By Angela Hey
Intuit's Cook Campus Center wins LEED Gold Award for sustainabilityUploaded: Aug 27, 2013
Intuit employees have a new campus center that features cafeteria, gym, coffee shop, conference rooms and cozy alcoves, as well as outdoor spaces for dining and conversation. The Cook Campus Center, built by Sunnyvale's SC Builders (www.scbuildersinc.com) recently earned the Green Building Council's second highest award for sustainability and energy efficiency, LEED Gold.
When Intuit started, I rushed out to buy Quicken Release 1 and listen to Scott Cook with co-founder Tom Proulx exude simplicity. The aim of the center is to make employees feel valued and productive. The company culture is reflected in clean, simple designs.
A visitor is welcomed at the reception desk surrounded by reclaimed wood. Intuit repurposed Scott Cook's kitchen table, on which he first created Quicken to replace a pen and paper checkbook. Protected by a glass surface, it provides a place where employees can develop great ideas. A gallery portrays employees honored for innovation.
Awnings help shade the patio and help keep the cafeteria cool. Interestingly, the town required that sprinklers be installed in the supports holding the fabric shades. Since the building is a gathering place for large crowds, the building code is stricter than for buildings with less dense occupancy.
Solar panels cover the roof. Elegant LED lamps from Landscape Forms light the patio at night. A metal screen from Arktura, with various sized-holes punched in it to give it the effect of a world map, can close off the cafeteria. The screen design reminds employees of Intuit's global presence. Arktura also created ceiling fixtures and elegant folded metal benches.
A fake fireplace featuring driftwood provides focus in one of several nooks for working and sharing. Opposite, a wall of screens displays employee photos. The coffee shop lounge features a gas fireplace that contributes to the relaxed atmosphere.
The innovation galley features a 6-screen wall that showcases Intuit's worldwide activities. I watched an employee being interviewed on TV. Behind it is a tech support area, reminiscent of the Genius Bars found in Apple's stores.
The gym is equipped with high quality Precor machines, TVs and balance balls. Besides the main weight room there's a spinning studio with exercise bikes and a yoga/dance studio.
Sun Microsystems occupied many of Intuit's buildings in the late 1980s, before moving to the site Facebook now occupies near the Dumbarton Bridge. Since then Intuit has grown its campus into multiple buildings off Garcia Avenue. As noted in the Voice (http://www.mv-voice.com/news/2013/04/25/council-members-praise-intuit-project), Intuit also plans to expand on Marine Way with a four-storey building. Intuit is currently hiring software engineers, as well as marketing and business development personnel. The campus center is a great place to hang out and be inspired.
Picture of the Innovation Galley by Jasper Sanidad, courtesy SC Builders.