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Google Breaks New Ground in Silicon Valley Arms Race

Corporate Kingdoms


Now more than ever, comparisons between the modern business world and the 15th century seem appropriate. Back then the lord with the biggest castle commanded the most respect and now social media, technology and internet giants are demonstrating their influence by unveiling plans for huge, elaborate home bases.

Facebook will soon be sporting a Frank Gehry-spearheaded stronghold (and are planning to build a $400 million housing estate for theirstaff), whilst Apple have been gradually developing plans for a ridiculous giant glass doughnut for the past 5 years or so. Now Google have upped the stakes even further, after unveiling plans for new headquarters built out of magic glass biodomes that can be changed and expanded at will, depending on the needs of the staff.


Between this, the on-going development of self-driving cars and specific staff-dedicated living areas like Facebook’s, big online firms are starting to resemble medieval lords, clawing for more land and building vast, elaborate castles to demonstrate their power. Google’s Mountain View territory comprises 71 acres of land, or around 40 football pitches, but their current cubist office complex (called the Googleplex) is fairly uninspiring. Architects from Heatherwick Studio (responsible for that striking Olympic torchredesign used during London 2012) and Bjarke Ingels Group (who are also currently working on this amazing housing project in New York) have been drafted to work on the project, provided the Silicon Valley city council give it the all-clear.


In a recent interview Clive Wilkinson, the brains behind the original Googleplex praised the new design and compared it to London’s Crystal Palace, in terms of innovation and forward thinking (but hopefully this won’t overheat and burn to the ground like that did). Supposedly the glass shells will be able to adapt to the sunlight, allowing more or less in depending on the time of the day and what part of the structure you’re in. Outside of that, the concept designs show that the structures will be intermingled with parks, cycle paths, a brook and underground parking, just so that nothing on the surface can interfere with the feng shui of it all.

Google have always been determined to carve their own path when it comes to employment, their hiring policies and office politics are often joked about, but they remain one of the most desirable hiring destinations for up-and-coming web designers, graphic designers, researchers and many others, so they must be doing something right. Maybe it’s all the bean bags.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Google Breaks New Ground in Silicon Valley Arms Race Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, March 05, 2015 Rating: 5
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