See inside Nvidia's giant 'Voyager' HQ — a futuristic office where work meets nature

Nvidia office
Nvidia's HQ has been designed to enhance productivity. Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco
  • US chipmaker Nvidia opened its "Voyager" office last year.

  • The 750,000-square-foot space reflects the company's "no barriers and no boundaries" philosophy.

  • Business Insider spoke to the lead architect behind the project.

Nvidia has had a big few years. Demand for the company's GPU chips surged as artificial intelligence fever swept the world.

Nvidia latched onto the AI trend early, and it was able to carve out a significant lead in producing chips used in flourishing technologies such as ChatGPT.

The company's valuation quickly soar to $1.2 trillion, up almost 250% this year.

One of the keys to Nvidia's success could lie in its flat organizational structure.

"When you're moving that fast, you want to make sure that that information is flowing through the company as quickly as possible," CEO Jensen Huang said in a recent interview with Harvard Business Review.

Nvidia has fully committed to the flat structure — removing three or four layers of management in an effort to operate as efficiently as possible, Huang said.

Another key to the company's "no barriers and no boundaries" approach, as Huang described it, is its office.

Opened in early 2022, the Santa Clara headquarters is an imposing 750,000-square-foot structure designed to enhance employees' performance in line with the company's vision.

Nvidia office
"Voyager" is the name of the second building given to Nvidia's Santa Clara office.Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco

Named "Voyager," the building was designed by the architectural firm Gensler – and yes, it was named after a "Star Trek" starship.

Hao Ko, the design principal on the project, told Business Insider that the idea for the office "is rooted in that idea that people do their best work when they are provided with a choice."

An outside work station at Voyager. Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco

From individual places designed to enhance work focus, mentorship, or in-person meetings, the office provides employees with a wide variety of spaces to suit their individual needs.

"A successful workplace needs to be a destination and not an obligation, so designing a comfortable place that reflects a company's culture is also very important," Ko said.

Elevated "bird nests" act as meeting spaces. Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco

Ko said his firm's research showed collaboration was most effective when teams operated in the same spaces.

"The pandemic highlighted that work can happen anywhere, but it also reminded us that bringing people together inspires them to do their best work," he said.

Diverse spaces to give employees a choice of environment. Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco

Engineers at Nvidia had previously been siloed in traditional workstations, while other teams were stationed on different floors and even in different buildings. Gensler's solution was to move all Nvidia's teams into one big room.

But the team faced certain issues with regards to sound and light in such a vast open space.

The "base camp" reception area. Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco

"We designed the shape of the roof to bounce sound without reverberation and selected the ceiling material to help absorb noise," Ko said.

"Driving natural daylight evenly into a large space for all people to enjoy is also a challenge. We solved it by adding an abundance of skylights on the roof, moving people closer to the building's glass façade, and terracing the large floor plates," he added.

The central hall of Nvidia is known as the "mountain."Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco

They also wanted to provide a connection to nature in the space, Ko said, adding that the true innovation of the Voyager office is how the interior environment makes it feel like you're working outside.

"Inspired by the fact Santa Clara has arguably one of the best climates in the world and that our backyards are an extension of our home lives, Nvidia challenged our team to create a workplace that harnessed the beauty and inspiration of the surrounding nature and allowed people to work outdoors all day," he said.

"Valleys" have more conventional office spaces and enclosed meeting areas. Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco

The "four-acre workspace" features parks and '"treehouses" for gatherings, while shading trellis lined with solar panels blends into the building's structure.

The company also uses geographical nicknames to describe different areas in the building.

The "mountain" stairway leads to upper levels with lab spaces, while along its perimeter are "valleys" — naturally lit corridors that provide intimate meeting spaces and eating areas.

Natural light filters throughout the entire office space. Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco

Ko said that future workspaces will put a greater emphasis on offering people variety to choose where they work and to push for healthier and more comfortable environments.

"By refining the design of the workplace based on how people use it, we will continue to drive more innovation and a more resilient future," he believes.

Nvidia Gensler
Nvidia's H was inspired by "Star Trek." Jason O'Rear / Gensler San Francisco

Read the original article on Business Insider