Plans revealed for Google’s ‘vibrant new neighbourhood’ unveiled
Google has just revealed plans for its state-of-the-art new headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, released in a video announcement by Vice President, Real Estate and Workplace Services, David Radcliffe. The software giant has been working with Danish practice, BIG, and London-based Heatherwick Studio to design what is intended to be an exceptionally adaptable environment in which nature and buildings co-habit harmoniously within the proposed new North Bayshore campus.
In the video, Radcliffe states: “Today we’re submitting a plan to redevelop four sites….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.”
He goes on to the explain the concept, which involves the creation of lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as Google invests in new product areas, rather than building ‘immoveable concrete buildings’. Each of the four sites will be covered with large translucent canopies – like a huge see-through Big Top – to regulate the climate inside yet allow light and air to flood in.
Within these structures, trees, landscaping, cafés, and cycle paths have been woven through, with the aim of blurring ‘the distinction between our buildings and nature’.
In a statement about the plans, Bjarke Ingles comments: “Together with Heatherwick Studio and Google we have set out to imagine the work environments of future Googlers to be as adaptable, flexible and intelligent as the rest of Google's wide spanning portfolio – rather than an insular corporate headquarters, Google North Bayshore will be a vibrant new neighbourhood of Mountain View.”
The intention is that the expanded campus will provide facilities such as shops and restaurants which will be open to local residents and members of the public as well as Google’s employees. Various environmental additions such as widened creek beds and enhanced owl habitats will also be incorporated.
Thomas Heatherwick adds: “It’s interesting to try and look at how you can really augment or turn the dial up more on that nature, at the same time as looking to protect the land use. Part of our work is to try to find ways to make places that you would go and have a conversation, go for a walk with great pleasure, and choose on a weekend to be [sic]. The desire really is to try to make pieces of environment you can work in, in multiple ways.”
In the video, Radcliffe also explains the choice of Ingles and Heatherwick, who he describes as ‘the two best in class’: “We scoured the world looking for a special architect that could really do something different. The BIG studios, they’re ambitious. They do a lot of very community-focused projects. Thomas, on the other hand, has this attention to human scale and beauty that I haven’t seen in anyone before.”
Heatherwick is obviously pleased with the collaboration too, stating: “Bringing the design team together from Heatherwick Studio and BIG means we’ve developed even more exciting solutions that neither would have arrived at alone, and we look forward to making them a reality.”