GitHub, San Francisco

Designed by: Rapt Studio
For client: GitHub Floor area: 2973.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Submitted for: Large Office of the Year


Public Score
5.63
5.64 Function
5.59 Innovation
5.66 Creativity
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About the Project

GitHub is an open source coding community: one that prides itself in creating a transparent, connected, and collective product. Given their growing workforce, the company needed to expand, but faced constraints in their current brick and timber building, a space that opposed the attributes of the company in many ways. One goal for the expansion was to soften the harsh, masculine feel of the building, while providing a variety of settings for working at different times of the day.

The Rapt Studio approach begins with discovery, and in this project, we began with an extensive programming analysis. For GitHub, we enlisted a variety of qualitative research: focus groups, individual interviews, values and culture studies, and utilization surveys. This helped our design team to understand what was working in their previous space and – more importantly – what wasn’t. After synthesizing the findings, our solution strongly contrasted with the realities of their current space.

With minimal ceiling height and natural lighting only accessible on the eastern façade, the conditions are dark and constricting. To counter balance these conditions, a 1-foot thick backlit fabric wall is the dividing membrane, separating the closed program from the open office and creating a secondary source of light. This custom 3,000+sf translucent LED membrane becomes a wayfinding element that runs continuously throughout the office, serving as a beacon of light between the two work settings.

What’s unique about it

Workplace as a metaphor. We are not the first, but with this new workspace for GitHub, the design is a shining beacon to their celebration of transparency, connection and community.

The workplace, spanning two adjacent brick and timber buildings, is organized simply about the community spaces – meeting spaces, quiet getaways, lounges, gathering and collaborative pods, all organized within a glowing, internally illuminated tensile fabric amoeba. A living organism of innovation and the power of transparency and community.

Our new design concept was rooted in the company’s open source business plan. The floor plan became a physical model of open source collaboration, effectively translating their product into a space. The strategy was to create an organic inner hub for closed programming, while still maintaining a sense of privacy and connectivity. The central hub of meeting spaces where employees and clients go to work together and then disperse to the surrounding open work space.

The new space reacts to the existing site conditions, and creates an environment that promotes collaboration, fosters varied work styles, and builds vibrant communities. The result is a space that addresses employee feedback and is designed for the future workforce of GitHub. The workspace that surrounds it become the supportive fluid within which this organism of collaboration and interaction thrives…A living example of the brand’s DNA.

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Rapt Studio

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