Henning Larsen Architects bases Microsoft headquarters on Bill Gates' workplace theory

| 11 comments

Microsoft employees have moved into a new metal-clad headquarters in Denmark, designed by Henning Larsen Architects but based on a paper written by the tech company's founder Bill Gates (+ slideshow).

Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects

The 18,000-square-metre facility called Microsoft Domicile is located in the city of Lyngby and was designed by the Copenhagen firm to house two previously separate units of the organisation under the same roof.

Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects

The building comprises two conjoined blocks intended as a reference to this unity and clad in angular metal profiles. The two blocks, six and seven storeys respectively, are united by a large atrium that hosts meeting spaces and a lobby – part of Microsoft's vision of an "open and inviting environment" for its employees.

Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects

"The planning of the building stems from Microsoft's work methodology, based cooperative processes as described in a 2005 white paper by Bill Gates entitled The New World of Work," said the firm, which also designed the grass-covered Moesgaard Museum near Aarhus.



"The collocation of the organisations is clearly visible in the architectural design," it added. "The design of the building originates in Microsoft's approach to work, where cooperation and knowledge sharing are key."

Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects

Rows of white balconies surround the wood-lined atrium, which is topped by a large gridded skylight. White boxes with glazed faces project over the atrium to house boardrooms, while smaller impromptu meeting areas are spaced around the balconies.

Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects

The layout is intended to generate collaboration and transparency between workers and clients. Glass walls and large windows between offices and the street further add to this theme.

Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects

"This is also translated in the layout of the landscape, and the almost invisible transition between in- and outdoors," said the team.

Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects

The new Microsoft headquarters sits at the heart of a larger development in the city of Lyngby and will be joined by new houses, shops, cafes and other businesses over time.

Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects

The lower floors of the building hosts public areas including a cafe, auditorium and a series of pop-up study places for students at the Technical University of Denmark.

Microsoft's Viennese headquarters features themed meeting rooms including a hunting lodge and ocean, while the company's pavilion at the 2014 Winters Olympics in Russia drew on the blocks of colour that make up its logo.

Photography is by Hufton + Crow.


Project credits:

Architects: Henning Larsen Architects
Contractor Hoffman
Consulting engineers: Grontmij
Investor: Danica Pension

Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects
Site plan – click for larger image
Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects
Third floor plan – click for larger image
Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects
Fifth floor plan – click for larger image
Microsoft building by Henning Larsen Architects
Section – click for larger image
  • David Hodgson

    Safe and uninspiring. This building highlights the huge difference between Apple and Microsoft.

    • echykr

      I fail to see how Apple is any different. Its Mac Stores are no less “safe and uninspiring” than this building. In other words, get off your high horse Mac lover.

      • David Hodsgon

        The Mac stores are a product within a brand – at least the Apple campus is trying to do something different/exciting.

        PS – your reply is about as interesting as Microsoft’s OS.

    • agreed

      I agree with Echykr. There is no difference between Mac and Apple.

      Both are huge American tech companies developing front-line technology and lifestyles to sell to consumers to make lots of money… Both need architectural spaces to enable this process to work towards the market they operate in.

  • disqus_U0qT6IgGC8

    Looks familiar.

  • melinda

    How Bill’s ideas were translated into the design needs some more explanation. His paper can be found here:

    https://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/execmail/2005/05-19newworldofwork.mspx

    • Stephan Mathieu

      Would you check your link? It leads to an error page. Thanks.

      • melinda

        Hmm, it works in my browser.Try Google with “The New World of Work, Bill Gates”.

        • Robin

          Are you Bill Gates’s wife?

    • Delbert Grady

      Yeah, not sure how it’s a translation. Collaboration was mentioned. The idea sounds like an interesting idea for a competition. One competition for the ideas of Gates and another for ideas of Stevie J.

  • spitfire

    It looks great if you like living and working in a box.