Beautiful. Warm. Modern. Welcoming. Exciting.
Those are among the words Viasat employees use to describe their newly expanded, southern California-themed headquarters. Designed to keep in step with transformations in technology, the sleek and refined East campus is the largest development in the city of Carlsbad.
“The space has all the modern touches, but feels warm and welcoming,” said Tami Axtell, a member of Viasat’s marketing team. “We can’t wait to share it with visitors.”
The 23-acre East campus expansion is across the street from Viasat’s original campus.
The first two of what will eventually be six additional buildings — and one of three planned parking structures — recently opened its doors. The new spaces include a large café with a stage and flexible architectural elements. There’s also a new conference center with wood panels reminiscent of vintage surfboards, and a 4-acre outdoor plaza meant for both work and play.
In addition to the ceilings that rise three-stories high, vast glass expanses, bright colors and big, bold graphic designs are meant to reflect Carlsbad’s coastal elements. The buildings are also models of energy efficiency. Making thoughtful use of sunlight, airflow, trees, and glass, many of the spaces within the buildings exceed the state’s energy requirements. Those same elements are also used to keeps employees physically comfortable and mentally alert.
“With more than eight hours per day spent in the office, we wanted to create an environment that was casual, comfortable and encouraged our team to be inspired, imaginative, resourceful and to think beyond the possible,” said Rick Baldridge, Viasat’s president and chief operating officer.
Exciting and functional
That was the challenge Smith Consulting Architects’ Mark Langan took up.
“The key to success is how people function within the space,” he said. “We were aiming for places where people could feel excited and inspired, yet still know it’s a work environment.
“We added more glazing on the building exterior to try bring in more natural light, the use of color to enliven spaces, creating different environments with lighting so that it’s always different and not monotonous. As you’re moving through the space, it’s always changing.”
One unique feature of the new East campus: Common spaces will also be always moving. That includes the atrium in the new corporate headquarters building, E1, which also houses a Candidate Experience Center for prospective employees. It’s intended to be welcoming and comfortable, even as it sparks excitement in potential employees.
Candidates can store luggage and relax at the atrium coffee shop, and easily walk into the courtyard and café/conference center. The flow of the space aims to quickly immerse visitors into the Viasat experience. That concept extends to the expansive glass on the building’s exterior, keeping with CEO Mark Dankberg’s wish that passers-by think, “Who is Viasat? What do they do? I want to work there.”
Dankberg and Baldridge also wanted the atrium to be lively, not merely a large, empty lobby with a security desk. A Starbucks-style coffee shop with sunken seating, trees and conference rooms meets that request, drawing employees in so the atrium is in constant use.
“When we designed the buildings, it was about employees first,” said Bob Rota, Viasat’s vice president of Facilities and Security. “It’s exciting and at the same time very humbling. There was truly a village of people that worked together to come up with the final product. We approached it the same way Viasat does engineering – that there’s always a better way.”
Lots of new space
While the spotlight’s on the East campus, it was created to complement the older buildings. Each side has its own unique amenities – including cafeterias with separate daily menus – intended to inspire interaction throughout the growing campus.
“The West campus will still be home to sand volleyball, basketball and the fitness gym our company subsidizes for employees,” Rota said. “Our North campus will still have the Grove with ping pong, shuffleboard and dart boards. And the East campus has hammocks, the conference center and the café. It’s all meant to give employees lots of choices.”
Viasat’s West campus opened in 1999.
The new space includes 90,000-square-feet, but Rota noted it’s a fraction of the total new office space Viasat has recently debuted.
“If you look across the company in the last three years, we have delivered 850,000-square-feet of new space in 25 cities in eight countries. So this is but a portion of the portfolio we’ve delivered across the world.”