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Google’s New London HQ Sets a Precedent for Change

PUBLISHED 06/05/2017

It’s got space for more than 4,000 employees, a rooftop garden with a running track and has been dubbed a “landscraper” for being longer than London’s Shard building is tall. It’s Google’s new London headquarters, the final plans of which were submitted this week to Camden council after years of back-and-forth between the tech giant and architects.

Construction is set to start in 2018 at a site overlooking London’s King’s Cross railway station and the interior of the building will be mainly given over to open-plan offices. A cross-section of the building shows a grand, central staircase which will run all the way from the ground floor to the rooftop.

According to Architect’s Journal, the entire complex will cost some £1 billion. The main 11-story building will provide some 80,819 square meters of space and stretch across 330 meters of ground, sitting on a “plinth” of shops with ground-floor entrances to the offices interspersed between them. This is intended to create a “varied and open ground plane that can change with time,” according to the submitted plans.

An Almost Modular Design provides the Ultimate Work-Life Flexibility

In a statement, Google’s appointed designer Thomas Heatherwick said he’d been inspired by the site of the new office, which functions as a hub for much of the city’s transport links.

“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,” said Heatherwick. “Influenced by these surroundings, we have treated this new building for Google like a piece of infrastructure too, made from a family of interchangeable elements which ensure that the building and its workspace will stay flexible for years to come.”

Inside will be all the amenities you’d expect, like cafes and meeting rooms, as well as a three-lane, 25-meter swimming pool, massage rooms, a “multi-use games area” for spots like basketball and football, and a 210-seat auditorium for product announcements and talks. The roof will be covered in a 300-meter-long garden, divided into different zones, including a “pause area” filled with wildflowers and woodland plants, a cafe, and a 200-meter “trim trail” for runners.

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