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Pinterest Headquarters, San Francisco

Designed by: IwamotoScott Architecture with Brereton Architects
For client: Pinterest Floor area: 10000.00 M² Year of completion: 2016
Awarded: Large Office of the Year Society

Pinterest Sf 04 Photo By Bruce Damonte 22C 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

Entry/Reception space upon entering from Brannan Street. The dia-grid plywood waffle ceiling forms a visual 'takeover' moment as figural overhead threshold along the entire width of the building, visible from the street through the existing glass facade

About the Project

The new Pinterest headquarters in San Francisco is inspired by the redesign of the company's web platform — clean, simple, intuitive. The building is a four story concrete structure that originally housed a John Deer factory in San Francisco’s Central SOMA district.

The program is organized as porous, concentric layers around a large, central interconnecting atrium and stair. The program includes: large “town hall” all-hands /dining space on the ground floor, expansive open workspace on the upper three floors, both formal and informal meeting rooms, team rooms, lounge spaces, quiet room, maker lab, coffee bar, and design studio. A key aspect of the design involved extending the existing two story atrium to the ground floor, creating a central void at the building’s center that visually connects all four floors— within which lives the main communication stair. 
The stair acts as the central organizing figure of the workspace. Awash in daylight, the stair — referred to as the Knitting Stair in reference to the company’s collaborative ethos represented by the act and product of knitting — takes the form of a perforated steel-clad volume that doubles back and intersects itself at its midpoint. The intersection allows people unexpected glimpses between two flights of people moving up and down within the stair’s interior volume. A multitude of similar spatial intersections join the individual meeting room volumes with surrounding open workspace on the upper floors.

What’s unique about it

The project is one of a series of projects (both adaptive reuse and interiors within new construction) undertaken by the client as part of a larger aim of creating an urban campus for Pinterest -- a campus which is integrated into several contiguous blocks and surrounding urban fabric within San Francisco's SOMA district, as opposed to opting for a more insular or hermetic suburban campus typical of many Silicon Valley tech headquarters.
The design of the Pinterest HQ reflects the brand ideals of the growing company and the ethos behind its platform as a creative space. This plays out through its unassuming materiality that becomes adaptable by the users for DIY intervention, and in its spatial organization that creates visual and physical permeability among a set of programmatic rings defining a interlocking yet flexible set of interior 'neighborhoods'. The spatial arrangement promotes a cross-pollination among and between departments.
The above goals were achieved while consciously avoiding the overly playful, un-serious nature found in many tech office headquarters spaces. The Pinterest HQ space is rigorous in its form and detail, yet not precious. In its spatial open-ended-ness, Pinterest HQ aims to foster fortuitous interaction among its users, while engaging their perception through offering a heightened spatial and material richness.

Pinterest Sf 07 Photo By Bruce Damonte 11C 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

"Knitting Stair" landing/bench at Ground Floor within newly expanded atrium void, wrapped by surrounding servery space, and IT Lounge at left. The stair forms the heart of the headquarters space, threading together different paths and views, while filteri

Pinterest Sf 03 Photo By Bruce Damonte 23B 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

Entry/Reception space upon entering from Brannan Street. A dia-grid plywood waffle ceiling forms a visual 'takeover' moment as figural overhead threshold along the entire width of the building, visible from the street through the existing glass facade on

Pinterest Sf 06 Photo By Bruce Damonte 9B 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

Cafe/Lounge adjacent to All Hands/Dining/Town Hall beyond. "Knitting Stair" visible in distance at right, wrapped by servery space. In foreground is custom fabricated built-in and mobile/modular lounge furniture built using reclaimed Redwood. At left is

Pinterest Sf 09 Photo By Bruce Damonte 4B 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

Knitting Stair / bench platform at Ground Floor within newly expanded atrium void. Servery space wraps stair, IT Lounge beyond at right. Overlook aperture at stair allows connection/communication between levels through stair. The stair forms the heart of

Pinterest Sf 11 Photo By Bruce Damonte 6B 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

Knitting Stair landing/bench at Ground Floor within newly expanded atrium void, with surrounding servery space beyond at left, All Hands/Dining at right. Overlook aperture at stair allows connection/communication through stair. The stair forms the heart o

Pinterest Sf 20 Photo By Bruce Damonte 13B 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

Knitting Stair landing within its interior, offering overlook aperture that allows connection/communication to All Hands/Dining/Town Hall space beyond. Glass prism at stair's center allows glimpses between users moving up and down stair's two flights. The

Pinterest Sf 27 Photo By Bruce Damonte 19B 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

Top of Knitting Stair, wrapped by informal work zone, pantry and porous ring of both formal and informal meeting spaces, leading to outer ring of open workspace at perimeter beyond. The stair forms the heart of the headquarters space, threading together d

Pinterest Sf 29 Photo By Bruce Damonte 60B 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

Conference Room within porous ring of meeting spaces; custom CNC-milled plywood ceiling diffuser modulates acoustics, light and air within room. Work-bar along top of Knitting Stair visible beyond through glass, pantry at left. Other plywood-clad meetin

Pinterest Sf 31 Photo By Bruce Damonte 36B 4 K
© Bruce Damonte

Interlocking room corners -- joining formal and informal meeting spaces (both rooms and nooks) within porous ring of meeting spaces that wraps around central atrium and Knitting Stair. This view shows repeating detail of voided corners made with intersect

A non-professional video of a 'day in the life' at Pinterest HQ made by employee, Chris Danford, posted on Youtube. As he describe it: "A tour of the Pinterest office in SF where I work. Pinterest has 3 other offices in SF, but this is the largest. Most engineers and designers are in this office. (Disclaimer: This video is for fun and neither blessed nor approved by Pinterest.)"

Credits:
IwamotoScott Architecture

Brereton Architects

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