Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bayview: Letting the Data Drive Design

“We started not with an architectural vision but with a vision of the work experience and so we designed this from the inside out.” -David Radcliffe

Location: Mountainview, CA
Architects: NBBJ
Estimated Date of Completion: 2015
Current Estimated Cost: Not Disclosed
PartiAngled Interactions


Google's new complex (or aptly smashed: Googleplex) is a series of 9 four-story buildings, mingling across 42 Acres, each connected by either rooftops or a series bridges. It is the very first building they have ever constructed from scratch; as opposed to the "hermit crab" method of buying property and shaping it to suit their needs.

Designed by Seattle based firm NBBJ as a habitat to foster organic innovation, through spontaneous encounters.   Built into the landscape, the structure takes advantage of natural views, elevation changes, and surrounding flora to create its harmonious flow. The idea being, that at any given time "No employee is more than a 2 and a half minute walk from each other."  How that is possible on a 1.1million square foot facility is beyond me, though Google spent plenty of time and resources doing what they do best: Studying the Data of their employees daily movements, habits, and encounters- to design a truly unique Architectural Experience.

The Sustainable Influence:

A series of roof gardens will not only bring down the HVAC cost of the structure, but provides a track for jogging and biking, rooftop yoga, camping and many other events. Not to mention the fact that it opens up some space for nature, (meaning simply the possibility of plant growth)which is usually denied by the building's footprint.  The car park is "hidden away" relieving the biggest eyesore of any office building- as well as minimizing the ecological terror that is The Heat Island Effect. The project is also set to be the largest office complex completely equipped with radiant heating. On top of all that, the [Architectural] Firm is Sustainable-minded so the expectation of ecofriendly and efficient materials & methods is reasonable.

What remains to be seen:

Since the majority of the details were released to Vanity Fair for their exclusive, the specifics on which materials, total project cost, and the estimated employee count has not been accounted for. Meaning at any point in time the Architects (or Google Executives) could give new figures, change their existing ones, or reveal previously unmentioned aspects to the project.   On top of that, the entire layout hinges on the efficiency of movement and creation- which will only be proven in practice.

“You can’t schedule innovation,” he said. “We want to create opportunities for people to have ideas and be able to turn to others right there and say, ‘What do you think of this?’”
-David Radcliffe

This is where I need to insert my Authorial control.  I am really looking forward to seeing, reading and hearing more about this project. I wish I could have given it the amount of depth that I was able to for the *Spaceship HQ* yet with the scarcity of official statements or drawings we can only speculate for now.  I look forward to updating this eventually with more innovations from the good people at Google.

Compare this to:  "Spaceship HQ: No Thrown Phones in Glass Houses"
Return to: "Building a Better Battlefield: A look at two tech titans' shift into Architecture"

For a more detailed, navigatable rendering check out Quartz's High definition image.


Vanity Fair
LA Times
2011 Mountainview City Council Memorandum - details for the build-nerds. (Thank you OfficeSnapshots for your dedicated internet scouring!)

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