Presumably not wanting to be outdone by Facebook and its Frank Gehry–designed digs or Apple and its Norman Foster–designed doughnut, Google has tapped two architectural big hitters for its new Mountain View, California headquarters. According to the New York Times, the company is expected to announce that the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Heatherwick Studio are behind the yet-to-be-seen design, which given the two firms' portfolios, should be pretty dramatic. But all we know at this point is that the headquarters will be comprised of "a series of canopylike buildings." No matter what the building—or buildings—looks like, it will likely get some pushback from the community which feels that Google is overextending its footprint in Mountain View. "When Google moved here in 1999," wrote the Times, "it had a dozen employees and a search engine known only to computer aficionados. Now, its 20,000 local employees make it the biggest employer in a city that is bursting at the seams." Two of the most pressing issues that Google and the city will have to hash out moving forward are housing and traffic.
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It’s such a shame that we live in areas so full of secrecy. Why won’t Hollywood stars in Los Angeles or tech moguls in San Francisco let architects spread the word about their million dollar houses? Sure we hear dribs and drabs. For instance that Sergei Brin and a major executive at Yahoo! have both commissioned San Francisco architect Olle Lundberg to design their new abodes. But these tidbits are far too infrequent. So we at Eavesdrop are making a plea for you to share gossip on who is designing for the most famous people you can think of. We promise, we won’t divulge our sources. And we won’t partner with Us Weekly. Probably. And speaking of secrets, we hear that there’s a secret service facility a few floors above the new offices of Gensler at City National Plaza. How did we find out? They were protecting Vice President Joe Biden when he came to town… And Renzo Piano seemed to divulge his own secret feelings about his Academy Museum in Los Angeles to the LA Times recently: “I don’t think it will be that bad… Actually, I’m struggling to do something good.” Faint praise for himself, don’t you think?
The rumors are true: Google is building that barge docked at Treasure Island on the San Francisco Bay. Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle uncovered documents submitted to the city by By and Large, a company connected to Google, that revealed plans for a "studio and tech exhibit space." The 250-foot-long and 50-foot-tall structure is being built from welded recycled shipping containers, with the design led by two coastal firms, Gensler in San Francisco and LOT-EK in New York. The project will include over a dozen sails resembling fish fins, to help provide shade and shelter, and come foul weather, the ability to be lowered. The barge will make the rounds throughout San Francisco, stopping at several docks (each for a month), including Fort Mason, Piers 30-32, and Angel Island, among others. It will eventually make its way down to San Diego and other port cities along the west coast. The exhibit is expected to receive up to 1,000 visitors a day. Three additional barges in the works. Read more about Google's plans here.
Israeli-American architect Eli Attia claims Google stole his life’s work—a visionary design and construction software that the company estimates could generate $120 billion annually. The technology, Google claims, has the potential to cut construction costs and the time from design to completion by 30 percent. "By stealing and bastardizing my technology,” Attie told Israli business daily Globes, “Google has deprived humanity of what it urgently needs. And, in the process, has careless and callously wasted three years of my life.” (Image: Courtesy Google)
London-based Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM) has applied for planning permission to build a 67-acre headquarters for Google in London’s King’s Cross, a swiftly evolving district. The firm’s designs incorporate a steel-framed structure with cross-laminated timber panels complemented by bold primary colored exposed steel elements. The plan integrates a rooftop garden along with shops, cafes, and restaurants on the ground level. Construction is set to begin early next year. The new £650 million command center will unite Google’s London operations by replacing its existing offices in Covent Garden and Victoria. The one million square foot structure will stretch 330 meters from Regent’s Canal towards King’s Cross Station. The building varies in height from seven stories at the south and 11 stories to the north. The new headquarters will consist of 725,000 square feet of office space and approximately 50,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Taking inspiration from the area’s distinctive industrial heritage, the building will feature innovative technologies that will provide a sophisticated setting for Google’s staff, according to Simon Allford, Director of AHMM, in a statement. Google’s planned London headquarters has been designed to satisfy high environmental sustainability standards. Ensuring minimal energy consumption and integrating high-tech materials, the goal is to attain BREEAM Outstanding and LEED Platinum ratings and an overall carbon savings of 40%. The building is expected to be complete in 2017. [Via Dezeen.]
Last week we reported on Gensler's planned triangular Nvidia headquarters in Santa Clara, the latest addition to the architectural arms race that is Silicon Valley. (We're seeing zoomy new headquarters for Apple, Samsung, HP, Nvidia, etc, etc.) Now there's yet another. Google's new project adjacent to its "Googleplex" in Mountain View, has unveiled their new designs by NBBJ. The new campus, which is being called Bay View, is comprised of nine crimped, predominantly-four-story buildings. Each building will be connected by a bridge; a connectivity that has become a staple of NBBJ's office work around the world, including its new headquarters for Samsung nearby. The competition to out-campus the competition seems to be heating up. Who's next?
