Heatherwick coup as firm lands Google prize

David Rogers

Google's new headquarters designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studio

Practice teams up with BIG for California campus

Thomas Heatherwick has been confirmed by Google to design it a new global headquarters in California.

Heatherwick Studio, which is currently working on plans to build a new Garden Bridge across the River Thames, will carry out the work at Mountain View with Danish firm Bjarke Ingels Group.

The pair have formed a 50:50 design partnership for the scheme at the Californian city which is already home to Google’s main headquarters, called Googleplex.

Heatherwick and BIG have been asked to design a new headquarters to bring its 20,000 workers under one roof. Google owns or leases around 680,000sq m of space in Mountain View.

Representatives from Heatherwick and BIG were out in California last week making presentations to the technology giant’s board with plans for the canopy-like buildings being submitted to the city council at the end of last week.

Mountain View city councillor Ken Rosenberg told the New York Times: “Mountain View needs to evolve to a world-class city. One of the criteria of a world-class city is that it is architecturally interesting.”

The city has spent the last two years debating a plan to redevelop the city’s North Bayshore area, which surrounds Google’s main offices and is close to major highways.

Traffic jams are a regular occurrence in Mountain View, which is around 40 miles south of San Francisco, and Google’s vision for a new Googleplex will include bike and pedestrian paths.

The job is one of the biggest Heatherwick will be working on along with schemes in the Middle and Far East, which include a new park in the Abu Dhabi desert and a learning hub for a university in Singapore.

Heatherwick is already working on a brace of schemes in the US – a new park on stilts in Manhattan’s Hudson River and the Hudson Yards mixed-use development also in Manhattan.

The news comes as Facebook announced last month that US architect Frank Gehry is to design it a new office in Seattle. The architect has also designed the firm’s Californian headquarters.

And Foster’s is designing a new headquarters for Apple in Cupertino, also in California.

Google is working with AHMM on a new UK headquarters at King’s Cross in London but that scheme has been hit by a series of delays.


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