Valve Headquarters, Bellevue

Designed by: Clive Wilkinson Architects / JPC Architects
For client: Valve Corporation Floor area: 16722.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Submitted for: Large Office of the Year


Public Score
5.19
5.25 Function
5.17 Innovation
5.15 Creativity
Frame Valve Hq 10
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

View of Level 14 Cabal Hallway and Sculptural Walls

About the Project

Valve’s new headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, consists of 16722 m2 of office and amenity space spanning 9 floors for 500+ employees. Working with a Bellevue-based Executive Architect, JPC Architects, the Design Team implemented a dynamic design solution that incorporated flexible workspace for the software and hardware departments with a cafeteria, café spaces, training facilities, audio suites, a motion capture room, and a family play room.

Building from Valve’s deep-rooted cabal system of self-organized, multidisciplinary project teams, the new workplace is supported by a variety of open and enclosed collaboration spaces. Cabals combine dedicated meeting spaces with semi-enclosed work pods that provide additional privacy for more “heads-down” work. More importantly, the circulation supports not only the free flow of people moving throughout the office, but also the free flow of work-desks-on-wheels, as developers regularly move between individual cabals.

Connecting feature stairs provide a direct route from hardware cabals on the lowest floor to software cabals at the highest. Just as the central core concept provides more intimate and subtle experiences where workspace is positioned while expanding its scale and reach at the communal spaces, the connecting stairs are more compact at the extremities and stretched out at the central amenity floors. Floor openings at the south perimeter curtain wall reveal expansive views of Bellevue, Seattle, and the greater Pacific Northwest.

What’s unique about it

Valve’s steady growth and recent expansion into VR and hardware development prompted the popular video game developer to relocate to the Lincoln Square, a new mixed-use development just down the street from their previous offices. The Client’s primary goals were to support growth, attract and retain top talent, and foster collaboration and community. Although creative and playful, Valve’s workforce is seasoned and sophisticated, and they wanted the design and materials to reflect that.

In response to software developers’ inclination to work in the dark, the Design Team sought to employ the central core not only as a secondary source of soft illumination, but also as a means of connecting the office to itself and to the outside world. The “inner glow” from continuously lit core walls highlight the shared circulation on the cabal floors with level-distinguishing color palettes to augment wayfinding and warm textures drawn from exposed concrete shear walls. Central elevator lobby walls and pantry backsplashes carved out at the core ends of each floor provide bright canvases on which characters and scenes sourced from Valve’s rich history are painted and arranged with tiled mosaics, all of which were composed by the company’s own creative talent. On the central amenity floors, full-height digital displays enrich the “inner glow” with changing scenes from Valve’s games, as well as fan content uploaded to community forums on the company’s video game distribution platform, Steam.

Frame Valve Hq 09
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

View of Level 16 Training Facility

Frame Valve Hq 08
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

View of Level 15 Kids' Area (characters and illustrations were sourced from Valve's popular video game, Team Fortress 2)

Frame Valve Hq 07
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

View of Level 15 Cafeteria and Common Area

Frame Valve Hq 06
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

View of Level 15 Coffee Bar, Common Area, Feature Stair, and Level 16 Conference Room

Frame Valve Hq 02
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

Level 15 View of Atrium, Feature Stairs, Level 14 Reception Area, and Level 15 Amenity Floor

Frame Valve Hq 03
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

View of Level 14 Entrance, Reception Area, and VR Demo Area

Frame Valve Hq 04
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

View of Level 14 VR Demo Area and Level 15 Conference Room

Frame Valve Hq 05
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

View of Level 15 Coffee Bar, Common Area, Feature Stair, and Level 16 Conference Room

Frame Valve Hq 01
© Ema Peter, Ema Peter Photography

Level 15 View of Atrium, Feature Stairs, Level 14 Reception Area, and Level 15 Amenity Floor

Location of project:
Credits:
Clive Wilkinson Architects

JPC Architects

Are you sure?

Remember that you can only vote once per award category.