Museum Program Explores Stories Behind Iconic High-Tech Buildings

By August 1, 2023Press Releases

LOS ALTOS, CA (August 1, 2023) As recently as 2013, the Los Angeles Times could dismiss Silicon Valley as “an architectural wasteland.”  Over the past decade, however, this picture changed dramatically as high-tech industry leaders—including Adobe, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Nvidia—hired world-class architects to create iconic buildings that express their values and ideals. To shed light on this renaissance of innovation and design, Los Altos History Museum presents the program “Conversations and Reflections: The Stories Behind the Buildings” on August 17 from 5:30pm to 7pm.


Facilitating the program will be Richard Adler, whose photography is featured in the exhibition “Building the Future: A Visual History of the Architecture of Silicon Valley,” on display at the Museum from August 3 to October 22, 2023. Adler’s inspiration for this project stemmed from a course taught by Professor Barry Katz at Stanford University, titled “The Architecture of Information.” Adler and Katz will share stories of key industry leaders, including Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, and their interactions with the architects who brought their visions to life.


“Many of these high-tech companies began in humble surroundings, like a dorm room or a garage, and they held onto the image of scrappy startups even as they became enormously successful enterprises,” noted Adler. “In designing these buildings, the leaders wanted them to reflect the spirit of their companies, to attract and support talent, to foster collaboration and creativity, and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. More recently, after these iconic buildings were built, the landscape is shifting again as the relationship between work and physical office spaces is being redefined post-COVID. This program will consider the future of these buildings in a world of remote and hybrid work.”


The program will include a wine and refreshments reception. Attendees will receive copies of a new “Guide to Silicon Valley” that includes a map for a self-guided tour of key corporate buildings, historic sites, and tech museums.


About the Speakers

Richard Adler’s extensive experience in researching and consulting on emerging technologies won him an honor as a Distinguished Fellow by the Institute for the Future. His passion for photography spans over 50 years, and his work has won several awards and been displayed in numerous exhibitions, including a collection of the traditional architecture of Kyoto, Japan, exhibited at the San Francisco Zen Center in 2003.


Dr. Barry Katz is an Adjunct Professor in the Design Group, Department of Mechanical Engineering, at Stanford University, and a Professor of Industrial and Interaction Design at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. With an educational background including studies at McGill University, the London School of Economics, and a doctorate from the University of California at Santa Cruz, Dr. Katz is a sought-after consultant on design and innovation worldwide. He has authored eight books, including Make it New: The History of Silicon Valley Design (MIT, 2015), and is currently working on a new book, The Architecture of Information: Structure and Symbol for the Age of Data.


The cost to attend the program is $10 per person, and Museum members can attend for free. For registration and more information, visit


Los Altos History Museum began in 1977 with the opening of the J. Gilbert Smith House historic farmhouse, built in 1905. In 2001, the Los Altos History Museum opened its modern building next door, which houses the Museum’s collections, permanent and changing exhibitsstore and administrative offices. The Museum and its grounds are available for rent during evenings and weekends. Its collections are owned by the City of Los Altos and are managed by an independent nonprofit organization, whose staff and volunteers are responsible for all programs and operations.


The Museum is open Thursday through Sunday, from noon-4pm. Admission is free. Tours of the J. Gilbert Smith House are available during open hours. The outdoor agricultural exhibit, gardens and picnic area are accessible beyond Museum hours. For more information, visit:, email, or phone 650.948.9427 x14.


Los Altos History Museum: Elisabeth I. Ward, 650.948.9427 x10,