Goodbye cubicle caves and stale coffee in 5oz. styrofoam cups!

What is the ultimate workplace setting?  How about a quick view inside Microsoft’s newest campus?

Outdoor Cafe
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Having grown and evolved for several decades now, Microsoft has the ability to aspire to create the ultimate corporate campus. My early image of the Microsoft workplace was of dark caves where the Microserf geeks worked quietly at their computers day and night. In contrast, the campus supports a very collaborate setting and strong connection to the outdoors. There’s sleek coffee bar, lounges, and even a bike shop. The materials are rich in wood, glass, concrete, and stone, with an emphasis on views of man-made landscape.

A memorable experience is emerging from several levels of underground parking to a pristine soccer field surrounded by gorgeous airy office buildings.  But what’s next? One must have a badge to move through any of the highly secured spaces. Hopefully we can also move away from the car dependency. To truly be the ultimate work setting, I believe the next step is allowing some messiness of everyday living, in the form of say, children and village life. Downtown Belleview is moving this direction and I’ll be watching to see how that succeeds.

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13 Comments

  1. I think it’s great to make the workplace environment healthier using more inspiring surroundings and ways to get fresh air and fresh food.

    I do draw the line at living and working under the same roof so to speak. The collective
    way of life is the other extreme to styrofoam cups and cubicles.

  2. Yes. How close is good for walkability but gives some separation for home life? Say, a minimum of 4 blocks walking distance? I think of it like the college campus- living off campus vs in the dorm, but close enough to walk or bike instead of drive.

  3. Does this trend mean suburbia is a thing of the past? When I travel home from the city via lightrail and car – 45 minutes – I’m in another peaceful world. Don’t know if I would find that same quality 4 or 5 blocks away.

  4. CHOICE is a very good thing. I believe that surburbia is not a thing of the past, but it will have to evolve, in response to energy and social considerations. With approx. 25% of seniors not driving, and kids not driving, having some amenities in walking distance improves quality of life and reduces dependency on cars.

  5. Urban areas need to evolve too. It would be nice if urban centers had some more of the peaceful setting available near your home for people to enjoy too. At least you have the Cherry Creek Trail, but I don’t know if I’d call that peaceful, its more recreational.

  6. I just have to say that I love suburbia and my car! There is peace and freedom for me
    when I am out of the city and have the freedom to drive where I please on my own schedule.

  7. I can’t help but wonder why a soccer field on top of the parking garage. Is it ever used? Maybe frisbee golf would have been a better active use – it’s hard to imagine people going out to kick the soccer ball around during their lunch break. But maybe Microsoft has it’s own intramural soccer team.

    • The soccer field is used daily and requires advance scheduling due to high demand from several company teams, kid’s camp in the summer and casual users just wanting to kick a ball around. Showers and locker rooms as well as flexible work schedules make it work. Even the Sounders have practiced on it.

  8. Perhaps they just kick the ball around at lunch time – good relief for tension and stress; maybe local soccer clubs/school children hold games there.

  9. The soccer soccer field gets used, but I have a fundamental problem with fake turf. Its a vast field of plastic petroleum product standing in as a living system. Its starting to pop up in yards too, and makes me cringe a little.

  10. I just found your rss page and added it to the Google Reader and voil? – I’m always up-to-date! Well buddy, keep up the good work and make that rss button a little bigger so that other people can enjoy that as well

  11. There are actually several environmental benefits to artificial turf. Recycled plastic is used to make the turf and the rubber infill comes from recycled car tires. A natural turf soccer field requires between 500,000 and 1,000,000 gallons of irrigation water a year, intensive mowing and chemical applications. A synthetic field can be used everyday of the year regardless of weather without down time for renovation meaning you need less fields to accomplish the same number of play days.

  12. Good point, I agree that there are locations where artificial turf is the right choice. I would imagine that perhaps it could be less weight over the parking structure.

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