BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site

| 11 comments

BIG and Heatherwick Studio have revealed their latest plans for Google's California campus, after being forced to modify their ambitious design to fit a significantly smaller site.

BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site

Submitted to the city planning department last month, the latest Mountain View proposal shows a highly compacted version of the original design, featuring a more regimented grid layout.

BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site

Instead of the original village-inspired arrangement, where different areas were grouped into clusters, the two firms have now proposed a big square campus made up of rectilinear modules described as pavilions.

BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site

The large translucent canopy proposed to shelter the buildings in the original design is still present, but looks more like a tent than the bubble dome previously shown.

BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site

There is also a scaled-down version of the "green loop" – a pedestrian pathway designed to snake through the building, creating a network of indoor/outdoor spaces lined with shops and cafes.

BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site

Danish firm BIG and London-based Heatherwick Studio unveiled their ambitious plans for Google's first-ever office complex built from scratch in February 2015 – a sprawling campus that the team claimed would be built by robots.

In an exclusive interview with Dezeen, BIG founder Bjarke Ingels said the project would set a new industry standard for workplace design and help define "Google 2.0".

BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site

But the project faced a hurdle just three months later, when city councillors gave social network LinkedIn the majority of the land required to build it.

Google then revealed that it had a backup option – the tech giant already had planning permission to build office and commercial space on another site near Charleston Park.

BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site

The plans for the Charleston East site make no mention of the robot-crane hybrids, or "crabots", being used for construction. But the project still features a vast office space where office furniture and partitions can be moved around at will.

BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site

"Our goal is to create a highly flexible workplace that can not only adapt to Google's evolving business needs but can also become a destination for the local community," reads the East Charleston proposal submitted to the local planning authority.

Supported by "delicate-looking tent poles", the large canopy overhead will regulate indoor climate, air quality and sound. It will also feature "smile-shaped clerestories".

google-heatherwick-big-sq
BIG and Heatherwick originally unveiled a "vibrant new neighbourhood" for Google's California HQ in early 2015

Ingels and Heatherwick are both in their 40s and could still be considered upstarts in the industry – although both have an impressive portfolio.

Heatherwick's projects include the proposed Garden Bridge for London and the cauldron for the 2012 Olympic Games, while BIG has designed a combined power plant and ski slope, and the underground Danish Maritime Museum.

BIG and Heatherwick rework Google HQ design for smaller Mountain View site
Proposed layout diagram
  • Qui-Gon Gin

    “This one time, at Google summer camp….” There are interesting design ideas out there. Apple will get a badass futuristic workplace while Google gets a giant tent. Call it, LORD FOSTERS REVENGE.

  • G

    Make it transparent! It will be so dark in there. :(

  • Davide

    They still seem to be uncomfortable with these tensile forms and it doesn’t look quite right. Like Frei Otto on the cheap…

    • Z-dog

      Frei Otto and other people such as Heinz Isler were huge proponents of design through model making. I think it is quite clear from this scheme (so far!) that there is a lot of computer work and ‘architectural design’ without a functioning knowledge of tensile structures.

      That said, the end result could be beautiful as the reality would have the imperfections and warp/weft lines that are not evident here.

  • Dbz123

    Something got lost in the redesign.

  • Calvin

    Looks like a giant refugee camp.

  • Dear Dezeen, in your rework project articles, can you integrate some before images/designs as well? Would be great for quick comparing and analysing!

    • Hi Mirquis, thanks for your suggestion. In this case, we do have one image in the story showing the original design, and if you click this you will see more pictures. Hope this helps. Amy/Dezeen

  • Kernowfornia

    Do people actually do any work here?!

    • bee No.001

      Certainly. They’re highly motivated by sheer morphology of the campus, by “smile-shaped clerestories” inclusively.

  • bee No.001

    Whoever could coerce that supremely visionary (scheme contains unique “smile-shaped clerestories” etc.) yet unstoppable joined team, to reduce prior expanse?