Google is planning to build their new headquarters at Charleston East, a site located just opposite to their current headquarters, the Googleplex in Mountain View, California. Danish architect firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and English architect firm Heatherwick Studio have designed the proposed new headquarters, which comprises a network of flexible buildings and spaces sheltered beneath transparent canopies.
In an official blog post, Google says, “The idea is simple. Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we will create lightweight block-like structures, which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas. 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”.
Led by architect Bjarke Ingels, BIG is known for its unconventional approaches, which have been called ‘architectural alchemy’. Famous for mixing different types of buildings, Bjarke Ingels and this team previously designed a sloping apartment complex on top of a parking garage to combining urban living with everyday life and practicality. Heatherwick Studio, led by designer Thomas Heatherwick, is famous for its attention to human scale. One of the studio’s latest design proposals is an urban garden located on a bridge across the Thames in London.
“Silicon Valley has been an engine of innovation propelling technological evolution and global economy. So far, the majority of these vast intellectual and economical resources has been confined to the digital realm. Google’s new headquarters expands this innovative spirit into the physical realm. Together with Heatherwick Studio and Google, we have set out to imagine the work environments for future Googlers to be as adaptable, flexible and intelligent as the rest of Google’s wide-spanning portfolio rather than as an insular corporate headquarters. Google’s California HQ will be a vibrant new Mountain View neighbourhood”, says Ingels.
In addition to creating flexible building complexes that will house Google’s offices, the new design proposal also includes a master plan for the area surrounding the offices. The transparent canopies will allow both the public and employees to move through them. According to David Radcliffe, Google’s Vice President of Real Estate, the company wants to make sure it creates a community in which bike riders and pedestrians do not need to worry about cars.