Google Bay View Campus by BIG and Heatherwick Studio reimagines workspace

Google has worked with architects BIG and Heatherwick Studio on the new Bay View Campus in Silicon Valley

Exterior view of the Google Bay View Campus, taken from afar. The building is in the distance, and closer to the camera is a lake.
(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

The Google Bay View Campus has opened. Architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Heatherwick Studio have worked with Google’s own design and engineering teams for the new Silicon Valley campus, the first major campus the company has developed itself.

Spanning a vast 42 acres and located next to Nasa’s Ames Research Center, the campus encompasses 1.1 million square feet and is composed of 20 acres of open space, two office buildings, an events space that can hold up to 1,000 people, and short-term accommodation for 240 employees.

Aerial view of the Google Bay View Campus. We see three separate buildings that are surrounded by green lawns with pathways.

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

‘The idea of the “office” has been stuck for a long time,’ says Thomas Heatherwick, founder and design director of Heatherwick Studio. ‘Yes, people have done different aesthetic treatments. But there hasn’t been a fundamental questioning of the workplace at this scale. Our approach has centred on the emotions of individuals and the imaginations of teams and how you create a whole different atmosphere of work.’

This aesthetic takes shape in a building that balances the need for space to work with the opportunity for collaborative communication. A focus on greenery and access to natural daylight and views from every desk aims to increase the wellbeing of employees; clerestory windows ensure desks are in direct light, while automated window shades open and shut throughout the day.

A ventilation system, meanwhile, uses only air from outside, ensuring there is no recycled air, while a thorough vetting of products and materials keeps toxins in the environment to a minimum.

Detailed view of the Google Bay View Campus roof. It's covered with dragonscale solar canopies.

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

‘Our design of the new Google Bay View campus is the result of an incredibly collaborative design process,’ says Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director of BIG. ‘Working with a client as data-driven as Google has led to an architecture where every single decision is informed by hard information and empirical analysis.

‘The result is a campus where the striking dragonscale solar canopies harvest every photon that hits the buildings; the energy piles store and extract heating and cooling from the ground, and even the naturally beautiful floras are in fact hardworking rootzone gardens that filter and clean the water from the buildings. All in all, it’s a campus where front of house and back of house, technology and architecture, and form and function have been fused into a new and striking hybrid.’

Interior view of the integrated geothermal pile system at the Google Bay View Campus. We see two circular objects that are connected via bridge with stairs.

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Sustainability is also a key element of the design, with an integrated geothermal pile system – the largest in North America – intended to reduce carbon emissions by approximately half, while the campus is also fully electric. Practical solutions such as above-ground ponds and wind farms will help realise Bay View’s aims of both fully operating on carbon-free energy and replenishing 120 per cent of the water it consumes by 2030.

The local environment also benefits, with over seven acres of natural land, including woodlands and marsh, helping to reestablish habitat in the area, while the public can enjoy access to trails around the Bay.

People going for a run around the Google Bay View Campus.

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)

Interior view of the Google Bay View Campus. We see working spaces that are set apart by dividers.

(Image credit: Iwan Baan)


Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels. 

With contributions from