Uber Advanced Technologies Group

Uber opened the Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) Center in Pittsburgh to research and develop solutions for mapping, vehicle safety, and autonomous transportation. Pittsburgh’s history of manufacturing the most essential machines of its age matched Uber’s vision of launching its first self-driving vehicle.

The concept blends Pittsburgh’s industrial roots as the “City of Steel” with its new role in creating the “City of the Future.”  The lobby wall is clad in blackened steel panels with a sleek steel and glass custom desk, forged as if it could be an artifact for the future.

Connecting the lobby to the main space is the “Tunnel to the Future,” lined with an ever evolving series of prototypes, serving as a reminder that success is a process of iteration and that even failed experiments move a project forward.

From Louis Nevelson-inspired millwork to a granite fireplace, warming the space on a snowy, winter days, every detail was thoughtfully executed.

The showroom acts as a kind of altar to the autonomous car.  Everything here is white – stark white.  Bleached pine stadium seating is canted slightly, looking out at the Allegheny River.

Nestled in both wings are cor-ten steel laser cut panels, framed in smoked glass.  One side depicts the birthplace of Uber – a map of San Francisco and the other, the birthplace of ATG – a map of Pittsburgh.

“We built a space based on function first” says Liz Guerrero.  “They’re builders. We wanted to bring beauty in basic, functional elements by pairing materials in interesting ways.”

Housed beyond the rows of workstations and studios is a fully-functional machine shop where autonomous cars are engineered, built, and tested. Merging the shop with the showroom is a testament that function can still take an elevated form.

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Client: Uber
Size: 80,000 sqf
Completed: September 2016
Collaborators: Giffin Interior & Fixture, Strada LLC, Continental Building Systems, Continental Office Environments, Urban Tree, MASH Studios, Steve Gerten
Photographer: Jasper Sanidad
Press: Contract Magazine 2016, Interior Design Magazine 2016, Fast Co.Design 2017, CA Home + Design 2017, CNBC 2017, Inc.Com 2017
Awards: Interior Design Best of Year Large Tech Office, CA Home + Design Office Interior, AZ Award Interiors Finalist