Google Shorebird Campus – Mountain View

  • Client Google,
  • size 90,000 sqft
  • Year 2018
  • Location Mountain View, California, United States,
  • Industry Technology,
  • Studio Sarah Willmer, Architecture were tasked to design the offices for the engineering employees of Google located in Mountain View, California.

    To transform a collection of tilt-up concrete buildings on its Mountain View campus, Google invited Studio Sarah Willmer Architecture in partnership with Sidell Pakravan Architects, to design a 90,000 SF refresh. The updated buildings respond to the context of the Shorebird Campus and create a distinct and welcoming identity for a group of engineers.

    From maximizing workstation count to including conference rooms, lounges, and labs, the opportunity for architectural intervention was limited. The trio of existing buildings were dark and disorganized. To solve these needs, the architects responded with a bold formal strategy, dubbed the Linking Path and Caterpillar. Clad in a luminous fabric, the Caterpillar is a 350 foot long occupiable volume. Its strong physical presence stretches across all 3 buildings, linking the complex program and acting as a way finding device.

    The Caterpillar stands out from all adjacent spaces. More than a passageway, this multifunctional element organizes spaces, creating nodes of interaction for team members and mediating noise between conference rooms and workstations.

    The caterpillar, made from translucent white fabric stretched across a custom metal frame, acts as a thickened threshold between the creative chaos of Google desks and conference rooms, lounge spaces, and kitchens. As a counterpoint to the open workstations, it produces a sense of calm. Moving along the caterpillar is a spatial and sensory contrast from the intensity of workspace. While the typical glass walls of conference rooms are familiar, the highly tuned lighting and soft fabric surface paired with the reflective glass is an unexpected delight.

    The caterpillar is a dynamic element that winds its way through all three campus buildings and defines circulation in each. Its undulating form features an integrated programmable LED lighting system that changes throughout the day—from a soft white for early morning workers, to a blue glow during the day, and sunset orange to denote lunch, events, or when it’s time to catch the Google bus.

    Lounge areas are designed for a residential feel, with area rugs, throw pillows, and a variety of lighting types. Staff kitchens are strategically located along the linking path to help foster unexpected interaction. Green walls and skylights at break rooms incorporate Google’s intention to integrate biophilia into the workplace.

    Each building has a specific color palette – spring green, sky blue, or sunset blue – to celebrates the California climate. Biophilic elements such as plants and the linking path nod to the natural beauty of the larger site. Simple fenestration opens the workspace into the garden, with planter storage units used to coalesce work teams into distinct groups.

    Campus identity is emphasized through bold experiential graphics created by Space Agency. A subtly abstracted tree-ring pattern representing the redwoods on site is a wayfinding device. Beginning on the linking path outside the buildings, the graphic travels inside on the floors, and continues up onto walls.

    Design: Studio Sarah Willmer, Architecture
    Design Team: Sarah Willmer, Britta Tuschhoff, Kelley Coelho, Trenton Jewett, Jacqueline Huey Yean Wong
    Associate Architect: Sidell Pakravan Architects – Kristen Sidell, Rudy Pakravan
    Structural: Pivot Structural Engineers – Alex Rood
    Lighting Design: Melinda Morrison Lighting and Illuminosa
    Graphic Design: SpaceAgency – Sarah Manning
    Acoustics: Charles M. Salter Associates – Eric  Yee
    Photography: Bruce Damonte, Marco Zecchin