Inside Google's new self-developed Bay View campus

The facility, which has two office buildings, an event centre and 240 accommodation units, will be mainly powered by carbon-free energy

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Google opened the doors to its highly sustainable and snazzy new Bay View campus in California, marking the first time it has developed one of its own major campuses.

The project is all-electric, net water positive and, according to Google, is the largest geothermal installation in North America.

Its first-of-its-kind dragonscale solar skin and nearby wind farms will power the campus, providing carbon-free energy 90 per cent of the time. The plan is for the project to rely only on carbon-free energy by 2030.

"It gave us the chance to rethink the very idea of an office," said David Radcliffe, Google vice president, real estate and workplace services, in a blog post.

"After talking to Googlers about what they need from a workplace, 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. So we designed team spaces on the upper level and gathering spaces below to separate focus and collaboration areas — with easy access between both."

The upper floor is broken down into smaller neighbourhoods separated by courtyards and connected via ramps that gradually rise as you move to the centre of the building, he said.

The Bay View campus was designed by architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Heatherwick Studio, along with input from Google's design and engineering teams.

It covers 17 hectares adjacent to open space, has two office buildings, a 1,000-person event centre and 240 short-term employee accommodation units.

A series of above-ground ponds gather rainwater, combine with building wastewater treatment systems and together serve as a water source for cooling the towers, flushing the toilets and landscape irrigation.

The campus incorporates biophilic design principles — such as greenery, natural daylight and outdoor views from every desk — to improve the health and wellbeing of those inside.

"Our goal was to push the limits on what an office building could be — not just for the benefit of Googlers, but for the wider community and industry," Mr Radcliffe said.

Updated: May 20, 2022, 9:22 AM
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