Google is opening a futuristic campus in Mountain View where 4,000 people will work

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google opened its Bay View canopy campus at NASA Ames in Mountain View this week, saying 4,000 people will work in the futuristic green complex powered by solar panels that look like dragon scales.

The development of three buildings, as well as Google’s Charleston East project in Mountain View which is expected to open in 2023, represents a change for the tech titan.

“This is the first time we’ve developed one of our own major campuses,” said David Radcliffe, vice president of real estate and workplace services. “The process gave us the chance to rethink the very idea of ​​an office.”

The result is an eye-catching campus that sprouted from the grounds of NASA’s Ames Research Center, a group of buildings that are poised to provide new ways for people to work and employees to interact in a disrupted world. by the start of the coronavirus.

Google began building the complex in 2017, a few years before the coronavirus hit in 2020, kicking off a pandemic that has dramatically changed attitudes towards in-person office work — as well as the very nature of the design and operation of these offices.

With vaccines available and fears over the deadly virus beginning to ebb, tech titans such as Google have gradually brought workers back to the office. Companies tout the value of face-to-face collaborations.

The new campus totals 1.1 million square feet, consisting of two large office buildings, a 1,000-person events center and a four-building accommodation complex with 220 rooms that will accommodate stays of short term for employees.

Mountain View-based Google says it designed the campus – which was designed in collaboration with world-renowned architects Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio – with the needs and wants of employees first and foremost.

“For those coming into the office, it was designed to balance Googlers’ desire to come together in teams with the need for an environment that allows for deep work,” Google said.

The interiors of the buildings feature a combination of large open spaces with 30 courtyards or atriums, as well as small rooms where people can split into individual workspaces.

“Team spaces are on the top level and huddle spaces are below, separating focus and collaboration areas while providing easy access to both,” Google said in an email to this news agency. .

The second floor design features variations in the floor plates to give teams a designated “neighborhood” area that is very flexible to change with their needs, according to Google.

The interiors include large sections in the upper levels which allow abundant natural light inside the buildings.

“We want people to have daylight but not too much direct glare from the sun,” said Michelle Kaufmann, director of real estate and workplace services, research and development.

The campus will use solar panels reminiscent of the scales of a dragon on its canopied roof in harmony with geothermal piles under the office complex to create an energy arrangement that can cool the vast structure in hot weather and heat it in cold weather.

“This is the largest geothermal energy pile system in North America,” said Asim Tahir, director of property and workplace services, energy and carbon.

Around 50,000 dragon-scale solar panels have been installed outside the building.

Local residents will also be able to benefit from the new Bay View campus in multiple ways. Among them: public access to expanded trails with scenic bay views, improved bike connections with Stevens Creek and Bay Trails, and widened car-only lanes and new bike paths with the widening of RT Jones Road.

The campus includes 17.3 acres of high-value natural areas, including wet meadows, woodlands and marshes, which contribute to Google’s broader efforts to restore missing critical habitats in the Bay Area.

The complex also creates a workspace that fits into the new post-pandemic world of work.

The upper floor is divided into smaller quarters separated by courtyards and connected by ramps that gradually rise as people move towards the center of the building.

This variation in floor plates gives teams a designated area that changes with their needs. But the design also allows people to stay close to their wider work community.

“The result is a building where you can feel connected to people, whether they’re in your largest 2,000-person organization, your 50-person team, or your immediate 10-person task force,” Radcliffe said in a statement. Campus blog post.

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