Google radically scales back glassy new HQ plans, unveils conventional corporate building ...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2017
Less than two years ago, Google unveiled plans to build a new campus project as a vast open air city replete with greenery, inside of a massive glass greenhouse atrium. Now, the company is forwarding plans to build a basic tent-shaped building.


Current plans for Google Charleston East

Grand Original Plans

The radical reduction in innovation and grandiosity is no doubt related to a new era of cost cutting ushered over the last couple years by its Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat, who has been seeking to get spending under control in response to shrinking profit margins. Other glamorous vanity projects, ranging from Google Glass to robots to Chromebook Pixel to Google Fiber high speed internet have also been curtailed.

The original plans for Google's corporate expansion in Mountain View, California, appeared to be inspired by Apple Park, which was originally detailed in 2011 by Steve Jobs under the working name Apple Campus 2.

Echoing themes introduced by Apple, Google hired star architect Bjarke Ingels of BIG and designer Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio to design open, glassy new offices with flexible floor plans, integrated into a green park-like campus rather than the typical, conventional Silicon Valley office buildings surrounded by vast, dreary expanses of surface parking lots.

The plans unveiled in 2015 depicted a series of massive glass canopies stretched over configurable, modular office structures, echoing a futuristic "Logans Run."





Grand plans for new Google HQ didn't materialize


Ingels described the reconfigurable interior of the structure as being like "giant pieces of furniture that could be connected in different ways," calling to mind the company's Project Ara, a plan to build modular smartphones that were hyped at the company's developer conference last summer but canceled shortly afterward.

More Conventional Reality

Google has now unveiled plans for the approval of a smaller new North Bayshore office expansion, referred to as "Charleston East." Directly east of the company's existing Googleplex campus (which it acquired from Silicon Graphics over a decade ago), the new site will be developed as a more humble two story building.

The new site is directly south of the Shoreline Amphitheater, a large outdoor venue frequently used for music concerts. The company leases parking lots from the venue, and last summer held its Google IO conference at the facility.

The 595,000 square foot Charleston East project has a tent-like roof, but it's now opaque, erasing most of the original "blurring of nature and interior." The site also includes 10,000 sq ft of publicly accessible retail space in a "Green Loop" that cuts through the project. The more conventional building includes 4MW of solar capacity integrated into its roof, which is also designed to collect rainwater.


Not as pretty or innovative, but more cost effective


In comparison, the central "spaceship" building of Apple Park is over 2.8 million square feet. By itself, the separate "Phase 2" research and development complex Apple is building next to it includes more office space than Google's new Charleston East.

Apple Park incorporates 4MW of biogas fuel cells and a 16MW rooftop solar photovoltaic system that together function as the site's own power grid to enable continued operations even in a utility outage.

Apple is also completing a separate campus facility in Austin, Texas, with 1.1 million square feet of office space and its own 1.4 MW rooftop solar installation.

Google's cheaper, smaller and more practical new office plans reflect a reduction in ambitions for the company, which in the past has repeatedly expected to waltz into new businesses and repeat its original success with search engine monetization and paid placement ads.

Original grand plans to kill iPhone, derail iPad, marginalize Apple in mobile hardware with the acquisition of Motorola, create a significant impact in PCs with its ChromeOS platform, invent a new product category with Glass, revolutionize TV, introduce electronic mobile payments, do something interesting with robotics and usher in a new era of driverless cars have all been blindsided by the realities of unanticipated complexity and superior external competition.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 73
    So then, no moonshot campus?
    watto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 2 of 73
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,396member
    I think their rampant overspending is finally catching up with them. Fiscal reality lands at Google.
    damn_its_hotlollivercalilostkiwiawilliams87watto_cobrabrakkencornchipjbdragon
  • Reply 3 of 73
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,416member
    "Google radically scales back glassy new HQ plans..."

    Apparently...too much transparency?
    edited March 2017 SpamSandwichtmaythinkman@chartermi.netiqatedoteejay2012pscooter63Macsplosionlostkiwiawilliams871983
  • Reply 4 of 73
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 943member
    Looks like a tortoise's shell.  And not in a "heroes in a half shell" way, either.
    lolliverwatto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 5 of 73
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 392member
    One would think they would go solar, kinda like the Apple Park, but I guess, Apple as always is several steps ahead.
    lolliverminicoffeecaliawilliams87watto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 6 of 73
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,396member
    JinTech said:
    One would think they would go solar, kinda like the Apple Park, but I guess, Apple as always is several steps ahead.
    Their building will be powered by second-hand magic.
    lostkiwiwatto_cobrabrakken
  • Reply 7 of 73
    The new building looks fairly interesting and exciting.  It's only compared to that super-provocative earlier vision that it's boring.  So Google shot themselves in the foot by setting the expectations so high.
    Soliclemynxwatto_cobracornchip
  • Reply 8 of 73
    The new building looks fairly interesting and exciting.  It's only compared to that super-provocative earlier vision that it's boring.  So Google shot themselves in the foot by setting the expectations so high.
    They do that weekly.
    wonkothesaneDanielEranStrangeDayscalipscooter63EsquireCatslostkiwiclemynxwatto_cobrabrakken
  • Reply 9 of 73
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,261member
    1. Apple unveils radical new campus concept that's already through years of design and just needs approval from Cupertino to build.
    2. Google later creates radical new campus illustration, but nothing else.
    3. Apple builds what they said they were going to build. Sure there are updated design plans along the way, but that's par for the course as small things get tweaked.
    4. Google finally comes out with actual plans for something much less grandiose than their original mockups.
    History repeats itself.
    edited March 2017 lollivertmayDanielEranStrangeDayspatchythepiratebadmonkcalipscooter63lkruppEsquireCats
  • Reply 10 of 73
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,096member
    So then, no moonshot campus?
    Good. About time that they handle their expenses a bit more wisely. Ruth Porat is doing just what they hired her to do: See that the money they spend produces adequate benefits. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 11 of 73
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,699member
    Funny... had Apple even whispered plans to cut back the spaceship campus based on costs, the haters and wall-street hoodlums would take that as an Apple-is-doomed scenario, hence resulting in a crash of AAPL.

