Die zentrale Herausforderung bestand darin, für Samsung im Silicon Valley ein neues Hauptquartier zu schaffen, das nicht nur die Stärke und Genialität der Marke für die Region und die Welt ausdrückt, sondern auch den Arbeitsplatz in einen Ort zu verwandeln, der die Leistung und Zufriedenheit der Mitarbeiter steigert sowie ihre Bindung an das Unternehmen und die Rekrutierung neuer Mitarbeiter fördert.
New Samsung America Headquarters in San José, California
Samsung commissioned NBBJ with building its new US headquarters in California. It is technique-oriented and devoted to people, and it sees itself as a materialized calling card of the company’s identity.
As if these two giants have more in common than just their age. The Korean multinational conglomerate Samsung was founded by Lee Byung-chul in 1938 as a trading company. The American global architecture firm NBBJ was founded a few years later in 1943 by Seattle architects Floyd Naramore, William Bain, Clifton Brady, and Perry Johanson to work on large-scale federal commissions during World War II. Today Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest information technology company and NBBJ is the only design powerhouse named Global Growth Company by the World Economic Forum. Both companies pulled their resources together, and it took only three years from the first pencil sketch to cut the ribbon of Samsung America Headquarters in San Jose, California.
Jonathan Ward, design partner at NBBJ and chief designer of the project, focused on designing a workplace with emphasis on giving employees a space to get inspired. The feel and function of the building had to differentiate Samsung Device Solutions from other mega-tech players in Silicon Valley, always ready to syphon off valuable talent from each other. So the design objective was based on people-oriented parameters by providing the best conditions for employees to produce innovative product concepts and sales strategies. Therefore Jonathan and his team created a campus for human interaction, highlighted by the inner courtyard as well as two open floors to encourage being socially engaged and being able to actually see your colleagues. It’s a feel of openness, even with a 24-hour gym, a putting green and yoga studio. These are fine-tuned contributions to reduce work-related health problems and increase productivity.
While most corporate sites are either isolated or fenced in, this campus is located in the rather quickly expanding downtown San Jose and a shining example of openness. Employees, visitors and local pedestrians are free to roam around the entire ground level. The public can use the basketball court or purchase a Latte at the Café. City planners must have been delighted about the tech giant’s symbolic outreach to the local community.
A look at the outside of the building reveals the metaphor that each double-floor was inspired by the microchip, a subtle hint that semiconductor research is being done behind these walls. The floor-to-ceiling windows vary in size, satisfying not only the building’s energy efficiency but also the needs of the all-important employees enjoying spectacular views from the mountains to the tail end of the San Francisco Bay.
The future is here to stay. NBBJ leads the way and provided Samsung with a platform to innovate for years to come. Now design is about the new working lifestyle: go to work to see your friends, socialize, be even more productive.
An interview with Jonathan ward, Chief Designer at the Samsung US headquarters
Architects should focus on the essentials. They must ask the right questions and assume more responsibility. Both when designing workplaces at Samsung and elsewhere.
How does Minimalism in the interior increase collaboration, integrate new technologies and help employees work more efficiently?
Our decision to approach the interiors from a minimalist perspective was driven by two main considerations:
1) To mirror the Samsung product design aesthetic and their focus on pure research that allows users to thrive and not be encumbered by “overdesign,” we wanted to the interior design to do the same. Pure, spare, clean and refreshing design allows employees and visitors to focus on people and product as the centerpiece of doing business at Samsung.
2) Similarly, to help Samsung transition to a more open and collaborative workplace, we wanted to provide a fresh and clean pallet that fosters innovation.
Did you use Virtual Reality during the design process and if yes did it increase your productivity?
We utilized advanced parametric modeling techniques which allowed us to optimize the facility both in terms of building performance and also the performance of the employees working inside.
What would you tell young architects how architecture will evolve in the near future?
Architecture is at a crossroads at this moment in history. With the right leadership and focus the profession is likely to move towards a more creative, diverse place in the world as design thinkers, creative though leaders, social scientists, crafts people, makers, and certainly architects. I tell young architects to drive towards more leadership in the building process and engage fabrication in ways that the past few generations have abdicated. Above all architects should and must take leadership in the realm of revolutionizing what buildings are made of, how they are made, how they create energy rather than use energy and how they engage the city in surprisingly dynamic ways.