Tree-lined running tracks, ‘pause areas’ and a rooftop ‘meadow’: Google unveils plans for its VERY trendy new £1billion London HQ
Google has unveiled final plans for its luxury £1billion UK super headquarters with sleep pods, sports pitches and a rooftop ‘field’ with 200metre running track to ensure ‘wellness’ for up to 7,000 staff.
The tech giant’s 870,000 sq ft building planned for Kings Cross in London will be the first office it has designed for itself outside California.
Described as a ‘groundscraper’ because the building will be as long as the Shard is tall – designers say when completed it will be one of the best places to work in the world.
The new office has been likened to a giant playground for staff and has a half Olympic sized swimming pool, ‘wellness and fitness centre’ with gym and a large indoor sports hall for games of basketball and football.
Its breathtaking 300 metre long landscaped roof terrace will have ‘fields, gardens and meadows’ and a large rooftop cafe providing free food and drink to allow ‘Googlers’ to ‘escape from work’ and ‘relax’.
Inside the open plan office there are ‘pause areas’ surrounded by plants, trees and ‘living walls’ of greenery – and sleeping pods if staff need a nap or stay overnight after a long day.
Google has submitted plans to Camden Council for approval around two years after boss Larry Page ordered previous extravagant proposals be ripped up because they were too boring.
Google – which employs 4,000 people in the UK – has commissioned a new 11-storey building with a floor space equivalent to more than ten football pitches.
It has already committed to a further two buildings on the King’s Cross Estate, which will eventually house 7,000 workers across three offices.
Joe Borrett, director of real estate and construction, said: ‘We are excited to be able to bring our London Googlers together in one campus, with a new purpose-built building that we’ve developed from the ground up.
‘Our offices and facilities play a key part in shaping the Google culture, which is one of the reasons we are known for being amongst the best places to work in the industry’.
It is being designed by Heatherwick Studio and Bjarke Ingels Group.
Bjarke Ingels, Founding Partner at Bjarke Ingels Group, joint architect of Google’s new building, said: ‘Our design for the new Google Campus at King’s Cross is rooted in the local character of the area, taking advantage of the contextually defined building envelope while creating continuously cascading work environments that will connect Googlers across multiple floors.
‘By opening up the ground floor and activating the roofscape, the light and airy workspaces are sandwiched between the terraced gardens on the roof – and market halls, auditoria and shops on the ground.’
In 2015 Larry Page, who co-founded the American technology giant, ordered the UK team to go back to the drawing board. Google originally hoped that the £1billion development would be ready in 2016.
It is known for its unusual offices around the world, which often feel more like a playground than a work space.
The sprawling Mountainview site boasts an on-site bowling alley, a volleyball court, yurt-shaped meetings rooms and ‘pods’ for staff who want to sleep, not to mention 19 free restaurants and 60 snack kitchens.
Google’s offices in London’s Victoria – one of two in the capital – includes a room stocked with musical instruments, like a teenage boy’s fantasy bedroom.
The latest office plans look more like a luxury hotel in places.
Thomas Heatherwick, Founder of Heatherwick Studio, who jointly designed the new building, said: ‘As my home and the home of my studio for more than 15 years, I have a close relationship with King’s Cross.
‘The area is a fascinating collision of diverse building types and spaces and I can’t help but love this mix of massive railway stations, roads, canals and other infrastructure all layered up into the most connected point in London’.