Centuries ago there were emperors, kings, presidents, dictators, and they were used to show up their power and magnificence with majestic buildings, squares and statues. Now the protagonists changed and have been substituted by Information Technology Companies that “abandoned” the idea of the university campus to build massive headquarters that represent alone a complete village and ecosystem.
The top players IT companies in the world have become so big that they even surpassed the GDP of a single country such as Sweden, Norway or Switzerland. Welcome to the era of the “new digital feudalism”. People and companies who join the ecosystem of these few corporations can hardly quit and as the time passes they are more and more “addicted” to them.
Welcome to a “new world” ruled buy few big entities such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Tencent, Alibaba and Huawei. They became bigger and bigger and started to stand above the world with massive and expensive architectural creations. Their headquarters are (or will be) very stunning. A real royal palace or fortress that only the biggest companies can afford, with “endless” space and people.
Let’s discover together the unique headquarters of these international corporations. They are innovative, astounding, self-sufficient and inaccessible.
1. Apple Inc. and the Apple Park
Opened in April 2017 it’s located in Cupertino, California and the building is still under construction. 2,000 people already moved there and it will host up to 12,000 employees once completed. It’s been conceptualised by Steve Jobs and designed by Lord Norman Foster of the British Foster and Partners international studio.
Its nickname is “spaceship” due to its circular design and massive dimension. It’s been thought to become like a nature refuge with the 80% composed by green space (you can find 9,000 trees in the inner garden). The size is really extreme, with a building that counts four floors, a 2,800,000 sq ft floor area on a 175 acres ground area. The total circumference of this “spaceship” is 1.5 km. This is one of the most expensive location in the world: a $5 billion building on a $160 million land.
2. Amazon and the Spheres
With a turning heads design, the new futuristic Amazon headquarter in Seattle is a structure made of a series of globes. Designed to be environmentally friendly, it uses recycled energy to heat the offices. The dome-shaped building will use recycled heat from neighbouring buildings. Like Apple, Amazon aims to create a kind of park, rather than an office. People who will work and go there will remain astonished by tree house meeting rooms, a river and a waterfall.
These spheres will host more than 400 plant species and more than 800 people. The larger one will measure more than 90 ft in height and more than 130 ft in diameter. As a real park, the structure will be surrounded by a public dog park and play field, not just for the employees but also for the public. Everyone will have the honour to see it completed by early 2018.
Amazon's new headquarters in downtown Seattle is turning heads(via CNBC: Technology)
Geplaatst door CNBC op woensdag 26 april 2017
And these three biospheres are just the beginning because they are the base of a massive $4 billion skyscraper, featuring 37 floors that stand on a 306,000 sq m ground area.
3. Facebook and the Willow Campus
Located in California, it will be a “mixed-use village”. A massive campus for employees and residents. According to one of its blog posts, Facebook is planning to build not just offices, but a place that can provide much needed services with 1,500 housing units (15% of which will be offered at below market rates), transit solutions, a 125,000 square feet new retail space that will include a grocery store, a pharmacy and additional community-facing retail. With an initial investment of $18.5 million, the village will be completed in early 2021 (subsequent phases will take two years each to complete).
4. Google and the block-like structure
Announced on 27th February 2015 on the official Google blog, the new concept, designed by Danish architects Bjarke Ingels (at BIG) and Thomas Heatherwick (at Heatherwick Studio), rethinks the office space. The aim is to redevelop four sites where Google already has offices, in order to gain a better way of working.
Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, they will create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as they invest in new product areas. Each site will be covered by large translucent canopies that will control the climate, light and air. Cafés, trees, landscaping, and bike paths will make the structure part of the nature rather than simple buildings. Following the same paths of Facebook, Google new headquarter will be a community centre with retail opportunities, restaurants and local businesses.
5. Tencent and the two Seafront Towers
Designed by Nbbj, the Tencent Seafront Towers will be located in Shenzhen, China, with a 250 m height and a size of 270,000 sq m. Tencent is the world’s third-largest internet company (after Google and Amazon) and considered the most innovative company in China. With this new project the company will provide space for 12,000 additional employees. Specific energy strategies will reduce consumption and carbon emissions by 40% over a typical office tower. The structure will include two towers, three horizontal connection bridges and rooftop gardens.
6. Alibaba and the Xixi Campus
Located in Hangzhou, China, this is another project designed by Nbbj. The campus of the “Asian Amazon” extends over 180,000 sq m and will incorporate a mixed office design, integrating office space, open spaces and courtyards, private conference rooms, communal seating areas, and garden work stations.
7. Huawei and its copycat architecture
Instead of following the innovative design and ideas of the other tech giants, the Chinese telecom company Huawei decided to jump back into the past and copy the 12th to 19th-century European architecture (from Oxford to Luxembourg and Verona) at a price of $1.5 billion. Located in the southern Shenzhen, the area will be divided into 12 clusters modelled after European cities. Swiss style trains will transport visitors and employees around the area. In 2018 we should see how they brought a bit of Europe into Asia.
Complete photo gallery here.
What do you think the future will be? Do you prefer massive, rich and futuristic structures or humble and simple artisan workshops?