Google HQ, Palo Alto
More than 80% of all online searches anywhere in the world today are sent to Google. As a result of the fast growth of the company, the Google Campus in Mountain View (California) is growing rapidly. The current headquarters (googleplex) borders Charleston Park. On the neighbouring site a big new building is being planned for Google. The urban situation demands a building that is autonomous in its geometry. During an international design challenge in 2010, ingenhoven architects proposed a winning scheme for the new building. The request of the client was simple: build the best and most health-promoting building in the world.
The new building, which Google commissioned for the first time, will serve 2,500 - 3,000 engineers and scientists as well as the top management. It aims to be lively, fresh, simple and flexible and offer healthy, communicative and efficient work environments with a “buzz”. The architecture expresses the corporate culture while at the same time serving as a model of sustainable architecture that will surpass the LEED-Platinum-Standard.
The new google campus will be a car-free landscape with exposed amenities that are publicly accessible. A car-free “Google Boulevard”, which is lined with shops, creates a central axis for light rail and bicyclists. The office landscape is a continuous flexible area with a tight circulation system and connections in all directions yet still maintaining clear orientation. The low number of floors facilitates communication. The inner vertical circulation creates visual connections. The building is raised to allow a continuous landscape underneath it and an “active roof“. In order to allow for living and working outside the campus-life can take place outside, when the boundaries between inside and outside get blurred so that people can enjoy the Californian weather in nature.
Only indigenous plants that do not require irrigation will be used forming a fruit alley resembling the orchards that originally shaped the site. ingenhoven architects had developed a masterplan, which included an urban analysis of all the performance areas which today describe the “living building challenge”: site conditions including traffic, climate, soil composition, cultivation perspectives, the conservation and reuse of materials, water and energy. As exemplified by “Californian modernism”, the design seeks harmony with nature, using natural materials and simple technical solutions while maintaining the human scale.