Google to build "super green" new office space

Von am 10. Mai 2011  

Google Mountain View SignMore Googleplex to come from fancy German architects

Google plans to hire at least 6,000 new employees in 2011 and needs more than its existing 65 buildings known as the Googleplex to accommodate them. For the first time in its history it will build its own office space on a 18.6-acre site in Mountain View. Preliminary plans for nearly 600,000 square feet of space are to be filed later this month, while construction could possibly start in 2012.

The new structure will be designed by German firm Ingenhoven Architects. A Google spokesman did not want to give any more details, but told Mercury News: “We’ve asked them to build the most green, sustainable building possible.”

Ingenhoven Architects praise themselves for their “sustainable and ecologically oriented architecture” in a statement titled “Supergreen”:

“The use of regenerative energies and resources like geothermal energy and rainwater plays an important role in our concepts and so the intensive integration of daylight as well as natural ventilation of buildings. With a minimum consumption of energy and resources we aim the highest degree of utilization comfort.”

Google and the *Supergreen* architects

Sounds very Googley indeed, but can they deliver? Ingenhoven Architects already realized big international projects like European Investment Bank headquarter in Luxembourg, the Breezé Tower in Osaka (“the first environmentally friendly skyscraper in Japan with a double facade made of glass”) and the 1 Bligh building in Sidney. And they invoke the not yet realized main railway station in Stuttgart:

“The new Main Station in Stuttgart, to be built from 2010, was awarded the Global Holcim Award in Gold in 2006 for its sustainable design. As carbon-free and zero energy building, it requires no heating, cooling or mechanical ventilation.”

Actually this project is very controversial in Germany and seems to contradict Ingenhoven’s strong “supergreen” statement. It is a mega project with the moniker “Stuttgart 21″ that aims to get the main station underground, which also means building lots of tunnels under the city. The scheme could cost taxpayers up to 10 billion Euro if it is ever realized.

It is not popular in Stuttgart at all and was widely criticized for environmental and other concerns. There were massive protests in Stuttgart, and the Green Party strongly opposing the project won the recent elections in Baden-Württemberg – Stuttgart is the capital of this southern and wealthy German state. The Green’s new governor announced a referendum aiming to kill the much hated project.

Photo: brionv / CC

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