Contract - Stripe

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Stripe

20 June, 2014

-By Lydia Lee. Photography by Bruce Damonte.


Stripe is a tech startup that is completely of the moment: A competitor to PayPal, it is a software company that enables online credit card payments. However, its new, laid-back office, populated with young programmers coding away with their headphones on, occupies a building from another era.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 1902 Pioneer Trunk Factory in San Francisco’s Mission District has clapboard siding, double-hung windows, and an Italianate roof with brackets under the eaves. To design Stripe’s office, which occupies three floors totaling 28,000 square feet and fills a majority of the historic building, the company’s founders selected Boor Bridges Architecture, a local firm that had recently designed the offices for tech startups Dropbox and StumbleUpon.

Boor Bridges has also completed several coffehouses in San Francisco, including ones the coffee-addicted founders of Stripe had admired before knowing who was responsible. “We really liked their aesthetic,” says Orla McHenry, who works on the people operations team at Stripe, where there are no formal titles. “Boor Bridges had also done a lot of residential work, and we wanted the office to feel like home. They really encapsulated what we were looking for.”

The founding team at Stripe had fond memories of their first office in Palo Alto, California, where they would hunker down and pull all-nighters. They wanted to retain the camaraderie of coding together in that neighborly environment, even as the company grew rapidly.

On the ground level, Boor Bridges called for the removal of a series of partitions and the refinishing of a section that had been a garage. Decades’ worth of paint was sandblasted off the heavy timber beams and steel brackets to return them to their raw, industrial state. An open stair was inserted between the first two floors, and a central core contains service functions and meeting rooms to help organize the floors and keep them from feeling like a sea of desks. “We’re used to coming into buildings that require a lot of attention,” says Boor Bridges Project Designer Anand Sheth.

A casual, residential vibe

The ground floor is a public-facing gathering area and has a living room, library, and communal dining room—allowing the company to relegate whiteboards with proprietary information to the upper floors. In the bright dining area, three meals are served each day on long rows of oak tables from Los Angeles–based MASH Studios. The dining area opens onto a brick patio, a residential-style amenity. To screen off the patio from the parking area, the architects designed a multipurpose divider that integrates bike storage, trellises, and vintage-style barn lighting.

Contributing to the youthful, residential feel are contemporary furnishings from home retailers, including CB2, Room and Board, and EQ3, and accents typically associated with domestic decor, such as area rugs, houseplants, and pendant lighting. Boor Bridges Principal Bonnie Bridges consulted with Stripe to find local artists and galleries to provide artwork, including a custom 6-foot-wide installation of brass wire made by Beth Naumann of Hellbent in a lounge area.

Seating and lighting that adapt to staff needs
After surveying the clients, the architects found that everyone wanted casual seating, but nobody wanted to give up their own desk. As a result, there are 150 workstations and an equal number of informal spots, such as sofas and bar tables. The architects also created nine “code caves,” tiny rooms upholstered in dark felt that accommodate intense programming sessions. On the quiet third floor, there are a few open alcoves facing the windows—each just big enough for a large leather recliner—so that staff can prop up their feet and work away in relative seclusion.

In the daytime, the Stripe office gets a lot of natural light, which is balanced out by fluorescents. But work continues late into the night, and the fluorescents have turned out to be too bright. Based on her post-occupancy analysis, Bridges recommends that nocturnal companies like Stripe go with dimmable LED lighting. “These clients are extremely sensitive to light, and they need it to be much dimmer—only 5 to 10 footcandles,” she says.

The staff’s solution has been to bring in some classic halogen torchère lamps. Not a permanent or ideal remedy, but it addresses an important emotional issue. Bridges says: “For a place to really feel like home, you have to be able to control the lighting.”

Stripe Headquarters
  • Architect: Boor Bridges Architecture
  • Client: Stripe, Inc.
  • Where: San Francisco
  • What: 28,000 total square feet on three floors
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request

Key Design Highlights
  • The building’s history and industrial character are celebrated by revealing the raw texture of its heavy timber structure and the insertion of a stair with steel railing.
  • Traditional workstations and benching systems are balanced by informal work areas, lounges, an outdoor patio, and a bar.
  • A residential feel is created with carefully selected furnishings from home retailers and domestically inspired accents.
  • In post-occupancy analysis, the designers have learned that dimmable lighting, rather than the fluorescent overhead fixtures, would have been ideal for this type of office.



