Montalba Architects transforms industrial offices into a luminous tech startup campus

Mindful Spaces

Montalba Architects transforms industrial offices into a luminous tech startup campus

The cafe is located at the center of the campus and provides a large area for daily team meals. Just off the courtyard, a monolithic glass garage door opens for ventilation and accessibility. (Kevin Scott)

Silicon Beach is a loose term for postindustrial pockets on the western edge of Los Angeles, an area filled with over 500 tech startups. Here resides many one-to-two-story warehouses shrouded in corrugated metal—part of the local vernacular. One challenge for designing a new office space in this post-factory district is how to connect inward-looking interiors with outdoor spaces seamlessly. Montalba Architects’ design for the meditation app Headspace does just that with a former parking lot–cum–meditation courtyard that connects to surrounding spaces in Santa Monica, California’s Bergamot Station arts complex.

After acquiring buildings around its original Bergamot Station office, the health-conscious tech company teamed up with Montalba Architects principal David Montalba to design flexible work environments and areas for meditation in the new structures and the outdoor spaces between them. “We expanded the campus to connect the indoor and outdoor spaces and bring natural light into each building,” Montalba said about the project, which finished last year. 

To mesh with the wellness culture of Headspace, connection to the outdoors was crucial to foster health and encourage meditation. In addition to overhauling former parking spaces into a large courtyard and outdoor garden, the architects cleared part of the indoor space’s second floor to make way for a “sky room” terrace that’s connected by a lightwell and staircase to the courtyard.

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