With its new HQ, Google is inventing the offices of the future

Around the world, and in Silicon Valley, speculation is rife about what to do next as successive lockdowns have upended work habits. If companies are gradually adapting to the generalization of telework, the new Google campus project offers a glimpse of the workspaces of the future.

Led by the firm of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (Bjarke Ingels Group) and Heatherwick Studio, this HQ, the Bay View campus, should be finalized by 2030 and will be located in the San Francisco Bay, at the Ames Research Center in The NASA. Composed of three buildings spread over nearly 93,000 m2 it was designed as a huge open space entirely powered by carbon-free energies.

Bay View’s energy efficiency is partly due to its gigantic roofs made up of several canopies reminiscent of airport terminals. Some 50,000 solar panels cover them and can produce up to 7 megawatts, or 40% of the building’s electricity needs. In addition to producing its own energy, the roofs make it possible to regulate the temperature inside the building, to reduce heating and air conditioning depending on the weather.

The three new buildings in Bay View will allow Google to realize its ambitions: to become the first major company to operate on carbon-free energy, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by 2030.

Bay View’s structures deviate from the traditional office tower. They are surrounded by 8 hectares of nature and only have two floors. The upper level includes individual offices and conference rooms with views to the outside and allowing natural light to be enjoyed by preventing it from reflecting too much on the screens thanks to skylights (windows included in height) placed between the roof canopies. This floor is connected to the lower level by interior courtyards, housing kitchenettes, cafes and open spaces intended for hosting work meetings.

Although the roof ensures the sustainability of the project, it is above all the foundations of Bay View that ensure its ecological character. The future Google campus will indeed host the largest geothermal system in North America. Intended to heat and cool buildings, it will reduce 50% of campus carbon emissions, but also save nearly 19 million liters of water (otherwise dedicated to cooling fins).

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