Google has finally decided they’ve outgrown the Googleplex and just tossed $US30 million to the city of Mountain View for some space to build a new 10-acre campus. Who’s gonna build it? Ingenhoven, one of Germany’s biggest architectural firms.
Little is known about what the future campus will look like, but the San Jose Mercury News says with the land deal in place, design plans could be submitted as early as this month and construction could begin in 2012. That said, we do know some things about Ingenhoven, whose designs revolve around green sustainability and an unyielding devotion to modernism.
Ingenhoven is currently responsible for redesigning Stuttgart’s main train station, which has caused a bit of controversy because of their decision to take the station underground. The firm’s founder and namesake, Christoph Ingenhoven is very much a forward-looking designer, making few concessions to the past. To get an idea of what we might expect for Googleplex 2.0, here are five of Ingenhoven’s more imaginative designs from the past and present. Surely they’ll bring out their best work for the search gods.
International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands
Though it won’t be completed until 2014, the design concepts for The Haugue’s International Criminal Court already has me contemplating what minor act of human injustice I can commit to land me in this place.
Encasing three pods in a glass shell, the Court building separates the different departments without isolating them completely. Maybe this will jibe with the secret class culture at Google?
Main Station, Stuttgart, Germany
Ingerhoven won the bid to redesign Stuttgart’s train station 13 years ago. Currently, the station is above ground. Ingerhoven wants to take it underground, and many residents hate the idea.
To accomodate the redesign, part of the original 1927 station will be destroyed. By moving much of the station underground will open up space for new, mixed use development that could create 4200 jobs.
Some are opposed to this because it will destroy a historic building. Others think its an unnecessary waste of money. And ironically, there are people who dislike it because they believe the construction process will damage green spaces in the area.
But Ingerhoven is unapologetic, believing it will better link Stuttgart to the rest of Europe’s high-speed rail system and turn the Southern German city into one of its lifelines.
71 Robinson Road, Singapore
Constructed in 2009, this looks like something straight out of Blade Runner. With a central urban location, this building stacks lights on top of lights on top of lights for a dramatic look at night. During the day, however, the building has been designed to maximise the amount of sunlight that gets in, minimising the need for artificial lighting.
The new Google campus probably won’t get quite this stylised in the middle of Mountain View, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them try to sneak in a few elements from this building.
Daniel Swarovski Corporation, Zurich, Switzerland
I’m fairly certain this is the only physical object associated with Swarovski that isn’t tastelessly coated in crystals. But more notable here is that Ingenhoven decided to but a lawn ON THE ROOF. And to heat and cool the office, the building pulls in water from the lake.
Set in the middle of a quieter, less dense community, some of the same concepts and principles displayed here could be easily integrated in the Google design.
Private House D
There’s not a lot that a Google campus would share with a private residence, structurally speaking. However the attention to materials and alternative energy shows off what this company can really do with sustainable design.
The house is made of unprocessed materials, which means that little to no polutants were used or given off as a byproduct in crafting them. The house gives off no electromagnetic pollution or Radon emissions, and the house is mostly powered by a solar thermal power system. Additionally, rainwater is used to irrigate the yard, and can be fed in to the house’s plumbing system if needed.
Long story short, they’re not a design firm who use green as a gimmick. [SJ Mercury]