Nvidia’s headquarters in Santa Clara, California just got a massive new building called Voyager to join the Endeavor — and yes, those are Star Trek references. The graphics and AI company wants its employees to feel like they’re stepping into the future each day as they arrive for work, and the latest addition to its campus definitely achieves that goal. The 500,000-square-foot Endeavor, completed in 2017, has a stark black-and-white space age look, while the 750,000-square-foot Voyager has a more organic feel loaded with living greenery.
Not many people outside Nvidia’s employees will ever be able to get the full experience, but CNET got an exclusive tour of the interiors that gives us a pretty good idea of what it would be like to work there. A walkway lined with trees and shaded with solar panels leads from the Endeavor to the Voyager, and just inside the entrance, you’ll see what looks like a series of jagged mountain-shaped structures inside the main envelope of the building. A stairway scales the central “mountain,” which is where employees meet up and work.
Climb to the top of that mountain, and you can gaze out at the interior landscape of seating areas covered with pergolas to shield them from the afternoon sun. White multi-level mezzanines on either side contain more conventional office spaces. Grasses, vines, and shrubs spill out of long built-in planters that cover virtually every surface of this space, including a sizable green wall. Triangular skylights overhead allow daylight to pierce the roof and keep the plants happy.
At the peak of the mountain is a faceted black structure meant to evoke the image of an abstracted volcano. Inside this “caldera” is a long live-edge wooden table for meetings. As you climb down the back, you see more seating areas, conference tables, and an amphitheater where employees watch presentations. Outside the Voyager but beneath the “trellis” (a canopy covered in solar panels), employees enjoy elevated “bird nest” areas to meet and lounge. These circular enclosures contain sculptural benches, café tables, and an open roof that floods the space with sunlight. Four acres of garden separate the Voyager from the Endeavor.
It’s an unusual design, but Nvidia Chief Executive Jensen Huang wanted a building that gave every employee a view. All offices face outside windows, and employees can choose to work anywhere on campus, not just at stationary desks. The plans were launched well before the pandemic began, but now that the campus is complete, Nvidia sees it as a worthwhile investment. Sure, a lot of employees are choosing to work from home, but if you want to draw your employees back to the office, a gorgeous design like this one is a great way to do it.
If you haven’t seen inside the Endeavor, it’s pretty worth checking out. Architecture firm Gensler designed it around a glass-enclosed elevator core that whisks employees up from an underground parking lot and into a faceted black metal “cocoon” that forms the heart of the building. Just like the Voyager, the Endeavor features a multitude of skylights.
“We worked hard to get the right specifications of glass makeup to allow us the right quality of diffused and soft sunlight in the space,” says Hao Ko, principal and managing director at Gensler. “The final result — where the daylighting is evenly dispersed throughout and evenly experienced by everyone — is a testament to the upfront work we did in design.”
Check out the full tour of the new Voyager building over at CNET.