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.

Google Bay View Campus from above, designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studio

‘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.

Roof of Google Bay View Campus

‘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 of Google Bay View Campus

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. §

Roof of Google campus in Silicon Valley
Interior of Google Bay View Campus