After being unveiled in 2015, running into trouble and requiring a redesign, Google's new headquarters has been given the green light by Mountain View, Calif., city planners. The project is due to start construction later this year, according to New Atlas.
Charleston East, expected to be completed by the end of 2019, will be the first time Google has commissioned a headquarters from scratch rather than occupy an existing building. The company has designed the facility with a focus on openness and energy-efficiency.
The main building of the campus is topped by an unusual canopy roof and will reach a maximum height of 110 feet. Inside, it will include 595,000 square feet of office space, plus more than 10,000 square feet of retail space, cafes and public amenities.
While other tech firms, including Apple, restrict the public to a visitor's center, Google's campus will be open. It will allow members of the public to walk directly through the center of the main building and check out coding workshops, talks on sustainable technology, VR demos and the like.
Ample glazing will ensure that the upper floor shouldn't need any electric lights on during the day, while all stormwater and rainwater will be stored in 721,000 gallon basement cisterns before being recycled and reused.
The unusual canopy roof will be completely covered in solar panels, producing an estimated 40 percent of required electricity. Google says it is working to develop new panels that are lighter, more bird-safe and mitigate glare.
All glass will be patterned to increase the safety of the local bird population, too, and existing imported trees will be replaced with water-efficient local species. The 18-acre site will also include bicycle and walking paths. Google is pushing two-wheeled transport, and the best parking access will be reserved for cyclists (and bus passengers), with car users required to walk further to get into the office.
Charleston East is slated for LEED platinum, the green building standard's highest rating, and a Google representative said construction is due to begin this summer.