Nvidia Plans New HQ For Its Expansion Beyond The GPU

We're only two months into 2013, but it has already been a big year for graphics-processing giant Nvidia. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the company unveiled Project Shield, its first foray into console gaming hardware. And in February, it was revealed that Nvidia is helping the team behind the Ouya, the wildly successful Kickstarter campaign for an Android-based $99 gaming console, max out its Tegra 3 processor.

Now Nvidia, which started as a 3-person team 20 years ago, has announced that it's outgrown its headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. In a post on the company's blog, co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled plans to build a new complex across the street from the current HQ, designed by architecture firm Gensler with a team headed by prominent architect Hao Ko.

Losing Ground To AMD

Its no secret in the industry that by purchasing rival graphics chip-maker ATI, chip-giant AMD has in recent years been steadily pushing Nvidia out of one of its prime markets - gaming GPUs. The Gamecube, Wii U and the Xbox 360 all went AMD in that respect (and the Xbox 360's successor will reportedly follow the same path).

With the pressure mounting, Nvidia gambled big and moved fast this year, attempting a home-console disruption with its partner Ouya. So far, the plan seems to be working. The Ouya, which runs solely on a souped-up Nvidia Tegra processor, has everyone talking, be it about the system's launch games or the fact that CEO Julie Uhrman wants to release a hardware update every year. And Project Shield, a strange hybrid device that fits a flip-out screen to a full-sized controller, has generated some well-earned buzz.

New Markets?

Beyond gaming, Nvidia is also expanding into vehicle add-ons - driver assistance technology, navigation and in-car entertainment hardware - and has its units in space through a partnership with NASA.

The new HQ is meant to signify the company's new aggressiveness - and free up some desks in the old office, which Huang wrote is getting a little tight now that the company has grown to 8,000 employees across more than 40 sites.

In a mock-up provided by Gensler, the new office looks like something out of one of the many science-fiction games Nvidia chips have powered over the years. Featuring two large triangular heaps of glass and what looks like a sprawling hedge-filled perimeter, the new design looks flashy enough to represent the company's confidence. An even cooler reason behind the three-sided geometry: the triangle represents the fundamental building block of computer graphics.