Mission Bay, San Francisco
SHoP Architects and Studio O+A
World-renowned online transportation company Uber is setting up its headquarters in San Francisco’s contemporary Mission Bay neighbourhood in the US. The new headquarters have been designed by SHoP architects in collaboration with Studio O+A, who are designing the building’s interiors.
The design for the firm’s global headquarters was recently adjudged the winner of the Architizer A+ awards in the unbuilt commercial category.
The $250m building will be spread across 423,000ft² and comprise two interconnected structures, along with well-lit atriums, a grand entrance and a green roof. The vertical city will be a rarity for San Francisco as it will represent a building specifically designed for a business to occupy.
The building is part of the company’s strategy to consolidate its growing workforce, which is currently located in a different part of the city. The new headquarters is scheduled to open in late-2017.
Exhibiting an open and eco-friendly design, Uber’s headquarters represent an urban development in the heart of San Francisco, unlike other businesses that prefer locations outside the city to set up large campuses.
The design typology of the building illustrates an ‘inside-out’ theme, where the entire structure consists of a fully transparent glass cladding. The headquarters will encompass two buildings, an 11-storey tower at 1455 Third Street and another six-storey tower at 1515 Third Street that will be interlinked.
An expansive, moderately covered public plaza is formed by a deep setback in the building’s design. The area adjoining the proposed location will also undergo development to support increased public flow. The Commons, a network of circulation and gathering spaces, will be created that is designed to connect the people within the office with the outside environment.
The entire structure has been designed to promote human connectivity in the form of connected comfort zones, communal areas and small confined spaces for one-to-one conversations.
The facade of the building imbibes Uber’s business and philosophy to create an iconic landmark for the area. The facade of the elevator lobby will be of onyx glass representing the company’s luxury car range, Uber Black, which will also be reflected in the meeting zone’s copper and oxidised maple cladding. The other economical service, Uber X, will inspire the use of untreated concrete, raw steel and Polygal.
Displayed throughout the premises are urban street maps of the approximately 200 cities that the company operates globally. Interactive screens, the leather of the meeting room walls and the steel separation panels all exhibit the street maps that capture the essence of Uber.
The building will possess tall glass walls as a symbol of its ethics and a glass facade that will highlight honesty and integrity.
The two buildings of the headquarters will be located adjacent to the light rail station and will help in creating a pedestrian-friendly zone. A new retail area will be located at the ground floor of the two buildings along with the Commons occupying the front space of the buildings. The multi-storey meeting zone will establish an environment similar to that of the bustling city.
The working area within the building is designed as small neighbourhoods where the workstations are arranged. Different work zones are connected to each other and function in a collaborative manner.
Other features inside the office include multiple booths equipped with wall-mounted touchscreen booking tablets, conference rooms with glass walls, cafes and lounge areas. Separate rooms designed as luxury boxes upholstered with floor-to-ceiling leather will also be available.
A special feature will be a meeting room fashioned as a war room to hold high-level problem-solving meetings. It will be furnished like a bunker to provide for its occupants for a long period.
A streetscape improvement project will also be initiated as part of the construction of Uber’s headquarters. It will include street improvements and public amenities along Pierpoint Lane. A city park on this intersecting pedestrian walkway will be redesigned and equipped with a purpose-built daycare centre.