Where Technology Lives – A Look at High Tech Corporate Headquarters

It’s all about the Foosball and the free meals. That’s what people generally think of when you mention the so-called campuses where today’s high tech companies reside. And indeed many prominent companies take great pains to promote their freewheeling culture and the fabulous amenities available at the workplace.

But it’s not all fun and games. In the tech world, green is the new black as leading technology companies strive to make their HQs more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

And not every technology company is headquartered in a glass-walled state-of-the-art complex. Sun Microsystems, for example, is housed in a historic landmark that’s been painstakingly renovated to look exactly like it did almost 100 years ago.

Here’s a look at where the employees of some of the nation’s leading technology companies work.

Adobe
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The three office towers in San Jose, California share a sixth-floor outdoor courtyard that’s equipped with a bocce ball court and a basketball court. The buildings contain 980,953 square feet of office space and two underground parking garages. The company received LEED platinum certification for its green buildings, which were retrofitted after California’s 2001 energy crisis.

Apple – 1 Infinite Loop
Mecca
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Comprised of six buildings, Apple’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino, California contains offices, labs, a conference center with theater for presentations and meetings, a full-service cafeteria and the Apple Company Store. The company has purchased more land in Cupertino that founder Steve Jobs says will be used to build a second campus.

Dell
Dell Sucks..
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In April the computer maker announced that its headquarters in Austin would be powered with 100 percent renewable energy. Forty percent of the 2.1 million square foot facility’s power will be generated from Waste Management’s Austin Community Landfill gas-to-energy plant; the rest will come from existing wind farms.

The Googleplex
Googleplex
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the Googleplex
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Money named it the best place to work in 2007 and its not hard to see why. The 978,000-square-foot Googleplex in Mountainview, California is loaded with amenities:

  • 11 free gourmet cafeterias, plus snack rooms for when employees are feeling only slightly peckish.
  • Onsite gym, rock-climbing wall and lap pools to keep up your strength.
  • Company washers and dryers for when you don’t have a thing to wear
  • Hair salon
  • Car wash, you can also get your oil changed while you work.
  • Motorized scooters for traveling around the Google campus.
  • A bookmobile to cater to intellectual cravings,
  • Foosball tables, video games and pool tables when you need to unwind.

The HP Garage
HP Garage Tour
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HP Garage in Black and White
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The birthplace of Silicon Valley, the country’s first high-tech region. The idea for such a region originated with a Stanford University professor who encouraged his students to start their own companies in the area instead of joining established firms in the East. The first two students to follow his advice were William R. Hewlett and David Packard, who moved into 367 Addison Avenue in Palo Alto because of the property’s garage.

David and Lucille Packard moved into the three-room apartment on the first floor while Bill Hewlett moved into the shed in the back. With only $538 in working capital–which included the cost of Packard’s used Sears-Roebuck drill press, the pair began working in the garage. They developed numerous products here, including HP?s first product, the Model 200A audio-oscillator

The Palo Alto garage, designated a California landmark in 1987, was renovated by HP in 2005. More here.

IAC BuildingFrank Gehry

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Barry Diller’s Internet conglomerate is housed in a brand new building along New York City’s West Side Highway. The building, designed by Frank Gehry, looks like a ship tied up along the Hudson River. Here’s a look inside. The interior offices of the nine-story all-glass facade feature cubbies along the interior wall so employees won’t mess up the view with their personal belongings.

Intel
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Creative Commons License photo credit: Marcin Wichary

A highlight of the chip maker’s corporate headquarters is the Intel Corporate Museum, a free-of-charge, 10,00-square-foot facility that tells the story of the computer’s development. Exhibits include how microprocessers work, how silicon chips are made and how transistors work.

Microsoft

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campus_aerial_1_web

Microsoft’s headquarters are located in a decentralized, corporate park in Redmond, Washington with around 40 buildings housing 14,000 offices. The campus had 29,000 parking spaces in 2007 with plans to build 5,000 more.

Oracle HQ
Oracle Headquarters
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Designed to look like the data stacks the company is famous for, Oracle’s corporate campus is situated in Redwood Shores, California along a saltwater marsh known as “Larry’s Lake” after founder Larry Ellison. The 2,979,000 square-foot headquarters contains six office buildings, four parking garages, a fitness center and conference center.

Like the Googleplex, Oracle HQ is loaded with amenities, starting with the 50,000-square-foot gym that includes a full-size NCAA basketball court, a volleyball pit and a five-lane lap pool.

There are several cafes in addition to a bakery, a florist, a shoe repair shop and a dry cleaner on the Oracle campus. Employees can also get their cars detailed while at work.

Pixar
cafeteria
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The centerpiece of the building is an atrium/lobby that runs the entire length of the building. It features the company cafeteria and is decorated with art depicted Pixar characters like the Incredibles.

You’ll find no cubicles at this corporate headquarters. Instead, animators work in custom-designed “cottages” laid out along a “street.” Game rooms and lounges are sprinkled throughout the facility.

Sun Microsystems
Sun's Campus
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Built on the site of the former Agnews Insane Asylum, the company bought this group of buildings on the national historic register from the state of California in 1996.

The Agnews facility plays a notable role in California history. Its first facility was the site of the worst tragedy on the 1906 earthquake, which killed 100 inmates. The institution was then rebuilt in the Mediterranean Revival style to resemble a college campus of low-lying buildings and became the state’s first modern psychiatric hospital.

Sun invested $10 million to create a 14-acre public park within it 82.5 -acre campus that includes four historic buildings from the asylum and many of the site’s original trees.

Yahoo!
Lawn
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The Yahoo! campus includes five buildings and 820,000 square feet of office space, plus a three-story parking garage. Four of the buildings have arcades.

The Yahoo! campus is praised for its participation in the Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program. The campus uses permeable rock walkways to transfer runoff directly to the soil, and angles walkways and parking lots so rainwater runs into the landscaping instead of storm drains.