    But not Google, Alphabet, or whatever the hell that soup-mix is calling itself.

    Their first-rendition would have been impressive to say the least.  Their revised one looks like a giant pot-tent at BurningMan meant to be filled with hipsters.
    Solidamn_its_hotlolliverStrangeDayspatchythepiratebadmonkcalipscooter63lostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 73
    This is truly based in Steve Jobs' spirit. One Steve's less considered quality is —at least in my opinion— his Zen training and belonging. Zen connects with your inner self, deeply. Steve did not wanted to ‘be green’… he wanted to bring back the orchards trees of his youth at Cupertino. Steve did not wanted to have a ‘great buildind’… he —as he learned from his stepfather— to make things perfect ‘even if you do not see them.’ (At the Notre Damme church in Paris the statues in the top of the roof are made with fully detail… ‘because God is looking them’). Steve has the guts to say no whenever the project was not perfect. This and a lot more situations mark for me the difference. Google lives to the ‘show off’ without any substance. And it appears that always is throwing spagghetis to the wall to see which sticks
    patchythepiratebadmonkpscooter63lostkiwiwatto_cobrapropod
  • Reply 13 of 73
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,261member
    The new building looks fairly interesting and exciting.  It's only compared to that super-provocative earlier vision that it's boring.  So Google shot themselves in the foot by setting the expectations so high.
    We're dealing with vaporware from tech campus designs now. What they proposed just seemed improbable from the start, but because there was an illustration every anti-Apple poster was saying how Apple's new Campus was a boring piece of crap in comparison to what Google was doing. Are they even coming close to 100% renewable resources with the new design? The new roof certainly looks like it'll absorb a lot of heat, which is the opposite of their previous design so maybe that will convert heat into power or they'll work with Tesla's Solar City to create solar panels as roof panels.
    edited March 2017 pscooter63calilostkiwiwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 73
    crowleycrowley Posts: 6,017member
    Seriously, who cares?  The worth of a company is not measured by its HQ architecture or profligacy.

    if you think this is a sign that Google is in trouble then you're as nuts as anyone who would think Apple were in trouble given the same news.

    Google are fine, Apple are fine, and this Draco-Balboa grudge match the tech press wants to forment is non-existent. They're healthy competitors, and they push each other to be better. Be grateful for that.
    gatorguybigmushroomapple jockeyavon b7
  • Reply 15 of 73
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,261member
    crowley said:
    Seriously, who cares?
    I care. I happen to find architecture fascinating which is why I look forward to both Duncan Sinfield and Matthew Roberts' drone videos each month. I even know their names from having watched their videos month after month after month.

    I care. Having Google create a vaporware illustration that is now nothing like their original plan makes me think less of the company. Still, I can't wait to see drone videos as Google's starts to build their new HQ and I will follow the videos every month for the duration of the build.

    I care. I hope that each company will have their own camera crews detailing each step of the build which I also hope they'll put together into a documentary we can stream from their websites.

    I care.

    StrangeDayspatchythepiratepscooter63lostkiwiRayz2016markiezyywatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 73
    Google should try cutting back on free gormet meals, a workplace is not feel-good social center or playground.
    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 73
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,261member
    Google should try cutting back on free gormet meals, a workplace is not feel-good social center or playground.
    Any reason you think it's more productive to feel-bad at work?

    I'd think less stress, which includes worrying about preparing meals for the day and being able to work longer hours because a decent meal is easily accessible, would be beneficial to productivity.
    JinTechlostkiwiRayz2016apple jockey
  • Reply 18 of 73
    evilutionevilution Posts: 1,373member
    Google has always been a "me too" company when it comes to anything physical. Apple announce a big glass futuristic building, obviously Google would do the same. However, as per normal, only Apple could complete the task.
    pscooter63lostkiwiravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 73
    crowley said:
    Seriously, who cares? 
    if you think this is a sign that Google is in trouble then you're as nuts as anyone who would think Apple were in trouble given the same news.

    Google are fine, Apple are fine, and this Draco-Balboa grudge match the tech press wants to forment is non-existent. They're healthy competitors, and they push each other to be better. Be grateful for that.
    Just like Palm was fine. And Microsoft was fine. And Motorola was fine. And Nokia was fine. And Xiaomi was fine. Companies don't go out of business as long as they have people posting their defenses in online comments!
    edited March 2017 StrangeDaysSpamSandwichpscooter63caliradarthekatwatto_cobrabrakken
  • Reply 20 of 73
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 828member
    lmasanti said:
    This is truly based in Steve Jobs' spirit. One Steve's less considered quality is —at least in my opinion— his Zen training and belonging. Zen connects with your inner self, deeply. Steve did not wanted to ‘be green’… he wanted to bring back the orchards trees of his youth at Cupertino. Steve did not wanted to have a ‘great buildind’… he —as he learned from his stepfather— to make things perfect ‘even if you do not see them.’ (At the Notre Damme church in Paris the statues in the top of the roof are made with fully detail… ‘because God is looking them’). Steve has the guts to say no whenever the project was not perfect. This and a lot more situations mark for me the difference. Google lives to the ‘show off’ without any substance. And it appears that always is throwing spagghetis to the wall to see which sticks

    it is enso brush stroke writ large.

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