Google has officially opened its Bay View campus to employees. The project, more than seven years in the making, represents the first time the tech titan has developed its own major campus but comes at a time when employee sentiment about working in an office is at a record low.
The search giant shared renderings of its futuristic campus in 2015, and the finished product looks a lot like what we initially saw years ago.
Bay View is an all-electric, net water positive facility sporting the largest geothermal installation in North America. Google said it polled employees about what they need from a workplace and used the feedback to help shape its design philosophy.
"We found that they're happy, productive and creative when they come together in teams, but need spaces that are buffered from sound and movement to get deep-focus work done,"
said David Radcliffe, VP of real estate and workplace services at Google.
The upper level of Google's campus is designated as team space, and is separated by smaller "neighborhoods" with courtyards connected via ramps. The lower level is more like a marketplace, complete with cafes and meeting spaces.
Natural light and greenery are also present throughout the facility, and Google even vetted building materials to promote the healthiest environment possible.
The focus on people carried into the careful attention we paid to elements you can see and feel — like materials, daylight, air quality, thermal comfort and acoustics.
Here’s how this shows up throughout the campus:
- The campus incorporates biophilic design principles — like greenery, natural daylight and outdoor views from every desk — to improve the health and wellbeing of those inside. Clerestory windows modulate direct light onto desks with automated window shades that open and close throughout the day.
- The ventilation system uses 100% outside air — a remarkable achievement when you consider that a typical system only uses around 20-30% of outside air.
- To create the healthiest environment possible, we vetted thousands of building products and materials to remove toxins. Everything from carpet tiles, paints, piping, plywood and furniture were evaluated using the Living Building Challenge Red List as a framework.
- Artwork from local artists through Google's Artist In Residence program are a part of the courtyards. The artwork relates to Bay Area ecology and helps with wayfinding in the building.
Bay View is an example of an all-electric campus and shows what’s possible in regenerative building.
- The two kitchens that serve seven cafes are equipped with electric equipment rather than gas — a template for fully carbon-free cafes and kitchens.
- There are 17.3 acres of high-value natural areas — including wet meadows, woodlands and a marsh — that are designed to reestablish native landscapes and rehabilitate Bay Area wetlands. Something that’s especially important as Bay View sits close to the San Francisco Bay.
- The water retention ponds not only collect water for reuse, but also provide nature restoration, sea level rise protection, and access to the beauty of natural wetlands. New willow groves along the stormwater ponds provide resources for wildlife.
- The integrated geothermal pile system will help heat and cool the campus. The massive geoexchange field is integrated into the structural system, reducing the amount of water typically used for cooling by 90% — that’s equal to five million gallons of water annually.
Google's new campus was conceived at a time when the public's perception of work was very different than it is today. It also came about as other tech titans like Apple and Nvidia were working on new headquarters of their own.
According to a recent survey commissioned by Slack, more than half of fully in-person office workers said they would prefer to work flexibly (in terms of location and schedule) at least part of the time.
News Source: TechSpot