Bridging the gap between the neutrality of a core and shell structure and the exhilarating vitality of a business enterprise is a design challenge filled with universal and particular complexities. This could not be more true than in the case of the five-building, 330,000-square-foot tenant improvement project for Workday Inc.’s headquarters, a company on the rise committed to consolidating its solid footing in the marketplace of digital offerings. Its leadership saw a unique opportunity of making out of its own workplace a manifesto of the principles informing the software design of its products. It is the lively lexicon of the company’s culture that the ideas driving the big design moves took their concrete form: intuitive users experience, speedy collaborative work, usability, flexibility, integration, and connectivity supplied the words for the design language of this uplifting enclosure.
To deinstitutionalize the traditionally rigid arrangements of office layouts is the hallmark of the digital age. To boost a sense of community within the Silicon Valley-type company, we picked the metaphor of the village to shape Workday Inc.’s bustling interior commons. Village is evocative of collectives, unstructured gathering, welcoming informality, and human scale.
The sculptural interaction between existing and new geometry sets the stage for the expansion and contraction of the personnel within space. Against the predictable orthogonality of the structural grid and the building envelope inherited from the existing condition, the architects’ counterpoint is a constellation of floating objects filled with common areas animating the hard edges located in the center spine of the floor plate. Curvaceous shapes, angled rooms, accent walls in Workday Inc.’s colors, become the vanishing points of ever-changing perspectives viewers experience walking the building’s interiors. In this, Workday’s headquarters, a sense of play confers visual appeal while retaining clear orientation in the mental maps of the occupants.