Samsung once operated a typical Silicon Valley outpost. The electronics company worked on things including semiconductors and computer screens inside a standard corporate building with a strict hierarchical culture surrounded by a sizable parking lot. But as the business evolved into the dominant force in cutting-edge mobile computing, it desired something different. Since innovation was the intention, the silicon valley office setting needed to reflect it. NBBJ was specifically chosen by Samsung after the Korean company took notice of the design for the Samsung Electronics Learning Center, which was never built but caused it to take notice. NBBJ is a Seattle research-based design company that creates a designed environment that focuses on client health, community, and a zero-carbon future.

Samsung's silicon valley office by NBBJ - Sheet1
Samsung’s silicon valley office by NBBJ – Sheet1

While designing the building, Architect Ward focused on creativity, inspiration, and modernity since he was keenly aware of the growing critique of Silicon Valley’s lack of architectural delicacy, which stands in contrast to its status as the home of the most inventive businesses in the world. In the end, semiconductors, Samsung’s best-selling goods, served as the inspiration for the new facility’s design. The concept for this project was originally based on the notion of leveraging the structure to foster better staff collaboration at Samsung. The semiconductor performs a similar function; it consists of several layers and wafers with gases inserted between each layer to allow for high-speed computing and communication, Said the NBBJ.

For this “chip look,” two-story structures were layered on top of one another. From the front, this design innovation may not be immediately apparent, but from the rooftop, it is clear that a courtyard connects the buildings and provides enough green space for the workers. Each employee is on only one floor or less from the outside, and the courtyard and gardens promote connection, accidental meetings, and collaboration. The gardens are easily accessible from everywhere in the building, where staff members can socialize, eat, or take a stroll.

Samsung's silicon valley office - Sheet2
Samsung’s silicon valley office by NBBJ – Sheet2

The Samsung America Headquarters spans around 1.1 million square feet and are situated in San Jose, a sizable city in California‘s Silicon Valley is a $300 million project. The structure is 10 stories high and covered in glass and white metal panels designed for 2000 employees, connecting with an eight-story parking space. Programmatically, the structure is split into two sections: one for sales and the other for Research and Development. Warm terracotta tones and metals that complement the traditional hues of San Jose are used to cover the podium. The workplace interiors also include a Chill Zone with games, flat-screen televisions, foosball tables, and comfortable chairs. The design team used double-height rooms, floor-to-ceiling windows, and sightlines to the courtyard to give the space a sensation of openness.

The various needs of employees are catered for by a range of workspaces. Employees have the option of working outside or in laboratories that are positioned around the facility’s perimeter in addition to the designated office zones. To ensure “workers would find enjoyment and rejuvenate at work,” the NBBJ has added amenities like a fitness center, nap pods, and music-listening rooms with colored lighting.

Samsung's silicon valley office - Sheet3
Samsung’s silicon valley office by NBBJ

NBBJ worked closely with the client to provide solutions to the design challenges at Samsung headquarters. According to the research, Natural light increases productivity and overall satisfaction. To achieve this,” NBBJ employed computer modeling using data on sun paths and internal functions to optimize daylight design. To reduce solar heat gain and maximize the quantity of ambient daylight entering the facility, three grades of glazing were used.

The firm also noticed that while many employees prefer a lively workplace, others were happy in areas with a stronger concentration. “So, inside and outside, designers created a gradient of areas from active to quiet.” Spaces like sleeping pods or enclosed spaces were designed to cater to the varying needs of the employees. To promote physical exercise and trips outside, the cafeteria was situated away from the offices. The Galaxy Cafe, which is covered in redwood siding, extends toward the gardens with big glass walls and emits a warm, forested glow that mixes with the surroundings. The spacious open café can accommodate big office gatherings and is split by detachable, curved screens made of vertical wood slats that provide cozy lounging spaces while permitting views of the outside.

Samsung's silicon valley office by NBBJ - Sheet4
Samsung’s silicon valley office by NBBJ

The headquarters is also a LEED silver project where Sustainable design principles were taken into account when creating the facility. Employees may work in a natural setting thanks to the office tower’s layered parks, living walls, lush open courtyards, and landscaped roofs. Bioswales to manage site-wide stormwater runoff sustainably. The parking structure’s roof panels are another measure of respect for the campus’s objectives in maintaining environmental responsibility in its construction. The parking structure is covered in folding green walls, and a solar array to provide renewable energy for increased energy efficiency.

Open perimeter for outdoor activities_©
Open perimeter for outdoor activities_©



Saima is a young interior designer who loves to research, write, and design. She holds a master's degree in interior design and is a firm believer that words have the ability to alter the course of events and improve the quality of life.