Amazon2

Maybe you never gave much thought to your office building. If that’s true, then you probably don’t work at one of these seven companies. Judging by the building plans of tech’s major players, sci-fi futuristic looks and abundant foliage is the order of the day when it comes to building a campus.

Looking at them all side by side, it’s like a locker-room comparison, with each one trying to outdo the other. Not that we’re complaining. When it comes to eye candy, it’s tough to beat some of these fantastically outlandish designs.

Amazon

Amazon is looking to build a huge 3.5 million-square-foot office park in Seattle. This transparent, glass-domed wonder would be big enough to house full-grown trees and include botanical zones, giving the structure a greenhouse-on-steroids effect. Of course, no greenhouse you’ve ever seen includes dining rooms, meeting spaces, lounges and retail areas. [source/.pdf]

Architecture firm: NBBJ

Apple

Whenever Steve Jobs presented something, you always knew design would be a major factor in it. And that’s just what we’re looking at with the Apple headquarters that the late tech founder pitched to the Cupertino City Council. (Looking at this, is anyone reminded of the old iPod click wheel? Or a UFO?) The site of HP’s former campus, the new 2.8-million-square-foot office — known as “Halo” — will give 14,000+ Northern California Apple employees some space-age digs and wide-open green spaces. Speaking of green, the company is focusing on sustainability with this build. The architecture was designed to reduce the structure’s carbon footprint, and workers will be urged to bike around the 176-acre campus using the many bike paths. [source]

Architecture firm: Foster + Partners

NVIDIA

NVIDIA is only moving across the street, but that doesn’t mean it can’t take the opportunity for a sleek new build-out. The company wanted something that resides “at the intersection of science and art,” and it got that in the plans for its new headquarters in Santa Clara, CA. It looks like something cooked up by Hollywood whenever it needs to depict Area 57 or any other high-tech advanced laboratories. Likewise, NVIDIA’s triangle themed layout and aesthetic were intentionally designed to evoke computer graphics. [source]

Architecture firm: Gensler

Facebook

Facebook

Facebook isn’t moving, but it is growing. The social network is super-sizing its existing operation by adding another building to its grounds. But instead of plopping something sci-fi-ish amid the scenery in Menlo Park, CA, it wanted to the new structure to fit into the local architecture. So it hired Frank Gehry, the renowned master responsible for the L.A. Walt Disney Concert Hall and Spain’s Guggenheim Museum. The warehouse-style space has a rooftop garden, cafes, break-away couches and and underground tunnel that connects the new building with the old one. [source]

Architect: Frank Gehry

Google

Google

Think you know Google’s Mountain View headquarters from the movie “The Interns”? Think again. The company responsible for the now-legendary “Googleplex” has a new 42-acre bay view campus on tap. The driving force behind the new plans is to let employees get anywhere they need to go in the 1.1-million-square-foot complex in 2.5 minutes or less. In total, there will be nine new structures added to the Google family, and all of them will continue the funky, creative vibe the tech company has become known for. [source]

Architectural firm: NBBJ

Samsung

Samsung

Looks like Facebook and Google aren’t NBBJ’s only clients. Samsung has also hooked up with the powerhouse firm to overhaul its Silicon Valley HQ. Think looming glass-and-metal 10-story building encompassing an open courtyard and featuring high energy efficiency. The design keeps the sun’s heat at bay while letting cool air breeze in. And all those glass panels function for more than just exterior looks — the idea is to let natural daylight in to minimize the use of electrical lights. [source]

Architectural firm: NBBJ

Yahoo!

Yahoo

And while other tech companies build their own high-tech, eco-friendly or creative offices, here’s Yahoo! staunchly going the other way. But that’s not a bad thing. Who’d want to see the company demolish the historic New York structure at Times Square? The New York Times took up residence here for almost a century, and it’s a pretty symbolic move that a new media company is coming in where an old once stood. Of course, Yahoo!’s Silicon Valley office isn’t going anywhere, but the company does plan to expand this four-floor NY office to accommodate all the hiring it plans to do in the future. Reportedly, it projects a staff increase by as much as 60 percent over the next several years. [source]