Google has (finally) been given the go-ahead to build its new canopied campus in Mountain View, California, United States. Construction is due to begin next month and end by late 2019. 

Charleston East is the name of what will become Google’s new 55,277-square-meter (595,000-square-foot) headquarters, the first to be built from scratch for the purpose. This represents an opportunity for the company to create a project of its own, with the collaboration of starchitects Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, who have been responsible for the design.

Located in a 7,3-hectare (18-acre) site in North Bayshore, the complex will include a public park and plaza, walking trails and ground-floor retail.

The search giant first revealed its plans for the campus back in 2015, but the project suffered a significant setback when the City awarded the majority of development rights in that area to LinkedIn instead, as the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. Google was then forced to revise the design and negotiate a land swap with LinkedIn.

Bicycle and walking paths will spread throughout the campus. Render via Heatherwick Studio

Now, the Mountain View City Council has unanimously approved the construction of the campus, which is expected to begin in April and end by late 2019. The approval arrived just two weeks after Apple’s announcement that the new Apple Park complex in Cupertino is ready for employees to begin occupying in April.

Google’s proposal for the main building of the campus is marked by that peculiar canopy roof resembling a huge circus tent. The structure will reportedly be draped with one of the world’s largest solar arrays, producing an estimated 40 percent of the building’s required energy.

An indoor “Green Loop” with art installations and cafés will welcome visitors to walk through the building while taking a peek inside the Google world. Non-googlers will also have access to an 8000-square-foot (2-acre) outdoor plaza for public events such as live music and food markets.

“Green Loop” is an indoor walking path with art installations, cafés and other attractions. Render via Heatherwick Studio

The company will be encouraging its employees — the new HQ will house around 2,700 Google staff members— to embrace the two-wheels.  The complex will include a grid of bicycle and walking paths, and the all best parking spots will be meant for cyclists, meaning that car users will have to walk more just to get to the office door.

Open plaza for public events will be located on the south-east corner of the site. Render via Heatherwick Studio

Google has emphasised that the plans for Charleston East reflect its commitment to creating a building that will benefit the community, the natural environment and their employees.

But the project has been clouded since its revealing in 2015 by the fact that the construction would involve chopping down trees, 200 in total reports the Mountain View Voice. Half of the specimens in question are redwoods, a non-native species, which — according to the local newspaper — the company has already promised to replace with more than 300 oak, sycamore and cottonwood trees (that are species native to the area).

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