Rebellious cousin of the headquarters

Posted on June 2, 2015

Uber Technologies is about disrupting the status quo, so it was not strange that Studio O+A design the eleventh floor of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco fitting for the tech firm: Nothing is typical.

Uber moved its headquarters to San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood in 2014, starting with the fourth floor of a 22-story office building built in the 1970s as a data center for Bank of America. Also designed by Studio O+A, that floor represented one stage in Uber’s development. Rapidly expanding, Uber leased more floors, and the next one completed was the eleventh floor (featured here), which has a deliberately “hacked” character compared to the fourth-floor offices.

An initial concern was how to make staff from the eleventh floor feel connected to the main office seven floors below, but  at the bottom line it feels OK that its not connected at all. The eleventh floor contains three types of team meeting spaces, each calibrated to provide a different level of transparency. Workspaces include open office studios, partially enclosed studios with benches for up to 10 workers, and fully enclosed rooms equipped with curtains that can be drawn to ensure confidentiality. Knoll Antenna worktables were modified with solid butcher-block surfaces. Each team room is designed to be self-contained, with its own snacks and drinks handy. A common tool wall holds surge protectors and office supplies in denim pockets, interspersed with plywood painted with writable IdeaPaint. Throughout the floor, Murphy desks can be folded down from the walls. In the up position, these desks are whiteboards for jotting ideas on the fly.

To bring members of different special teams together, the designers created a room at the center of the floor called the Cave, paneled in blackened Douglas fir. The light levels here are kept low. It’s feel intimate and atmospheric, as a direct contrast to the rest of the floor,”

After months of use, this Uber floor has been positively received by employees. and people love it.

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