Microsoft has revealed plans to completely overhaul its huge 500 acre (202 hectare) flagship campus in Redmond, Washington. The multi-year project will focus on modernizing and increasing employee capacity, while also making the headquarters more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly.
The proposal certainly isn't as exciting as Google's starchitect-designed HQ or Apple's "spaceship," though Microsoft's competitors are starting from scratch rather than renovating a longtime home while remaining operational, so have more opportunity to be radical.
Work will start on the project in late 2018 and will take five to seven years to complete. The equivalent of 80 American football fields' worth of new and renovated workspaces will be constructed. The offices themselves will feature collaborative and flexible areas, as well as benefit from ample natural light inside.
A total of US$150 million is earmarked for transportation infrastructure and the campus will include pedestrian and cyclist-friendly zones, with cars kept out of sight in an underground parking facility. A foot/cycle bridge will connect to a planned light rail station and Microsoft will be running carpools, buses, and other transportation options too.
Elsewhere, a 2-acre (0.8 hectare) plaza with room for up to 12,000 people will be available for workers, as well as extensive landscaping, running and walking trails, facilities for soccer and cricket, and retail space.
Microsoft aims to minimize waste and says that monitoring systems will be in place to help optimize energy usage. We wouldn't be surprised to see some more involved sustainable plans unveiled as the project progresses.
In all, Microsoft expects its new Redmond facilities to increase the current 47,000 employee capacity by 8,000.
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