Axis Mundi

Axis Mundi

New York, NY


Lockheed Martin X Lab (Advanced Technology Center) Palo Alto, California

We are defined not by the technologies we create, but the process in which we create them
- Kelly Johnson, Founder of Skunk Works

No mission is impossible. The X Lab is a stealth research facility for Lockheed Martin Skunk Works. Their charter is to create game-changing foundational technologies that inspire, protect and connect our world. Founded in Palo Alto, California in 1956, Lockheed Martin helped seed what would become Silicon Valley. They continue to evolve and lead the way in new realms, like lasers, nano-materials and informatics.

Set on a lush campus like setting of 25 acres, the buildings oddly shaped design resembles the wings of air planes and the faceted skins of newly developing jet fighters. The building looks like it’s going to take off at any moment. It is referred to as “the stegosaurus” by insiders, because if it’s spiky exterior. The main circulation spine is a zigzagging atrium that meanders through and connects all of the various work spaces, lecture halls, classrooms, and research labs in a non-hierarchical way, thus encouraging the exchange of ideas between the various working teams. The entire roof is clad in octagonal shaped photovoltaic tiles that were specially designed for the building.

Architect: John Beckmann, with Luna Huang and Hannah LaSota
Visualization: 3DS
Total Area: 270,000 sf. Major Materials: Steel and concrete structure, and glass.
© Axis Mundi Design LLC

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Status: Unbuilt
Location: Palo Alto, California
Firm Role: Architecture