google bay view
Heatherwick Studio & BIG
Andre Kong led the design of the envelope and canopy for Heatherwick Studio. As Google’s first customised office buildings, the design was to physically manifest the company’s distinctive approach to working.
As well as creating offices that would adapt to the fast-moving nature of the technology industry, the project also needed to reflect Google’s philosophy of open collaboration. In contrast to its former home in a typically enclosed and car-centric Silicon Valley business park, Google’s workplace was to be a highly flexible space that could respond swiftly to its changing needs and evolve over time.
Its Bay View campus is a cluster of three buildings organised across a 16ha (40 acre) site that includes an events centre and two workplaces for 5,000 Googlers. Adopting the same logic as Charleston East and inspired by the adaptable nature of air hangars, the primary structure of the buildings is a rigid catenary roof. Draped between columns, the steel roofs form a cluster of canopies spliced by clerestory windows. Each canopy is clad with photovoltaic panels developed specially for the project that are designed to seamlessly integrate with adjoining metal tiles while also generating significant energy to power the campus.
The primary workplace floor is occupied by stepped platforms that are almost like large-scale furniture. Each platform is easily reconfigured to accommodate different team sizes and tasks. As well as creating an optimum environment to invent and engineer ideas, the building is deliberately integrated with its natural setting. Located in an ecologically sensitive area of wetlands, the Bay View campus supports existing waterways with rainwater harvesting. Accessible pedestrian and cycle-friendly pathways thread through the natural environment, creating a campus that is a generous neighbour to both its habitat and community.
Photography: Iwan Baan (1-10) and Bruce Damonte (11-12) for Google