flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

Google unveils dramatic tent-like, modular-focused plan for corporate HQ

Office Buildings

Google unveils dramatic tent-like, modular-focused plan for corporate HQ

The master plan by Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick will wrap highly flexible office blocks in soaring translucent canopies.


By BD+C Staff | March 1, 2015
Google unveils modular-focused plan for corporate HQ in Mountain View

This rendering shows the inside of the proposed Charleston South building looking west. Within the canopy, building segments operate like furniture—light, tactile and reconfigurable. These segments form small villages where employees can work or relax. Renderings courtesy Google, BIG, Thomas Heatherwick

Flexibility. Transparency. Nature. These are the primary qualities of Google's newly released proposal to remake its four existing campuses in Mountain View, Calif. For the first time, the tech giant is designing and building offices from scratch.

The master plan, a collaboration by Bjarke Ingels of BIG and Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio, calls for covering a series of highly-flexible, amenity-rich office blocks with circus-tent-like canopies made of a translucent material (material is still unknown, perhaps a ETFE pillow system).

The scheme moves parking below grade, replacing the current sea of asphalt parking lots with parks, tree-shaded meadows, a bike path (called the Green Loop), community gardens, and a winding creek criss-crossed by pedestrian bridges, according to Fast Company. It also includes a public plaza with retail space.

The strong connection with nature extends inside the buildings, as well. The soaring translucent canopies create expansive atrium spaces complete with lush gardens, running tracks, eating areas, and places of respite. The Green Loop path will weave through urban and natural areas, including the interior spaces.

 

 

Within the canopies, building segments operate like furniture—light, tactile, and reconfigurable, according to Google.

"The idea is simple," said Google's Vice President of Real Estate, David Radcliffe. "Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas. Our self-driving car team, for example, has very different needs when it comes to office space from our Search engineers."

In a blog post titled, "Rethinking office space," Radcliffe offered more details on the project:

Not the sexiest title for a blog post, I know. But as we’ve inhabited a variety of workplaces—including a garage in Menlo Park, a farmhouse in Denmark and an entire New York city block—we’ve learned something about what makes an office space great. And we’re excited to put that into practice, starting here at our home in Mountain View.

Today we’re submitting a plan to redevelop four sites—places where we already have offices but hope to significantly increase our square footage—to the Mountain View City Council. It's the first time we'll design and build offices from scratch and we hope these plans by Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio will lead to a better way of working.

 

 

The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas. (Our self-driving car team, for example, has very different needs when it comes to office space from our Search engineers.) Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside yet letting in light and air. With trees, landscaping, cafes, and bike paths weaving through these structures, we aim to blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.

Of course, this project is about much more than just office space; it’s about doing more with the local community as well. So we’re adding lots of bike paths and retail opportunities, like restaurants, for local businesses. We also hope to bring new life to the unique local environment, from enhancing burrowing owl habitats to widening creek beds. And we’re committed to do everything we can to save energy—our recent agreement to offset our energy consumption in North Bayshore with renewable energy includes the development of this proposal.

We chose Mountain View for our headquarters 15 years ago because we love the beauty of the bay, the close proximity to great universities, the family-friendly environment and the chance to work in a city at the heart of Silicon Valley. Today, we want to create office spaces that don’t just provide a great home for Google, but which also work for the city that has given us so much.

We look forward to working with our neighbors at the City Council on this proposal—and the future of Mountain View’s North Bayshore.

 

Related Stories

Office Buildings | May 20, 2024

10 spaces that are no longer optional to create a great workplace

Amenities are no longer optional. The new role of the office is not only a place to get work done, but to provide a mix of work experiences for employees.

Office Buildings | May 16, 2024

New Gensler report calls for workplace design that responds to employees’ ‘human emotions’

High performing offices are linked to how well they leverage amenities.

Adaptive Reuse | May 9, 2024

Hotels now account for over one-third of adaptive reuse projects

For the first time ever, hotel to apartment conversion projects have overtaken office-to-residential conversions.

Biophilic Design | May 6, 2024

The benefits of biophilic design in the built environment

Biophilic design in the built environment supports the health and wellbeing of individuals, as they spend most of their time indoors.

Retail Centers | May 3, 2024

Outside Las Vegas, two unused office buildings will be turned into an open-air retail development

In Henderson, Nev., a city roughly 15 miles southeast of Las Vegas, 100,000 sf of unused office space will be turned into an open-air retail development called The Cliff. The $30 million adaptive reuse development will convert the site’s two office buildings into a destination for retail stores, chef-driven restaurants, and community entertainment.

Mixed-Use | Apr 23, 2024

A sports entertainment district is approved for downtown Orlando

This $500 million mixed-use development will take up nearly nine blocks.

AEC Innovators | Apr 15, 2024

3 ways the most innovative companies work differently

Gensler’s pre-pandemic workplace research reinforced that great workplace design drives creativity and innovation. Using six performance indicators, we're able to view workers’ perceptions of the quality of innovation, creativity, and leadership in an employee’s organization.

Laboratories | Apr 15, 2024

HGA unveils plans to transform an abandoned rock quarry into a new research and innovation campus

In the coastal town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., an abandoned rock quarry will be transformed into a new research and innovation campus designed by HGA. The campus will reuse and upcycle the granite left onsite. The project for Cell Signaling Technology (CST), a life sciences technology company, will turn an environmentally depleted site into a net-zero laboratory campus, with building electrification and onsite renewables.

Mixed-Use | Apr 4, 2024

Sustainable mixed-use districts: Crafting urban communities

As a part of the revitalization of a Seattle neighborhood, Graphite Design Group designed a sustainable mixed-use community that exemplifies resource conversation, transportation synergies, and long-term flexibility.

Office Buildings | Apr 2, 2024

SOM designs pleated façade for Star River Headquarters for optimal daylighting and views

In Guangzhou, China, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has designed the recently completed Star River Headquarters to minimize embodied carbon, reduce energy consumption, and create a healthy work environment. The 48-story tower is located in the business district on Guangzhou’s Pazhou Island.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category




halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021