The "City of Steel" becomes home to the city of the future

Uber Advanced Technologies Group Center, Pittsburgh, PA

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.

In the renovated 80,000 sf warehouse space, Uber’s engineers envision, design and build a city for the future. Every wire, part, and idea forged within these walls will be an artifact of the future. Unlike a typical technology office, this space is for builders. Every work area has room for toolboxes, carts, and, of course, prototypes. There are studio spaces, designed for teams of six to brainstorm and hash out specific projects over a set period of time.

Housed between the rows of workstations and studios is a fully functional machine shop. Autonomous cars are engineered, built and tested here. After receiving finishing touches, they are driven across white tiles into the main central nave—which acts as a showroom and kind of alter to the autonomous car. Connecting the lobby to the main space is the “Tunnel of 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 advance projects.

Drawing inspiration from the “City of Steel,” the ATG design contrasts and complements the bright white of a showroom by warming the space with colors and materials associated with the industrial era. The worn corten steel frames, glass walkways, and natural grain of local hardwoods all echo the city’s heritage.