Adobe’s Big Move to Utah

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While California supports not quite 40,000 computer programmers—eight times the number in Utah—Utah employers pay nearly $10,000 a year less, on average, for their talent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s $76,150 versus $85,510.

[contextly_sidebar id=”b59108c290c1f021c5320aae7606ecf5″]The long, linear building incorporates a climbing wall and an indoor basketball court, unusual perks for the area, Francom said. It also has a full gym. It features a 10,000-square-foot atrium for all-hands meetings and approximately 1.5 acres of outdoor soccer fields, volleyball courts and a plaza with a fire pit. Thanks to its almost completely glass exterior, workers are able to connect with the natural world from almost any corner at any point in time. “We feel involved in the community because we can see the community around us,” Francom said. The building itself is largely open-plan with only 15 percent of the space devoted to private offices.

“We treated the freeway as though it were a natural phenomenon of the scale of the mountains. The energy of the freeway is part of the space,” said Bryan Shiles, a WRNS partner. “When you look to the northwest, it is a river of cars. When you turn 180 degrees, it is the mountain range and a beautiful green lawn. It is almost surreal.”

WRNS and San Francisco’s Rapt Studio, which completed the building’s interior design, together helped Adobe select the 40-acre site from a short list the software company had prepared. The two architectural firms then designed the building’s interior and exterior as hand and glove. Adobe was prudent with its expenses but did not compromise its vision or ideals. “Projects like this are often run by the expediency of process and the economics of the deal,” said Rapt Chief Executive and Design Principal David Galullo. That was not the case here. No exit strategy helped craft the architecture or determine interiors.

“It surprised us when they said, ‘Push the boundaries and break the rules’” because much of what the company had done architecturally to that point was conservative, Galullo said. But it became obvious that the campus—the hub of Adobe’s Digital Marketing Group, its new Web-analytics arm—represents an inflection point for the company. “The architecture is a beacon for the new Adobe, a new sense of creativity and innovation that is shifting how they think of other projects, too,” he said.

Now in San Jose, in the west tower, the first one built, Adobe is transitioning away from floor plans dedicated entirely to closed offices, the gold standard for computer programmers at the time it was constructed. The new floor plan will adhere to the same low ratio of private offices as in Utah. But San Jose’s other towers will remain as they are—at least for now, Francom said.

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