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National Instruments

Reinvigorating the courtyard between head offices to support work and relaxation

  • 30K

    Square Feet

  • Austin, Texas

    Austin, Texas

By designing in 3D and communicating with virtual reality goggles, we made this courtyard redesign a reality

For National Instruments, the underutilized central courtyard and patio spaces between its two main office buildings needed to be reimagined. Despite the grill area, benches, and tables, the minimally maintained overgrowth and relative disuse kept the space feeling abandoned. Thanks to our reputation for renovating corporate campuses and our ability to effectively communicate our designs in 3D with clients, we were brought in to design a thoughtful outdoor space that could accommodate various user experiences.

The original scope of the project left the client feeling underwhelmed with what they could get for their intended budget.  At the client’s request, rather than simply enhancing the passive space, we created an outdoor area that supports a myriad of active uses for both work and relaxation. Informal spaces were created that are intimate enough for individual or small team functions as well as large group gatherings. The space supports recreational use as well, with the inclusion of a biergarten, outdoor kitchen, café dining spaces, bocce ball, a fireside huddling space, and a food truck dining space.

The use of Virtual Reality technology was critical in communicating design iterations with the client, and supported the alignment of design options with their proposed budget. Leading the 3D modeling efforts, we created a collaborative 3D model which showed the architectural and landscape enhancements, then used Lumion to create an immersive Virtual Reality environment. By using a VR headset while standing on the site, the client immediately understood the design, and also approved a budget increase necessary to bring the project to fruition.

Our team’s measure for success was an activated space that was actively used throughout the day for relaxation, gathering, and education as well as a recreation space during the evenings. Based on client feedback, activity in the space has increased exponentially—rather than being a pass-through space, it has become a multi-use space featuring individual and small gatherings as well as large corporate functions.

At a Glance

Architect of Record
STG Design

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