The Impact of Tech Companies and the Built Environment

Jonathan Ward
Design Partner
NBBJ, Los Angeles



While tech companies have traditionally located in suburbia due to lower property costs and the perceived security of intellectual property, they are now increasingly investing in cities to boost recruitment and stimulate innovation. As people and companies increasingly make the move to cities, workplace design must too adapt to new, inherent constraints; most notably as companies are frequently limited to occupying spaces in high-rise developments.

Tencent, one of the world’s largest internet companies, is creating a high-rise headquarters in Shenzhen, China that overcomes the challenges of the traditional tall building. To do this, Tencent and the Corporate Headquarters design team abandoned the idea of a single high-rise or multiple low-rise buildings in favor of one that combines the best of both – two towers connected by elevated bridges with vibrant spaces devoted to gathering. The resulting vertical campus offers the value of an urban high-rise with the community of a low-rise Silicon Valley headquarters.

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