7. IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
The Thomas J. Watson Research Center serves as the headquarters for IBM Research and is located in Yorktown Heights, Westchester. The headquarters is named for Thomas J. Watson, Sr. and Thomas Watson, Jr., who led IBM respectively as president and CEO. The headquarters was originally founded as the Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory at Columbia University, but operations were moved to the Saarinen-designed structure beginning in 1961.
The Yorktown Heights facility is a large crescent-shaped structure consisting of three levels with 40 aisles each, which radiate out from the center of the crescent. The building houses a library, an auditorium and a cafeteria, and a large overhang protrudes from the front entryway of the building facing the visitor parking lot. Along with facilities in Albany, Cambridge, and Hawthorne, the Thomas J. Watson Research Center houses three TOP500 supercomputers as well as Watson, an artificial intelligence system capable of answering natural language questions and the Sequoia Blue Gene/Q supercomputer. Notable staff at the facility include mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot, 1990 Economics Nobel Prize winner Harry Markowitz, and Zvi Galil, President of Tel Aviv University. The building is the ultimate example of modernism as a cause, says architectural critic and Saarinen biographer Jayne Merkel. Read more about this building here.
Also nearby New York City is the Bell Labs Holmdel Complex (above), one of the last works designed by Eero Saarinen and completed in 1962. The unique oval-shaped development is listed on the National Register for Historic Places. It’s no longer used by Bell Labs and has been converted into a tech startup hub.
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