buildings as they do to their products and brand. Plus it is a lot easier to attract key young talent if you have a really cool place to go to work, designed by some of the best architects in the world.

About Author:

Stephen Skinner is Vice President of Information Technology at Alain Pinel Realtors and is responsible for overall technology strategy and implementation throughout the APR organization. Since becoming APRs VP of Information Technology in 2007, Skinner’s accomplishments have included the introduction of new consumer and agent tools such as advanced map-based property search and new agent websites.  

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