Silicon Valley's new design mantra: Far-out, dude (pictures)

Many of the biggest names in technology have recently unveiled plans for fantastic, futuristic headquarters.


James Martin

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1 of 6 Apple

Apple's new mothership

In Silicon Valley, design is everything -- from software and hardware to data systems and even food. And now, some tech companies are breaking with the past as they plan for the future, foregoing traditional office parks in tan, prison-like campuses in favor of towering glass monuments, open floor plans, and plenty of green space. The idea: foster better collaboration, make happier employees, and attract the best talent.

It's an ambitious goal, one that is luring famous designers and architects with the challenge of turning corporate buildings into art. Here are a few of the jaw-dropping designs soon to be built.

Steve Jobs' lasting stamp on Apple's image will not be a new gadget, but a building. Apple is already at work constructing a new ring-shaped, spaceship-like headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. to supplement the current site at 1 Infinite Loop.

2 of 6 Frank Gehry/Gehry Partners

Facebook's Gehry park

Designed by notable architect Frank Gehry and already accepted by Menlo Park's city council, Facebook's upcoming second campus will look like a tree-covered park.

3 of 6 NBBJ

Google's big addition

Google is planning a massive expansion to the Googleplex, the company's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. The 42-acre "Bayview" expansion is a collection of vaguely boomerang-shaped buildings that are connected by bridges. Architecture firm NBBJ reportedly designed Bayview using a mountain of data from Google's real estate team and involving everything from where the sun is at different times of day to which way the wind blows to what sort of workspace employees prefer.

Google bought the property where its headquarters sit for $319 million back in 2006 -- it was previously subleasing the office space from Silicon Graphics. Google has been busy snapping up land, building new offices, and expanding its headquarters ever since.

4 of 6 NBBJ

Amazon's biosphere

Amazon is another tech giant to jump on the big and weird bandwagon, adding a bit of Silicon Valley style to its Seattle campus. The e-commerce giant and gadget maker unveiled a slew of new drawings earlier this year that show a lush landscape dotted with a cluster of mirrored domes alongside and a taller rectangular building that may be the designs for its new campus.

Update, 10:48 a.m. PT: Adds that Amazon's campus is in Seattle.

5 of 6 Gensler and Kilograph

The Nvidia triangles

Nvidia will soon transform its work environment, according to CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, who recently released the first renderings from design firm Gensler. A pair of giant triangles -- about 250,000 square feet each -- the design is meant to foster greater collaboration.

6 of 6 NBBJ

Samsung goes LEED Gold

Samsung, which is moving into Silicon Valley, recently released renderings which showed a sleek new San Jose, Calif., campus designed by NBBJ architects.

The central 10-story building has an ultra-modern design, complete with a glass and white-metal covered exterior and two open-air floors. The parking garage is covered in a folding green-colored wall that looks like a vertical garden. When complete, the campus will be 1.1 million square feet.

In addition to the massive amounts of space, the campus will also provide a gym, cafes, dining areas, and gardens. The facility will be constructed to LEED Gold environmental standards.

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