Google entered the Washington, DC scene with a splash in December 2007, maintaining its trademark “Start-Up” image while also providing a fun, modern, professional environment for employees. This was accomplished without losing site of a corporate philosophy that promotes environmental stewardship and a commitment to sustainable design. Google selected their new DC location both for the building’s geographic proximity to the Capitol as well as its LEED certification. This commitment to sustainable design also impacted all areas of interior and engineering design – from the use of daylight harvesting with glass front offices and low-paneled workstation clusters to the recycled content in the millwork, flooring, ceilings, and furniture. Sustainable materials were selected and used wherever possible.
The space plan was based on Google’s Corporate Design Guideline standards and site-specific programmatic needs. Google believes that all square footage is to be used, at all times. As a result, almost all spaces are multi-functional. Huddle rooms can easily become 2-3 person offices, phone booths can be used for interviews, and the Tech Café can be separated by a fabric drape so a portion of the space can be used for “Tech Talks”, Google’s internal technology meetings. The main conference room is separated from the secured reception by large roll-up garage doors that lift and open to create one large open area. This layout creates a flexible, dynamic space for conferencing, training, and entertaining.
Google also provides many perks that create an energetic, fun, and fluid space and promote communication, collaboration, and well-being. Free catered lunches are provided for employees every day in the Tech Café. A game room furnished with massage chairs, Guitar Hero, an XBox, legos, and ping-pong is available. New mothers can use a private mother’s room for nursing. Team interaction and sharing of ideas can occur while meeting in one of the conference rooms or informal meeting areas, lounging on a couch, or sitting in beanbag chairs. Google is the ultimate in user-friendly space.
The design’s success is that it truly reflects the culture of Google, right down to the bright colors and lava lamps. Change is constant within the space, but Google is here to stay.
Google is designed to LEED Silver standards, but is not a LEED Certified project.