Lean but still green: Scaled-down Google HQ design revealed

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A solar panel array on the roof will produce an estimated 45 percent or more of the required electricity for the campus(Credit: Google)

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Following Google's unveiling of an ambitious campus in Mountain View, California, and its subsequent refusal by city planners, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Heatherwick Studio have now submitted scaled-down plans for the project. The revised proposal features an open design and promises to be flexible and sustainable.

The new plans center around a main building that features a series of cafes and stores on the first floor and a publicly-accessible green loop that will enable Google staff and visitors to mix. The office area will be located in the same building but upstairs on the first floor, and this promises to feature a flexible layout.

Assuming all goes to plan, the building will be topped by a large tent-like canopy. It's not clear yet exactly how this canopy will be supported, but the plans describe a series of tent poles.

Taking into account the project's generous glazing and reflective surfaces, BIG and Heatherwick Studio have put serious thought into how to avoid decimating the local bird population. Key sections will be painted, in addition to coated glass and carefully-arranged greenery.

The project will also be aiming for LEED Platinum (a green building standard), and the plans include a solar panel array on the roof which will produce an estimated 45 percent or more of the required electricity for the HQ. In addition, all rainwater runoff will be collected and reused.

While the HQ will feature 1,200 car parking spaces, the focus is very much on greener modes of transport, such as public transport, walking and cycling. Bike parking spaces are dotted around the area, and paths will link to local public transport hubs.

The landscaping is significant too, and will involve the removal of non-native redwood trees which have been deemed too water intensive, in favor of oak, willow and cottonwood trees.

The new plans have been submitted so fingers crossed this one gets through the planning office unscathed.

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