Silicon Nights / by Alastair Wiper

 The Intel headquarters, Santa Clara

The Intel headquarters, Santa Clara

Silicon Valley, the home of the innovation, billionaire entrepreneurs, self-driving cars, and some of the world’s most boring architecture. When I first visited in 2015, like most people i suppose, I was expecting Silicon Valley to look like something from the Jetsons and that the architecture and buildings would be in sync with the aspirations of the companies that inhabited them.

But alas, what I found was a valley full of boring corporate architecture (not even the good kind), generic office buildings from the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. Many of the towns that make up Silicon Valley like Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Palo Alto are hardly towns at all in the traditional sense, rather they are a series of strip malls along busy roads that are clogged with the hundreds of thousands of workers that head into the Valley every day for work. As tech companies grew at an unimaginable pace in the early 2000’s, they did not have time to build new buildings to seat all the new staff they were hiring, so they took over any empty office space they could get their hands on.

The likes of Google, Apple and Facebook have all recently completed new headquarters, each designed by a their own starchitect, but I was more attracted to the contrast between the boring corporate buildings and the exciting things happening inside them. And I like a challenge.

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