Now the sprawling suburban office park that houses one of the world's most famous companies is about to get even bigger and better.
Google Inc. is preparing to break ground on a 42-acre campus called Bay View that promises to elevate the pampering of its hard-driving, type-A workers to a whole new level.
Bayview is to have nine structures, most of which will be four stories tall. The structures will be shaped like bent rectangles to make room for courtyards and will be connected by bridges, one of which will lead to a green roof with an outdoor cafe.
The 1.1-million-square-foot campus was designed from the inside out to create a space that fits the way Google employees work. For example, Google says most staffers will be able to work by natural light and without any glare from the sun on their laptops. Another priority: conserving energy. It will be the largest office complex in the United States with all radiant heating, Google says.
In typical Google fashion, the company's real estate team relied on reams of data, observing everything from where the sun rises and sets to wind patterns as well as the daily habits of thousands of Google employees.
This marks the first time Google has had the opportunity to build its own campus from scratch rather than hollowing out the shells of buildings once occupied by a tech giant of another era, Silicon Graphics. The new campus is on the grounds of NASA's Ames Research Center, which is next to the Googleplex.
The campus expansion, scheduled to be completed in 2015, is viewed as a boon to Mountain View, Calif., Google’s hometown. About a third of Google's 37,000-plus workforce is spread out in 65 buildings there.
"We are beginning construction on our new Bay View Campus, which is a key to our growth and another sign of our commitment to the area," Google said in a statement.
Google's campus is central to the company's appeal in Silicon Valley, where talent wars for top engineers are superheated. Facebook is building a Main Street to keep its employees happy. And Apple is building a "spaceship" campus.
That appeal extends to celebrities and world leaders on the lecture circuit. It has also captured the imagination of Hollywood. Producers of the new film "The Internship," an Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn comedy featuring two fortysomething salesmen who compete for internships with the search giant, shot footage on campus, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin has a cameo.
The new campus will be an extension of the Google aesthetic. The design vision that the Internet giant set forth to Seattle architecture firm NBBJ has a very similar look and feel: a casual and quirky work environment with a mix of work spaces and communal spaces that encourage spontaneous meetings.
A spokesman for NBBJ declined to comment.