Go Inside YouTube's Cheery Home Base

With abundant daylight, generous common spaces and plenty of distractions, the king of video-sharing is bringing the fun to their Bay Area headquarters.

Julia Benton
  • Photo credit: Julia Benton
    Open Spaces
    Designed by William McDonough + Partners and Huntsman Architectural Group

    YouTube, the brainchild of Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, is a company known for innovation. Like a lot of start-ups, the video-sharing website had pretty humble roots—first operating out of a space above a pizza parlor in San Mateo, situated between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The company soon took off. They were aquired by Google Inc. and in early 2008 moved their headquarters north to their current San Bruno location. The new space, originally designed by William McDonough + Partners as a build-to-suit for Gap Inc., offered plenty of light, nice views and open spaces to get down to work.

  • Photo credit: Julia Benton
    Work Together
    Designed by William McDonough + Partners and Huntsman Architectural Group

    YouTube turned to the San Francisco-based Huntsman Architectural Group to craft the interior of the office into an open loft-like space, reflective of their creative, collaborative style of working. The architects went to work, infusing the space with generous common spaces and abundant seating areas to encourage informal interaction, creating a strong sense of community. The building integrates many innovative design strategies, including raised flooring, displacement ventilation, operable windows and extensive daylighting.

  • Photo credit: Julia Benton
    Simple Color
    Designed by William McDonough + Partners and Huntsman Architectural Group

    Even after YouTube was bought by Google, co-founders Chen, Hurley and Karim sought to preserve the company's unique, independent identity. The interiors are splashed with their signature colors—clean white dominates the space with pops of black and red adding personality. They did snag a few ideas from their big brother Google, filling common areas with miniature golf greens, sneaking snack bars into corners and stocking a room full of toys and gadgets.

  • Photo credit: Julia Benton
    Concrete Jungle
    Designed by William McDonough + Partners and Huntsman Architectural Group

    The founders of YouTube were firm believers that some of the best ideas are hatched in the hall or while grabbing a cup of coffee in the kitchen. To foster the unconventional brainstorming process, the space was designed with a wealth of small, intimate gathering spaces. Here, in a central space on the second floor of the three-story building, staff can meet at the casual picnic table or settle into the dual plush red sofas for impromptu meetings.

Designers
Huntsman Architectural Group, William McDonough + Partners
Keywords

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