Microsoft Stays Home, Plans Remodel to Urbanize Headquarters Campus

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Microsoft announced a major renovation of its campus Tuesday that will transform its Redmond, Wash. headquarters into a mini city of sorts complete with public transportation, heightened buildings and designated public space. Auto parks that sat adjacent buildings will be moved underground to provide more space for buildings and recreational ground.

Microsoft's project is somewhat more traditional in comparison. All vehicle parking will go underground, and in its place will spring up sports fields, a tree-lined boulevard, and a two-acre open plaza that can hold up to 12,000 people for events.

As part of the project, Microsoft will also tear down older buildings that no longer fit its needs.

Staff will work in "team neighborhoods" that are informal, creative, and make good use of natural light, Microsoft said.

Microsoft New Campus
A render of Microsoft's new

Once the project is completed, Microsoft's total Redmond footprint will consist of 131 buildings and the equivalent of 180 football fields of new and renovated space.

Several of the new Microsoft buildings will be four stories tall and centered on a new 2-acre plaza where events can be held - giving the campus a bit of an urban vibe, Smith said. The company says the expansion marks a commitment to their employees, the community, and the entire Puget Sound. Along with the new buildings and public spaces, Microsoft's new campus is created to have running and walking trails and an open-air plaza capable of holding 8,000 to 12,000 people.

The growth plan marks a continued shift away from the car-dependent campus of the last 30 years, made possible by the 2023 arrival of a light rail line that will make travelling to and from the campus without a vehicle easier than ever. However, with the new buildings, the company plans to take a different approach. This will connect with a planned Redmond Technology Transit Station where the Link Light Rail is expected to arrive in 2023. As a Zero Waste Certified campus we will continue to focus further on waste-reduction initiatives.

It is clear that Nadella is looking to revive the work culture at Microsoft, making it a little more collaborative with employees coming out of the closed-door offices and working in a more interactive environment. The 18 new buildings part of the overhaul will be Energy-Smart Buildings that utilize Azure to monitor the building system and energy usage optimization, according to the company.

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