Expedia HQ is located a mile north of downtown Seattle on a 40-acre waterfront site. The campus has unparalleled sweeping views of the Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, and Downtown Seattle. Until 1969 the site existed as water with two piers extending toward the Sound, but over the course of 7 years from ‘62 to ‘69 the site was infilled with dirt and construction debris eventually forming the land that is now the 40-acre site of Expedia HQ.
The Expedia HQ design team was tasked to envision a campus that could not only could facilitate its anticipated 5,000-person Northwestern workforce, but also provide an innovative approach to the workplace. At the forefront of Expedia’s mission was creating a campus that embraced the sustainable and environment-friendly goals of the company. Surfacedesign unpacked and expanded on Expedia’s eco-driven goals by creating an experience-based campus with the notion of biophilic design driving the many of the design moves.
One of the key components in creating the campus was the public interface. The Elliott Bay Trail skirts the waterfront edge of the campus and connects downtown Seattle to the Cruise Ship Terminal at Smith Cove. Prior to its improvement, a shared bike and pedestrian trail pushed the circulation out to the outermost edge of the property creating a blind corner that was less-than-desirable [and often dangerous] for its frequent users. The upgraded Elliott Bay Trail and provision of public space referred to by the design team as “The Point”, softened the sharp corner into a gracious curve as well as created separate bicycle and pedestrian paths to improve its safety. The Elliott Bay Trail improvements continue along the Western Smith Cove Edge in the form of a meandering linear park planted with a variety of native and Salmon Safe plantings.
Inside the campus boundaries, employees have free reign to utilize a variety of landscape spaces including a park amphitheater large enough to fit all 5,000 employees, contemplative gardens, a 12,000-square-foot cascading water feature, cherry tree orchard, several path circuits for walking meetings, and many other landscape spaces that promote the notion of biophilic design as a means to encourage a healthy and enjoyable workplace.
Collaborators: ZGF Architects, Aidlin Darling Architects, GLY Construction, Teufel Landscape, F2 Environmental Design