Adapting a warehouse into a R&D HQ for an ambitious tech company

How do you design to promote innovation? How can we get it done faster? How do we incorporate flexibility and plan for change? These were some of the fundamental questions in the minds of the nascent Uber research center team when this project began.

The project began with a team of designers, engineers, contractors, and the client working together to convert an existing concrete block warehouse into a cutting-edge facility for autonomous vehicle research. With a focus on flexibility and adaptability, the team created a space that combines individual think tanks and relaxation zones for engineering teams, all organized around a central work shop.

Since opening its doors, the 98,600 sq. ft. facility has been home to Uber’s research operations and has played a vital role in the company’s continued success. From their vantage point overlooking the river, Uber’s team is hard at work pushing the boundaries of transportation and exploring what’s possible in the world of self-driving cars.

At its core, this project is a testament to the power of collaboration and design thinking. By bringing together experts from a variety of disciplines and focusing on innovative solutions, the Uber Advanced Technologies Center is a space that fosters creativity, productivity, and breakthrough ideas.

When we first laid eyes on that empty warehouse, we knew it had the potential to be something special. And after an extensive design and construction effort, we turned it into a state-of-the-art tech office that we're all incredibly proud of. It was a mix of both renovation and new construction - we added a brand-new second level, a kitchen, and a car workshop. The workshop had to be isolated from the office functions, but we made sure to connect it visually with full-height interior windows. And we didn't stop there - the garage doors that connect the workshop to the central gathering space so vehicles can be driven right into the All-Hands Space, creating a real sense of connection to the end product. We designed the office to pay tribute to Pittsburgh's steel history while also embracing the cutting-edge technology of self-driving cars and beyond. It's a space that truly reflects our vision for the future.

Grace Ding Strada Architect