Microsoft is currently going through one of its biggest campus expansions, well, ever. Back in 2006 we announced that we were spending $1Billion to add 3.1 million square feet of office space around our main campus and the Puget Sound area. A major portion of this expansion is the West Campus. The West Campus will add seven new buildings by 2009 and will house, among other things, our Entertainment and Devices Division (the people responsible for Xbox, Zune and all sorts of other cool stuff). In November 2007 we opened building 99 which is the home of Microsoft Research. I'm seriously jealous of those guys :) I went over and wondered around the week it opened and - wow - what an amazing building. Lots of natural light, lots of open spaces, an amazing atrium and pretty nice offices too. I'm in a pretty nice building myself but I might have considered (ok just for a couple seconds if my boss is reading this) applying for a job with Research. :)
The reason I'm writing this is because I received permission to post a fairly cool picture that was recently posted internally. It's of the future heart of the West Campus, currently under construction (click the picture below to see the full sized version):
I'm pretty fascinated by construction stuff. So when I looked at that picture my jaw just dropped. The picture offers a really unique view of the construction site - from the air. When you look at the site from the ground you think - "well, that's big". But you only see the real size of the project from the air. I mean, look at the freeway below and find a car. You know, the little specks? Now compare that to the construction site. It's huge! In the middle of the picture is the 5000 car parking garage that'll live below the new campus. There are six tower cranes and a few smaller cranes being used in the construction. The sheer amount of work being done in that small space is massive. Hundreds of workers, dozens of trucks, thousands of tons of cement a day...I just find that amazing.
There are four buildings under construction in addition to the parking garage (called a parkade in Canada by the way). On top of the parking garage will be the commons buildings. The former Eddie Bauer building that we purchased is the large aircraft carrier looking building sticking into the middle of the site. When finished, from the drawings and artist renderings, it looks like it'll be a beautiful area. There will be a sports field, wandering paths, lots of trees and buildings with unique architecture. I have a strong feeling I'll be taking the shuttle over to the West Campus once or twice a week for lunch (eh, and probably dinner I have to admit) just to experience it all.
I think it would be interesting to view the changes over time so if more aerial pictures are taken in the future I'll see if I can post them here.