Construction on building that is longer than the Shard is tall set to begin in King’s Cross in 2018.
Google has officially submitted plans for its new 92,000-square metre “landscraper” London headquarters, with the intention of beginning construction on the building in 2018.
Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studios, the team behind TfL’s New Bus for London and the 2012 Olympic Cauldron, the building will stand 11 storeys tall and stretch parallel to the platforms of London’s King’s Cross railway station.
Floor plans for the building show a “wellness centre” containing gyms, massage rooms a narrow swimming pool and multi-use indoor sports pitch, and a rooftop garden split over multiple storeys and themed around three areas: a “plateau”, “gardens” and “fields”, planted with strawberries, gooseberries and sage.
A 200-meter-long “trim trail” runs through the roof, while peckish employees can grab food in one of four cafes, including a main one which spans three stories with a “promenade” with views of the station.
Combined with Google’s current King’s Cross office around the corner, and a third building that the company also plans on moving into in the area, it will form a new campus that will house 7,000 Google employees. Dubbed a “landscraper”, the finished building will be longer than the Shard is tall.
The Heatherwick-designed building was submitted to Camden council and will be the first to be wholly owned by, and designed specifically for, Google outside the US. Google declined to comment on the cost of the project.
Heatherwick said in a statement: “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.”
He added: “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.”
Sustainability is smattered throughout the pitch. The building’s plans show space for 686 bikes, with just four car parking spaces, while solar panels on the roof have a combined annual output of almost 20MWh. Motorised timber blinds on the outside of the building serve to keep direct sunlight out.
Google’s Joe Borrett, the company’s head of real estate and construction, said: “We are excited to be able to bring our London Googlers together in one campus, with a new purpose-built building that we’ve developed from the ground up. Our offices and facilities play a key part in shaping the Google culture, which is one of the reasons we are known for being among the best places to work in the industry.”
The company’s decision to stick with its plans for the HQ was widely seen as a vote of confidence in the British economy following the decision to leave the EU in June 2016. In a speech in Google’s London office last November, chief executive Sundar Pichai said: “Here in the UK, it’s clear to me that computer science has a great future with the talent, educational institutions, and passion for innovation we see all around us. We are committed to the UK and excited to continue our investment in our new King’s Cross campus.”
Originally, the company’s plans had called for a luxury office, complete with a rooftop running track, indoor swimming pool and climbing wall – and saddled with an estimated £1bn price tag. But Google rejected those plans, put together by London-based architects AHMM, in 2015 for being “too boring”, and brought Heatherwick on board instead.