Adobe World Headquarters

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Adobe World Headquarters
Adobe World Headquarters.jpg
Alternative namesAdobe Systems Headquarters complex
Adobe Systems I, II & III
General information
TypeCommercial offices
Architectural styleModernism
Location151 South Almaden Boulevard
San Jose, California
Coordinates37°19′52″N 121°53′38″W / 37.331°N 121.894°W / 37.331; -121.894Coordinates: 37°19′52″N 121°53′38″W / 37.331°N 121.894°W / 37.331; -121.894
OpeningWest: 1996
East: 1998
Almaden: 2003
OwnerAdobe Systems
RoofWest Tower: 78.9 m (259 ft)
East Tower: 71.9 m (236 ft)
Almaden Tower: 72 m (236 ft)
Technical details
Floor countWest Tower: 18
East Tower: 16
Almaden Tower: 18
Floor area980,953 sq ft (91,133.5 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectHellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum
Structural engineerNishkian Menninger
Main contractorDevcon Construction

The Adobe World Headquarters is an office skyscraper complex in downtown San Jose, California. The towers serve as corporate headquarters for American computer software company Adobe Systems and host the San Jose Semaphore installation.


The complex consists of three towers: West, East and Almaden. The 18-story, 78.9 m (259 ft) West Tower, first built in 1996, was the sixth tallest in the city of San Jose, and has 391,000 sq ft (36,300 m2) of office space. The 16-story, 71.9 m (236 ft) East Tower has 325,000 sq ft (30,200 m2) of office space, and was constructed next to the West Tower in 1998. In 2003, 17-story 72 m (236 ft) Almaden Tower was completed adding 273,000 sq ft (25,400 m2).[6] The buildings are situated atop of a 938,473-square-foot (87,187 m2) enclosed parking garage.[7] Both the West and East towers house Adobe's Research and Development and Sales and Marketing departments, while the Almaden tower houses administration and staff.


The buildings are known for their green design. The West tower is listed as an Energy Star Labeled Building by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.[8] In 2006, all three towers were awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification by the United State Green Building Council for environmental sustainability.[9]

San Jose Semaphore[edit]

Adobe's Almaden Tower is also notable for having the "San Jose Semaphore," an installation consisting of four rotating lights created in 2006 by artist Ben Rubin.[10] The lights rotate every 7.2 seconds according to a code; the pattern was deciphered in 2007 by Mark Snesrud and Bob Mayo, who discovered the final message being Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49.[11][12] The duo published a whitepaper chronicling their process of decoding.[13]

As of 2012, a new riddle was displayed;[14] the new code was deciphered in 2017 by high school teacher Jimmy Waters from Tennessee. He noticed that a particular sequence in the code might represent an audio silence. Running the full sequence through audio software and changing the pitch, he heard Neil Armstrong's One small step for man speech from the 1969 Apollo moon landing.[15]


  1. ^ Adobe World Headquarters at Emporis
  2. ^ "Adobe Systems I". SkyscraperPage.
  3. ^ "Adobe Systems II". SkyscraperPage.
  4. ^ "Adobe Systems III". SkyscraperPage.
  5. ^ Adobe World Headquarters at Structurae
  6. ^ "Adobe Systems Corporate Headquarters" (PDF). Rocky Mountain Institute. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 16, 2010. Retrieved November 6, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Adobe Systems Incorporated Three Platinum Certified Green Buildings" (PDF). Regenerative Ventures. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 26, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "ENERGY STAR Labeled Building Profile: Adobe, West Tower". Retrieved November 6, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Adobe Headquarters Awarded Highest Honors from U.S. Green Building Council" (PDF). Adobe Systems. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 24, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Frank, Priscilla (October 18, 2012). "Can You Crack The Code?". HuffPost.
  11. ^ Singel, Ryan (August 17, 2007). "Sleuths Break Adobe's San Jose Puzzle, Find Pynchon Inside" – via
  12. ^ "Adobe semaphore code cracked by Tennessee high school teacher". March 13, 2017.
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Semaphore - Project".
  15. ^ Pizarro, Sal (March 13, 2017). "Adobe semaphore code cracked by Tennessee high school teacher". The Mercury News.