MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Google this week opened its Bay View canopy campus at NASA Ames in Mountain View, saying 4,000 people will work at the futuristic green complex powered by solar panels that resemble dragon scales.
The three-building development, along with Google’s Charleston East project in Mountain View that’s set to open in 2023, represents a change for the tech titan.
“This marks the first time we developed one of our own major campuses,” said David Radcliffe, vice president of real estate and workplace services. “The process gave us the chance to rethink the very idea of an office.”
The result is an eye-catching campus that has sprouted on the grounds of the NASA Ames Research Center, a group of buildings that are poised to offer new ways for people to work and employees to interact in a world turned upside down by the onset of the coronavirus.
Google began construction of the complex in 2017, a few years before the coronavirus struck in 2020, launching a pandemic that dramatically altered attitudes about in-person office work — as well as the very nature of how those offices would be designed and operate.
With vaccines available and fears arising from the deadly virus starting to ebb, tech titans such as Google have gradually pulled workers back to the office. The companies tout the value of face-to-face collaborations.
The new campus totals 1.1 million square feet, consisting of two big office buildings, a 1,000-person events center and a four-building lodging complex with 220 rooms that will accommodate short-term stays for employees.
Mountain View-based Google says that it crafted the campus — which was designed in collaboration with world-renowned architects Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio — with the needs and wishes of employees first and foremost.
“For those coming into the office, it was designed to balance Googlers’ desire to come together as teams with the need for an environment that enables deep-focus work,” Google said.
The insides of the buildings feature a combination of wide-open spaces with 30 courtyards or atriums, as well as small rooms where people can break out into individual workspaces.