A campus in the trees
The LinkedIn Middlefield Campus landscape plan is thoughtfully designed to reinforce the natural setting of this new headquarters. The new campus deviates from the previous era of high-tech centers based on the shopping mall model where the main buildings are surrounded by a sea of surface parking lots. The new plan places all of the existing and future parking requirements within efficient parking structures, making many acres of the site available for new office buildings and a dominant pedestrian environment that activates the site, integrates the community, and creates opportunities for human interaction. The revised public face of the campus will be changed from a landscape dominated by parking lots into a large park, a green gathering space for LinkedIn employees and guests to extend the workplace outside, redefining the site and publicly displaying the values of the company.
The landscape plan also responds to the unique Middlefield site itself, located at the southern end of Middlefield Drive, and is designed to take advantage of the City of Mountain View’s Middlefield public transit plan. The campus plan will also place priority on bicycle commuters, enhancing the existing bicycle network and creating easy connections to bicycle support infrastructure at each building.
The expanded campus is divided into three distinctive zones; the existing campus core, and new additions: South Campus and North Campus. The existing campus core is defined by a garden developed around the concept of displaying the natural process of storm water collection and infiltration. The primary feature is a geometric layout of pathways of many different pavements, which crisscross the campus core, leaving a series of triangular water collection gardens. The delicate nature of these plantings prohibits the physical use of the campus core as a large gathering space, rather it will function as a series of passive and contemplative walkways. The South Campus is an opportunity in the first phase to redefine the public perception of LinkedIn with a new headquarters building, the creation of a formal arrival and a broad campus quad in the foreground, also surrounded by rolling meadows and native tree canopies. Upon entering the Middlefield site, visitors are greeted with a large visually permeable and draught tolerant landscape, comprised of trees and a palate of lush native plantings that evoke health and vibrancy. The North Campus will be developed in the final development phases, and is imagined to provide a large recreational field set in a naturalistic park environment defined by rolling berms, native meadow grass and large shade trees.
The primary entrance to the site is off of Middlefield Road, creating direct formal vehicular access to the phase one headquarters building. A large egg shaped arrival roundabout will offer visitors a clear understanding of arrival, and access to the campus core buildings as well, which also is the drop off for the LinkedIn Commons Gathering Space. This large campus space is bound by a new LinkedIn Shuttle Transit Stop, which becomes the social starting point for the expanded outdoor life of the campus. The LinkedIn Commons is modeled in the tradition of the American Campus Quad, where people can meet outdoors, and mix in small work groups. The quad is also large enough and flexible enough to support the entire workforce population for periodic company gatherings, such as product releases, or social events including food trucks and seasonal festivals. It is also a place were lunchtime picnicking can occur, for a casual Frisbee toss, or a pick up soccer game.
At the southern boundary of the LinkedIn Commons is the primary “Link” walkway, a grand arc connecting the headquarters entrance with the future buildings, and the Middlefield Transit Station further to the west. This shared pathway is broad enough for bicycles and pedestrians, but also serves as a place to stage food trucks and festival tents. It is envisioned as a path made of rich and memorable pavements, benches, and unique pedestrian lighting. This grand arched pathway will be the defining edge of the campus, where some of the core campus pathways will be extended through the commons to meet it. Additional pathways made of contrasting materials will be added to complete the campus green character, and provide additional pathways between the new and old buildings.
The North Campus will expand the recreational needs for future phases and company population growth. All three campus zones will be connected between new and old buildings, and the property boundary by a landscape vocabulary defined by rolling berms of native and drought tolerant meadow grasses, including no-mow, and large shade tree canopies. Every attempt will be made to save as many existing mature trees as possible. This design vocabulary will provide a consistent perception and campus boundary facing all of the existing streets, unifying LinkedIn as the new corporate headquarters - a campus in the trees.