Google’s grand experiment on the Great Plains, dubbed “Silicon Prairie” by some, is to revitalize Kansas City with superfast internet. That network hookup could make KC a hotspot for new businesses, too, according to some entrepreneurs eyeing the new “fiberhoods” where the infrastructure exists. Kansas City may not have aspirations to be the next Silicon Valley, but Google’s investment has invigorated the city’s startup culture. On top of efforts to clean up the region’s vacant land and the highly-anticipated return of KC's streetcar, startups are just one reason that Kansas City will be a city to watch.
Framed:Interfaces, Narratives, and the Convergence of Architectural and Internet Technologies Thursday, January 24 6:00pm-8:00pm AIA New Practices New York 29 Ninth Avenue/Axor NYC Showroom The Living, which sounds like an indie band but is actually one of the 2012 AIA New Practices New York winners, will conclude this year's New Practices conversation series with a bang. The firm has gained recognition for developing futuristic forms through new technologies and prototyping, and for "Framed: Interfaces, Narratives, and the Convergence of Architectural and Internet Technologies" The Living's David Benjamin, who also directs the Living Architecture Lab at Columbia's GSAPP, will sit down with Jonathan Lee, a designer at Google UXI, that company's design think tank. Following what promises to be a lively presentation and conversation, a reception will celebrate the conclusion of the New Practices series. The January 24 event, which is co-hosted by The Architect's Newspaper, will be held at Axor's NYC showroom. Free of charge with AIA CES credits provided. RSVP here.
Kansas City, recently outfitted with superfast internet courtesy of Google, is on the move. And KC taxpayers voted to keep up the momentum this week, authorizing a special taxing district to help fund a downtown streetcar. A transportation development district would cultivate the 2-mile, $101 million route from Union Station to the River Market. The line was shortened by 300 feet after a scramble to make up for $25 million in TIGER grants that the city applied for and was not awarded. Funding for the modified plan came from the Mid-America Regional Council. Now efforts turn to finding an operator. Kansas City will work with the Port Authority to create a Streetcar Authority—a step which has become a hang-up for similar efforts in Detroit. But Wednesday’s vote is a clear signal of public and political support for expanded public transit in the city. KC is also lining up funding for a second phase of streetcar lines, totaling 22 miles of track crisscrossing the city.
Known to architects for the dozens of design showrooms it houses and the annual NeoCon tradeshow it hosts, Chicago's Merchandise Mart may also become a major center for the city's tech industry. Crain's is reporting that Google is planning to lease half a million square feet in the mammoth building, and will add a large roof deck offering city, river, and lake views. The deck will, no doubt, help compensate for the massive floorplates that will leave most employees far from natural light. Google will also bring 3000 jobs--from a Motorola division they acquired--from the suburbs to downtown.
You can’t even, well, Google it yet, but we've picked some meaty news from the grapevine: Google has fired German firm Ingenhoven Architects as the designers of its new headquarters in Mountain View, California. The building, to be located on 18.6 acres next to the current “Googleplex,” off of North Shoreline Boulevard, would measure a maximum of 595,000 square feet and house 2,500 to 3,000 employees, including executives, engineers, and scientists. “We have asked them to build the most green, sustainable building possible,” said Google Spokesman Jordan Newman last year. Newman had no comment about the latest developments. Meanwhile calls to Ingenhoven's office in Santa Clara have not been returned. Construction was supposed to start later this year. But according to our sources, Google has sent out another request to solicit new architects and engineers. Google has already leased the land on the site, known as Charleston East, but according to Randy Tsuda, director of community development at the City of Mountain View, Google has not yet submitted an application for development on the property.
Happy 126th birthday, Mies van der Rohe! Google and San Francisco-based artist Willie Real are already celebrating with today's Google Doodle of Mies' iconic Crown Hall built in 1956 at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where Mies was director of the College of Architecture. The Mies van der Rohe Society spoke with Real about his design and architectural ambitions. Here's a sample:
What was the most important thing to convey about Mies in the doodle, and how was it achieved? Celebrating Mies’ legacy was definitely a challenge. Mies did so many great buildings that are worthy of a doodle but it was pretty evident from the get go that highlighting what many consider his masterpiece was the way to go.Read the full interview here. Or for another take on the famous architect, check out this creative tribute video.