Google has released renders and preliminary information regarding its planned new headquarters in Mountain View, California. Finer details are unavailable at this stage, but the firm has commissioned top-tier architects Bjarke Ingels (of BIG) and Thomas Heatherwick to handle the design, and what information we do have points toward a sustainable, flexible, and future-proof headquarters for the company.
In contrast with the forbidding closed loop design of Apple's sustainable Cupertino campus by Norman Foster, Google's new digs appear more fragmented, open, and accessible.
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"We're really making sure that we make spaces very open and accessible, so it's not just for Googlers but for anyone in the area to come by," says David Radcliffe, the firm's Vice President of Real Estate.
Intended for the North Bay Shore area of Mountain View, the renders evoke more of a futuristic college campus feel than that of a secretive technology center, and it comprises a number of buildings with large transparent roofs that allow plenty of natural light. The renders also show a mash-up of both Ingels' and Heatherwick's style in places (such as the above image, for example), and it will be interesting to see if the end result will be a clash of egos or that of two "starchitects" complimenting each other's strengths.
The proposal features bike paths, lakes, and greenery, and cyclists are offered shelter from the rain in some areas with large solar canopies. Google says a significant portion of the HQ's energy needs will be met sustainably, but we've no word on how much yet, nor of any other sustainable tech in the works. Car parks are hidden from sight underground, and the renders show a focus on landscaping in a concerted effort to offer visitors and staff a greater connection with nature.
Another potentially interesting but vague nugget of information revealed is that the headquarters will apparently be flexible and future-proof. "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," added Radcliffe.
From this, we could infer anything from a novel system of movable buildings to simply easily-dismantled prefabs that can be extended when required. Time will tell.
The video below features Radcliffe and both architects talking a little about the design.