Despite its synthetic heart, Silicon Valley is still a real place, argues Sam Lubell
Silicon Valley architecture has always placed efficiency and technology above human comfort, culture and inspiration. Practicality and self-interest rule here, from the time when the Santa Clara Valley first morphed from a locale known for rolling orchards, vineyards and canneries into an electron accelerator, semi-conductor and vacuum tube-saturated tech nirvana brimming with eccentric, well-educated characters in search of gold, opportunity and an escape from the rigid dictates of the East Coast.
It was all about R+D, buzzing inside tilt-up concrete boxes, generic stucco campuses and glass and steel office parks. Companies like Intel, Cisco, IBM, Xerox and, of course, Apple, built fortress-like grounds, walling themselves off from the outside world; and the planning afterthought that was Silicon Valley.