Aerial view of Google Bay View campus.
Google Bay View campus. Image: Iwan Baan

Google offers first look at newly opened Bay View campus in California

17 May 2022

The tech giant’s first custom-designed campus has just opened to Googlers in California, with a focus on flexibility.

The first purpose-built campus developed by Google has officially opened to workers. The 102,000 sq m Bay View campus is located at Mountain View in Santa Clara County, California, near its existing HQ.

Bay View is one of a pair of new developments in California by Google. The tech giant’s other campus in the area, Charleston East, is due to be completed next year.

Both buildings were designed by London-based Heatherwick Studio and Bjarke Ingels Group. This design team is also working on a UK project, Google’s £1bn base at King’s Cross in London, which is expected to be completed late next year.

In a blogpost published today (17 May), Google’s VP for real estate and workplace services, David Radcliffe, shared images of Bay View and Charleston East and details of how they were designed.

Bay View is an all-electric, net water positive campus with one of the largest geothermal installations in North America. Its ventilation system uses 100pc outside air and it incorporates greenery and natural light design elements to make workers feel as though they are in a natural environment.

“The design of both projects began with a deep dive into what powers Google: our people. We then designed out from there, prioritising the experience of the people in the building over the exterior form,” Radcliffe explained.

He added that the design process involved consultations with Googlers “about what they need from a workplace”, during which a decision was reached to design a building with a mixture of collaborative spaces for teamwork and quiet, sound-proof areas for getting “deep-focus work” done.

Eliot Postma of Heatherwick Studio, who was the group leader overseeing the Google campus, told Architects’ Journal that the project had a number of false starts and it was sometimes difficult as his team was based in the UK.

Postma explained that in building the campus, the design team was going for a structure “almost like a town underneath a sky”. The designers organised the buildings around courtyards to create a distinct set of communities within the buildings.

“There’s a really varied mix of types of work environment, depending on your particular neurodiversity, or depending on the time of day, or depending on the task at hand. There’s the flexibility of the space to be able to find that moment in the building that really works for you,” Postma added.

As many companies look towards a hybrid work future, Google employees in the San Francisco Bay Area and other locations in the US began to return to workplaces from the start of April.

Under the company’s hybrid model, most staff will be physically present in offices at least three days a week. However, workers can choose to come into the office more than that if they wish and they could also be required to come in more often by their managers depending on the nature of their work.

Radcliffe noted that the Bay View campus was designed to “evolve as the way we work changes”.

“With a distributed workforce, an office needs to create harmony between those who are in the office and those who are elsewhere,” he said. “The flexible nature of the focus and collaboration spaces at Bay View is just one way to accommodate these changes.”

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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