Category: Architecture

Year: 2023

Sunnyvale, California

Central + Wolfe


Tim Griffith

The Central + Wolfe Campus reimagines the traditional Silicon Valley workplace, creating a lush, Net Zero Energy technology park that puts a premium on green spaces. This curvilinear, concrete-and-glass campus distinguishes itself from the typical, higher-end office park.

The team took inspiration from Santa Clara valley’s converging biomes to inform the design, using biophilic design strategies to drive the project’s development. The campus brings together programmatic site aspects that serve as extensions of internal workspaces, providing occupants with a direct, multi-sensory connection to nature. Over half of the site is preserved for permeable landscaping and amenities, connecting the campus’ park to the surrounding neighborhood.

The building embodies and enhances the innovation taking place within, featuring large multiple and contiguous floor plates that help break down psychological barriers to interaction and encourage chance encounters to spur innovation.

The clover-like form and massing of the building with courtyards at the center of each petal help break up an otherwise large floor plate and ensure equitable daylight and views for all occupants. The multilayered light shelves – inspired by the layered petals of a buttercup – both shade the building interior from heat gain and glare and assist deeper penetration of daylight into the workplace.

The client sought to reimagine a technology campus that delivers “an exciting, enhanced and enjoyable user experience.” The new development would offer features typically found in a headquarters – porous design with large, continuous floor-plates, sustainable components, a host of amenities and high-end security – at a competitive price to attract a high-quality tenant.

In response, the design team created this new 770,000-square foot office park – that fits comfortably info the Northern California landscape. The project received city council approval in October 2014 and was subsequently leased by one of the largest, most innovative technology companies in the world.

The Campus was designed to be flexible and divisible, able to accommodate multiple tenants should the need arise. The office buildings feature large, continuous, 200,000-square foot floorplates for more efficient use of a space at a competitive price point.

Though it embodies and enhances the innovation taking place within its distinctive walls, the facility was still built for well-below the price of similarly sized new office parks. The highly efficient design and construction process reduced shell and core construction costs by 20 percent compared to a typical higher-end, speculative office building in Silicon Valley.

A commitment to sustainability is woven throughout the entire campus. From the beginning of the project, the team set out to seamlessly integrate architecture and the environment. As a result, the three office buildings and amenities building have all achieved LEED Platinum certification.

The team designed energy efficient systems to harness the idyllic clime, reducing energy use by 65 percent compared to a baseline office facility. The buildings are Net Zero Energy-ready and are powered by 100 percent renewable energy. Similarly, the campus uses nearly 100 percent recycled water for non-portable purposes. Natural light is provided for the majority of the floor plate, while 100 percent dimmable LED lighting systems enhance interior conditions towards the cores.

The campus’ permeable, green-filled park features a host of art and amenities shared with the surrounding lower income neighborhood. While most Silicon Valley buildings are ringed by surface parking lots, this strategy preserves more than half the site as permeable landscaped green spaces, open plazas, sports courts, and trails. This creates an inclusive and diverse common open space accessible by all.

Landscape design supported habitat creation and tree preservation, which reinforced sustainability goals including maximizing water harvesting/reuse and storm water management.

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