Google opens Bay View, its first self-designed campus

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,576   +174
Staff member
The big picture: Google has officially opened its Bay View campus to employees. The project, more than seven years in the making, represents the first time the tech titan has developed its own major campus but comes at a time when employee sentiment about working in an office is at a record low.

The search giant shared renderings of its futuristic campus in 2015, and the finished product looks a lot like what we initially saw years ago. Bay View is an all-electric, net water positive facility sporting the largest geothermal installation in North America. Google said it polled employees about what they need from a workplace and used the feedback to help shape its design philosophy.

"We found that they're happy, productive and creative when they come together in teams, but need spaces that are buffered from sound and movement to get deep-focus work done," said David Radcliffe, VP of real estate and workplace services at Google.

The upper level of Google's campus is designated as team space, and is separated by smaller "neighborhoods" with courtyards connected via ramps. The lower level is more like a marketplace, complete with cafes and meeting spaces.

Natural light and greenery are also present throughout the facility, and Google even vetted building materials to promote the healthiest environment possible.

Google's new campus was conceived at a time when the public's perception of work was very different than it is today. It also came about as other tech titans like Apple and Nvidia were working on new headquarters of their own.

According to a recent survey commissioned by Slack, more than half of fully in-person office workers said they would prefer to work flexibly (in terms of location and schedule) at least part of the time. Conversely, I doubt most of those polled have the luxury of working in an office nearly as nice as Google's new campus. Perhaps returning to the office wouldn't be so bad if you were heading to Bay View daily?

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Posts: 6,306   +7,249
Some people don’t want to be around other people.
Some people work better alone.
Working at home or remotely is more efficient- but the economy demand we transport ourselves to work so they can make money off us.


Posts: 1,349   +2,025
Mountain View and the surrounding area has serious housing & traffic problems. There is an awful lot of self-congratulation going on here from a company whose products & services are primarily digital, and could have focused a lot more on entirely avoiding the need for this much office space and this many commuter trips. Maybe it's the next generation that will figure that one out.

The video has a line about it all being developed for "thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort." I'll take their word on the thermal part, but to me the (interior) visual is the opposite of comforting, and I doubt how much acoustic comfort there can be in a setting with large numbers of people in what looks like one giant stadium of open space.


Posts: 72   +96
The only real argument for not wanting to 'return to office' (RTO) is the commute. But there is a huge trend of people wanting to work remotely just as apple and google settle into their mega headquarters. I wonder how much they spent on it, Google didn't disclose the cost. Apple's spaceship headquarters cost about $5 billion for up to 12,000 people (416k per employee).


Posts: 424   +330
When I'm working on something complex I'll admit I prefer total isolation from the world. This building would make me feel like I'm working in a train station. I can also imagine being interrupted endlessly by people asking which suspended walkway to take to get to meeting room 5C. Were all the people talking about the building just those that designed it or were there any real users giving a real opinion?


Posts: 29   +7
Some people don’t want to be around other people.
Some people work better alone.
Working at home or remotely is more efficient- but the economy demand we transport ourselves to work so they can make money off us.
Its definitely not the case. While I'd liek to have the option as a backup and I do, I'd much rather prefer going to work.. finishing it there.. coming back home to focus on home stuff.