In its offices throughout the world, Google's 35,000+ employees all work in buildings that were remodeled to suit the company's needs. Thus, observers have long wondered what the trendsetting company would build for itself, when given the chance. After two years of false starts, Paul Goldberger reports that Google has partnered with the Seattle-based firm NBBJ, to produce the vision for a new Googleplex "that looks, at first glance, like an updated version of one of the many suburban office parks that Google has made a practice of taking over and re-doing for its own needs."
With many of its tech brethren choosing to situate their offices in urban environments, the suburban nature of the visionary company's headquarters may disappoint some. But according to Goldberger, "[t]he more you look at the complex,...the more intriguing it is." The campus is composed of nine four-story bent rectangles, several with green roofs, that form multiple courtyards. "And cars, the bane of almost every suburban office complex, including the Googleplex, are hidden away."
For Goldberger, the most intriguing aspect of the project is the process and analysis that led to the design. "The layout of bent rectangles, then, emerged out of the company’s insistence on a floor plan that would maximize what [David Radcliffe, a civil engineer who oversees the company’s real estate] called 'casual collisions of the work force.' No employee in the 1.1-million-square-foot complex will be more than a two-and-a-half-minute walk from any other, according to Radcliffe."
“We started not with an architectural vision but with a vision of the work experience,” Radcliffe said. “And so we designed this from the inside out.”
For a zoomable view of the design, check out this post on Quartz.