Stripe

20 June, 2014


Stripe is a tech startup that is completely of the moment: A competitor to PayPal, it is a software company that enables online credit card payments. However, its new, laid-back office, populated with young programmers coding away with their headphones on, occupies a building from another era.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 1902 Pioneer Trunk Factory in San Francisco’s Mission District has clapboard siding, double-hung windows, and an Italianate roof with brackets under the eaves. To design Stripe’s office, which occupies three floors totaling 28,000 square feet and fills a majority of the historic building, the company’s founders selected Boor Bridges Architecture, a local firm that had recently designed the offices for tech startups Dropbox and StumbleUpon.

Boor Bridges has also completed several coffehouses in San Francisco, including ones the coffee-addicted founders of Stripe had admired before knowing who was responsible. “We really liked their aesthetic,” says Orla McHenry, who works on the people operations team at Stripe, where there are no formal titles. “Boor Bridges had also done a lot of residential work, and we wanted the office to feel like home. They really encapsulated what we were looking for.”

The founding team at Stripe had fond memories of their first office in Palo Alto, California, where they would hunker down and pull all-nighters. They wanted to retain the camaraderie of coding together in that neighborly environment, even as the company grew rapidly.

On the ground level, Boor Bridges called for the removal of a series of partitions and the refinishing of a section that had been a garage. Decades’ worth of paint was sandblasted off the heavy timber beams and steel brackets to return them to their raw, industrial state. An open stair was inserted between the first two floors, and a central core contains service functions and meeting rooms to help organize the floors and keep them from feeling like a sea of desks. “We’re used to coming into buildings that require a lot of attention,” says Boor Bridges Project Designer Anand Sheth.

A casual, residential vibe

The ground floor is a public-facing gathering area and has a living room, library, and communal dining room—allowing the company to relegate whiteboards with proprietary information to the upper floors. In the bright dining area, three meals are served each day on long rows of oak tables from Los Angeles–based MASH Studios. The dining area opens onto a brick patio, a residential-style amenity. To screen off the patio from the parking area, the architects designed a multipurpose divider that integrates bike storage, trellises, and vintage-style barn lighting.

Contributing to the youthful, residential feel are contemporary furnishings from home retailers, including CB2, Room and Board, and EQ3, and accents typically associated with domestic decor, such as area rugs, houseplants, and pendant lighting. Boor Bridges Principal Bonnie Bridges consulted with Stripe to find local artists and galleries to provide artwork, including a custom 6-foot-wide installation of brass wire made by Beth Naumann of Hellbent in a lounge area.

Seating and lighting that adapt to staff needs
After surveying the clients, the architects found that everyone wanted casual seating, but nobody wanted to give up their own desk. As a result, there are 150 workstations and an equal number of informal spots, such as sofas and bar tables. The architects also created nine “code caves,” tiny rooms upholstered in dark felt that accommodate intense programming sessions. On the quiet third floor, there are a few open alcoves facing the windows—each just big enough for a large leather recliner—so that staff can prop up their feet and work away in relative seclusion.

In the daytime, the Stripe office gets a lot of natural light, which is balanced out by fluorescents. But work continues late into the night, and the fluorescents have turned out to be too bright. Based on her post-occupancy analysis, Bridges recommends that nocturnal companies like Stripe go with dimmable LED lighting. “These clients are extremely sensitive to light, and they need it to be much dimmer—only 5 to 10 footcandles,” she says.

The staff’s solution has been to bring in some classic halogen torchère lamps. Not a permanent or ideal remedy, but it addresses an important emotional issue. Bridges says: “For a place to really feel like home, you have to be able to control the lighting.”

Stripe Headquarters
  • Architect: Boor Bridges Architecture
  • Client: Stripe, Inc.
  • Where: San Francisco
  • What: 28,000 total square feet on three floors
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request

Key Design Highlights
  • The building’s history and industrial character are celebrated by revealing the raw texture of its heavy timber structure and the insertion of a stair with steel railing.
  • Traditional workstations and benching systems are balanced by informal work areas, lounges, an outdoor patio, and a bar.
  • A residential feel is created with carefully selected furnishings from home retailers and domestically inspired accents.
  • In post-occupancy analysis, the designers have learned that dimmable lighting, rather than the fluorescent overhead fixtures, would have been ideal for this type of office.
 


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