Google has revealed an epic plan that involves redesigning much of its Mountain View campus to look like glass canopies.
The New York Times first reported that Google was getting ready to submit a proposal for a new campus in the city where it has offices, and thanks to a report from Silicon Valley Business Journal, as well as an announcement from Google, we we're now getting a first look.
The entire thing is mind blowing. We can't help but also think that the new campus seems very modular - sort of like the Project Ara program, in which you can actually build a mobile device from component modules and then swap them out whenever you feel like it. For real.
What's so epic about it?
Just look at the pictures! Google isn't just adding a new building to its series of buildings that already make up its Mountain View headquarters. It's working with Danish architect Bjarke Ingels from the Bjarke Ingels Group and Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio to build something totally new and, of course, high-tech. The new campus is expected to be a group of "canopies".
The canopies will be city block-sized, glass greenhouse-style buildings. Heatherwick told the Silicon Valley Business Journal that the canopies were akin to "a piece of glass fabric, and draping it across some tent poles." The canopies will also utilise a "high-tech shading system" in order to prevent the buildings from heating up like a greenhouse. But that's not even the most outrageous aspect...
The canopies will feature basic building components (such as floors, ceilings, and walls) that small cranes and robots can reconfigure in a matter of hours. In other words: Google's new campus will be composed of shape-shifting, glass canopies. David Radcliffe, Google's vice president of real estate, even told Silicon Valley Business Journal that there will be some components you can actually "take out and put in".
This is how Google explained it in a blog post: "Instead of constructing immoveable concrete buildings, we’ll create lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily as we invest in new product areas. (Our self-driving car team, for example, has very different needs when it comes to office space from our Search engineers.) Large translucent canopies will cover each site, controlling the climate inside".
Also, instead of building in a new area of Mountain View, Google will use four existing sites with buildings and increase the square footage to a total of 3.4 million square feet. Don't get too excited, though. Google has admitted that the technology necessary for its new campus isn't quite ready. It therefore expects to include some permanent structures in the campus, such as stairwells and restrooms core.
Where are the parking lots?
Google published a video to introduce the new campus and emphasise that it wants to significantly improve the area. The company hopes to replace parkings lots with more green and trees, for instance. It'll even forge paths for walking and biking around, something both Google employees and non-employees can take advantage of and enjoy. In order to accomplish such a feat, Google will make underground parking.
When will the campus be ready?
Google said the first of four areas of the campus being redesigned won't be done until the first quarter of 2020.
Keep in mind that Google needs approval before it can start construction, and it's competing with other tech companies, such as LinkedIn, for limited development rights in Mountain View.
Are other tech companies making epic campuses?
Yup. Facebook is working with Frank Gehry (whose work includes the Walt Disney Concert Hall) to build a new part of its Menlo Park campus.
Apple has also been constructing a massive "spaceship" campus in Cupertino. It's entirely powered by renewable energy sources.
Want to know more?
Check out Google's blog post for more details about its campus proposal.