Dezeen Magazine

Large trellis between two buildings with solar panels

Tree-like trellis with photovoltaic panels covers outdoor workspace in Silicon Valley

Oakland-based landscape office Hood Design Studio has created two "treehouses" covered by an expansive photovoltaic trellis on the campus of a software company in Silicon Valley.

Located on a four-acre site between two buildings, Hood Design Studio designed the project to provide an outdoor working space for employees of the software company NVIDIA.

A walkway to an elevated seating area
Hood Design Studio has created two elevated seatings areas on a Silicon Valley campus

Two elevated, circular platforms at the centre of the site are outfitted with curved wooden benches and additional seating for outdoor work.

"Two treehouses, or nests, form pieces on the ground to encourage people to come outside," said principal-in-charge Alma Du Solier.

An elevated seating area with wooden benches
The project features a trellis with photovoltaic panels

Above the seating area platform, an expansive trellis provides shade while generating power for neighbouring buildings through translucent photovoltaic panels.

The trellis also allows sun rays to pass through to the plants below.

A concrete walkway underneath a metal treehouse
Native and non-native plants were chosen to adapt to the new microclimate created on the site

"The large trellis is much like a tree," said Du Solier. "A structure that opens up and out rather than focused inward."

The seating areas are connected to neighbouring buildings by a network of elevated walkways, which also lead down to the hardscaped ground level.

The rolling hills of the landscape design are representative of the agricultural legacy of the surrounding Bay Area of California, where farms and ranches cover 2.3 million acres of land.

The studio topped the "miniature version" of the hills with non-native and native plants and trees fit for the new microclimate created by the project.

A large trellis with photovoltaic panels by Hood Design Studio for a project in Silicon Valley
Various seating arrangements encourage collaboration and outdoor work

The selected trees were strategically placed to create organic forms from a distance, but upon closer inspection, follow a grid layout.

"Two types of red oaks and cultivars specific to this area were chosen for their low branching to create a treed landform at eye level," explained Du Solier.

Women in doing yoga in front of structure by Hood Design Studio
The architectural legacy of the area is reflected in the rolling hills of the landscape

The ground floor design was completed with private seating areas to accommodate solo workers or groups of up to 14. Concrete pathways guide pedestrians through the site.

The NVIDIA Campus project is one of several completed in the area, which has seen massive development generated by the area's large amount of technology firms. Others include BIG's Google campus designed in collaboration with Heatherwick Studio.

The photography is by Jason O'Rear.

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People walking on elevated pathway