Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville, California

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was retained by Pixar's CEO, Steve Jobs, to design a new headquarters campus for 600 employees on a fifteen acre site in Emeryville, California. The facility is master planned to expand to house more than 1,000 employees in the future.

Pixar is the industry leader in the use of computer animation to create original feature films, as exemplified by the company's hit films, Toy Story, Toy Story II, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Pixar employs story artists, animators, and computer scientists its business success relies on the ability to attract these top people. Another challenge Pixar faces is the maintenace of a culture which favors cross-pollination of ideas among these diverse specialties. Solutions to these challenges are an explicit part of the design brief for the facility.

The first phase is a 200,000 square foot, two story, steel and masonry building. At the core of the facility is a large atrium that acts as a central piazza for the campus. Facing this public space are the offices, a 600-seat film theater designed to THX standards and two forty-seat screening rooms. The piazza includes an arrival lobby and registration area, a cafe and a fitness center. The qualities of light, space, and architectural interest and the integration of technology throughout the facility facilitates a cutting edge yet humane, interactive workplace.

Landscaping plays an unusually important role in unifying the campus and helping to define it as a special place in its urban context. The landscape, designed by Peter Walker Partners, is agrarian than manicured in character, with many seemingly undiscovered places to walk, sit and talk, or eat lunch. It includes a 600-seat outdoor amphitheater, a soccer field, and an organic vegetable garden, flower cutting gardens and a wild flower meadow.


2002 Citation Award for Excellence in Architectural Design
AIA Pennsylvania
2002 Citation of Merit for Architectural Design
AIA Pittsburgh
2001 Best Interior Architectural Design
East Bay Business Times Structures 2001 Awards
Tweet about this project. Recommend this on Facebook.