Let There Be Light… And Community

Most buildings on Microsoft’s Redmond Campus have been built according to strict workplace guidelines, including an emphasis on access to natural light.  Two old manufacturing buildings were another story; they contained rows and rows of private offices without a window in sight.

Advance Strategy approached this challenge with the same fundamental question we ask before any design engagement: “how can we optimize this space to create a desirable human experience?”  Placing team workspaces along perimeter windows would have left tens of thousands of unusable square feet in the centers of the buildings.

The only way to bring these buildings up to Microsoft’s rigorous standards and to provide an engaging, inspiring workspace was to bring natural light deep into the interior, and in a big way.

We embarked on a challenging architecture project to punch new atriums into the existing floor slabs, creating several three-story interior spaces that place team workspaces directly in natural light.  These atria also become “connector” spaces that provide opportunities to collaborate, communicate, and recharge.

As with everything we do, we focused on maximizing what matters and minimizing what doesn’t. Our design solution not only met the client’s workplace metrics but ensured that the project penciled financially.