Intuit Marine Way Building: Keeping the Offices Updated

WRNS Studio

Architect: WRNS Studio
Location: Mountain View, CA, USA
Date: October 2016
Size: 185.400 sqf
Photography: F. Bestraster

As Silicon Valley evolves to compete with growing innovation centers in walkable, networked areas, Intuit’s new Marine Way Building (MWB) – the continuation of a larger update to their Mountain View campus – models a new kind of workplace design for the region. An antidote to the insular campuses still going up throughout the Valley, Intuit’s human-centered, urban-minded, deep green workplace anticipates a more sustainable, publicly engaged development pattern, while providing its community with a place of warmth, choice and connection in the here and now.

Transforming the financial lives of individuals for over three decades, the people of Inuit have long felt part of something vital, and Intuit wanted to honor their employees with new workplace environments that support their strong culture and aspirational mission to power prosperity around the world. In response, WRNS Studio (site planning + architecture), and Clive Wilkinson Architects (interior design) worked as an integrated team to develop a phased design solution for two new office buildings and two new parking structures. These projects were identified in a 2010 master plan and represent major additions to Intuit’s campus, which was originally developed in the 1980s as a suburban office park.

The planning and geometry of the MWB (phase one, featured herein), with 185,400 sq. ft. on four floors, can be understood as low, wide, connected and flexible – a strategy that addresses the specific programmatic and collaborative needs of Intuit’s employees, reinforces campus patterns and cohesion, and creates interest along the street. The large floor plates, which accommodate a variety of places for people to collaborate, concentrate, socialize and reflect, are organized into human-scaled neighborhoods and connected by clear circulation. A café, living rooms, bike facilities, showers and terraces spin off of a highly visible atrium that welcomes up to 500 people at a time and opens out onto the campus’ main internal street. The four-story main atrium space draws activity from the east and west sides of the campus and serves as the center of the MWB and the greater Intuit community.

Each landing and bleacher stair along the atrium connects directly to a large “living room” with pantry functions and generous inter-team collaborative workspace. In addition to more intimate breakout spaces like balconies and casual soft-furniture settings, which offer a range of work opportunities to encourage users to take advantage of the whole building, full workspace neighborhoods are located at the edge of the atrium. This variety of programmatic functions along the perimeter of the atrium helps generate a consistent buzz of activity throughout the workday.

Designed to embrace the mild climate of Mountain View’s North Bayshore Area, the MWB connects to both nature and the public realm. Extensive terraces with views to the bay offer an indoor/outdoor workplace experience that fosters choice, authenticity and wellbeing while helping to knit the campus together. With a ground floor that emerges from the landscape as a solid, textured base, glassy loft-like upper levels, extensive terraces and amenities located at the building perimeter, the MWB creates a dynamic new edge along the campus’ main pedestrian and vehicular spine. The MWB will join with the office building planned for phase two, creating a new campus gateway and center of gravity.

Targeting LEED Platinum, design strategies enhance resource efficiency, expand the natural habitat, ensure good indoor environmental quality, reduce water consumption and waste, and enable the expanded use of transit options. The terraces and green roofs are part of a comprehensive landscape plan that includes naturalized wetland bio-filtration areas and natural planted areas to help sustain local salt marsh and grassland biome species while reducing the burden on the current infrastructure. Reflecting Intuit’s mission to empower small businesses and individuals, much of the furniture was purchased from small businesses, and local artists created the art and wind sculptures.

In a region that must become more efficient and sustainable to support the flexibility and work/life integration that knowledge workers seek, Intuit models workplace design that brings delight in the present, while anticipating a denser, more networked future for the Valley.