Microsoft Ireland, Dublin

Designed by: Gensler
For client: Microsoft Floor area: 33445.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Large Office of the Year

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© Gareth Gardener

With the soothing waves gently crashing along the shore, the sunlight streaming from a cloudless sky and miles of seemingly-endless sand joining the horizon, the beach offers a plethora of restorative benefits and acts as a social space.

About the Project

For over 30 years, Microsoft has enjoyed a long and successful presence in Ireland. For most of that time, several different employee groups were dispersed across multiple buildings around Dublin, making collaboration and community building difficult.

Gensler set out to create a uniquely inspiring work environment; a space that is different from all other Microsoft spaces, where great work could be achieved, away from common, traditional designs that were seen in other offices – taking Microsoft’s design language to a new level.
With 2,000 employees, 72 nationalities, and multiple business groups, this landmark campus enables employees to come together as ‘One Microsoft’, working together to empower every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more.

The result is one of the most exciting projects within Microsoft’s global portfolio. A campus that encourages chance encounters and purposeful collisions between people, allowing them to connect and be innovative whilst at the same time strengthening customer relationships and building connections with the local community. Over 70 experts from across Gensler, ranging from landscape designers to brand specialists to strategists, helped bring the aspirational concept to life.

What’s unique about it

Taking a human-centric approach, the design team created a concept, which maps out how visitors and employees interact with the space, taking into account their diverse needs. With people, environment, technology, and curation as core principles, the space connects ‘everyone and everything’.

Gensler moved away from the preconceived idea of an office, centring the concept around the notional idea of an island which consists of all of the typical island components Microsoft employees vary in roles from developers, who may gravitate to the caves and mountains to seek peace and quiet; to salespeople, who arrive at the harbour to engage with visitors; to business support professionals, who huddle around the campfire to share information in social hubs.

Microsoft are a global tech giant but bringing the locale and culture of Dublin into the design was paramount to the client. There needed to be a sensitivity and awareness for the people working there, as well as respecting the global aspect of the business.

The building and landscape are an ecosystem for its employees, allowing them to function to the best of their ability and enjoy working in an environment that is authentic, playful and unmistakably Microsoft.

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© Gareth Gardener

As the digital waterfall spills over three levels, it forms a meditative pool at the base of the building. A metaphoric representation of a place for reflection, contemplation and respite, the digital lake is also a place where the community can come together.

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© Gareth Gardener

Small coves and caverns provide private, hidden, enclosed expanses for quiet, focused working, helping breed productivity.

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© Gareth Gardner

In allegorical terms, the stairs are defined in the island-scape as a mountain. Similar to the earth’s natural elevations, we wanted to create a something that was more than functional – something remarkable and breath-taking.

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© Gareth Gardener

Symbolic of the world’s most agriculturally useful habitats – places vital for global civilisations – the grasslands on the Microsoft Island are a crucial to its inhabitants. Providing open plan workspace, storage, focus space, meeting and collaboration areas.

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© Gareth Gardener

The nests are ‘incubation’ spaces; environments that fosters rapid growth or development and can be used for active collaboration, information exchange and for creating connections.

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© Gareth Gardener

The woodland glade is an informal meeting space. These open clearings offer space for passive collaboration, chance encounters, getting together or simply taking a break.

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© Gareth Gardener

Gensler moved away from the preconceived idea of an office, centring the concept around the notional idea of an island which consists of all of the typical island components.

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© Gareth Gardener

As visitors descend upon the harbour, the building’s form reaches out to embrace; inviting people into a haven.

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© Gareth Gardener

The industrial materiality takes cue from world-famous man made harbours, creating an arrival point on the Microsoft Island that is alluring, assured and animated, providing vital connections to the rest of the island, and the world beyond.

Microsoft's excited employees share their thoughts after entering the new campus for the first time.

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