Friday 19 October 2018

A digital lake and Italian quarter - inside Microsoft's new €134m HQ

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar officially opens Microsoft’s new €134m campus at One Microsoft Place in Dublin
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar officially opens Microsoft’s new €134m campus at One Microsoft Place in Dublin
Outside One Microsoft Place, Dublin
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar officially opens Microsoft’s new €134m campus, One Microsoft Place, in Dublin

Louise Kelly and Ellie Donnelly

The Dublin Gospel Choir was on hand yesterday as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar officially opened Microsoft's new €134m campus.

With their rendition of John Lennon's 'Imagine' the choir played their part in what Mr Varadkar described as a "landmark day" for the tech giant in Ireland.

Designed by RKD Architects, Microsoft One, a 34,000 sq m facility, will be home to the company's 2,000-plus employees from 71 different nations.

The Taoiseach was joined by Peggy Johnson, executive vice-president of Microsoft Corporation, and Cathriona Hallahan, managing director of Microsoft Ireland, at the official opening of the campus.

"As a flagship multinational investor, Microsoft has strongly endorsed Ireland as an investment location for the world's top tech companies," said Mr Varadkar. "The Government is determined to ensure that Ireland continues to harness emerging technologies for social and economic benefit."

The new facility, which has campus floor space equivalent to four football pitches, provides staff with an environment that will drive further innovation and creativity by the Microsoft team on behalf of businesses, Governments, non-profit organisations, and society as a whole, Microsoft said.

Speaking at the event, Ms Johnson said that Ireland was really the only place outside of Microsoft's Seattle headquarters where the company had such a varied workforce - selling products not just in Ireland, but across the EU and around the world.

"Technology is rapidly changing how we live, work and play, and Microsoft is a major force in driving this change," Ms Johnson said. "This building creates the opportunity for the Irish-based team to do more together by facilitating development, innovation, and creativity."

Outside One Microsoft Place, Dublin
Outside One Microsoft Place, Dublin

Designed with an island metaphor in mind, visitors (and staff) arrive to the building through the harbour area, "a place of welcome" and approach the digital lake, which has over 125,000 LED lights.

Looming overhead is the mountain - the central stairs which acts as "the central spine to the building" with all the meeting and conference rooms built off it.

"The whole idea of the building was that it was bringing people together and bringing the growth mindset to life. It's really about a culture of continuous learning," said Microsoft HR director Joanne Morrissey.

"Whether you're a site reliability engineer, an artificial intelligence bot builder, a software engineer or someone working in field sales, operations sales, supporting our customers or partners right across the globe; it all happens here."

Facilities at the campus include a gym, nail salon, reflexology, and dental and eye screening for staff. It also boasts a number of dining options, including an 'Italian Quarter' and an on-site bakery.

The height of the building atrium is equivalent to five Dublin buses sitting on top of each other, while the total IT cabling used in the building would stretch from Dublin to Dingle - a distance of 350km.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar officially opens Microsoft’s new €134m campus, One Microsoft Place, in Dublin
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar officially opens Microsoft’s new €134m campus, One Microsoft Place, in Dublin

"Even the simple things about how the people come together and walk across the building, or how closely office functions are located to each other, those chance encounters are what we've have engineered - purposeful collision," said Ms Morrissey.

The tech giant also yesterday announced a €5m investment in the creation of an innovation and education hub yesterday.

As part of the investment, the company plans to bring 100,000 young people and their teachers to its campus over the next four years to give students an understanding of the transformational nature of technology.

"Working with young people, the building's legacy will be about cementing Ireland's position as a global digital leader, while continuing to support our customers today and tomorrow," Ms Hallahan said.

There are between 70-80 vacancies open across a range of disciplines at Microsoft Ireland.

Irish Independent

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