Google at 1212 bordeaux
Location: sunnyvale, california
Year Completed: 2017
2019 design-build institute of america national award: project of the year finalist
2019 aia California Leading edge award for architecture
2019 aia california merit design award
2019 aia virginia honor design award
2018 Architectural Record: Good Design Is Good Business
2018 Design-Build Institute of America DBIA Western Regional Award
2018 finalist Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award
2018 SILICON VALLEY STRUCTURES AWARD FOR GREEN DESIGN
Steeped in nature and punctuated by moments of sublimity in the everyday, 1212 Bordeaux is a building that works for people.
1212 Bordeaux exemplifies how a highly-collaborative project team and an integrated design-build process can deliver an inspiring project that exceeds client expectations.
Embodying Google's design principles of beauty and simplicity, 1212 Bordeaux is designed to inspire and empower Googlers, while supporting the long-term health and vitality of the community and environment.
The result is Google's first completed ground-up building: an adaptable high-performance "living lab" workplace, delivered on-time and on-budget.
“1212 is the beauty of simplicity. A building that works.”
- John Igoe, Development Director, Google Real Estate Development
integrated design-build process
1212 Bordeaux was delivered on-time and on-budget using a uniquely collaborative integrated design-build process. This approach built a high level of trust, facilitating a resonant flow of expertise between the traditional silos of design and construction.
The design-build team of Parabola and Devcon used the metaphor of “a pile of stones” to objectify budget discussions and illuminate how to best deploy resources in order to attain Google’s aspirational performance objectives.
Parabola’s scope melded the design of Core and Shell with Interior Architecture. This approach leveraged the full range of elements and spaces to solve for performance of the building and its occupants.
The building has its own routine, driven by the movement of the sun and the seasons: occupants align with diurnal and circadian rhythms in nature through the building’s calibration to solar orientation and prevailing winds.
To be an occupant of 1212 is to experience a sense of belonging amongst essential rhythms at all scales, from the quotidian to the universal.
Designed in direct response to the context of its site, 1212 is a manifestation of Parabola’s design adage that ‘forces evolve form.’
The building is oriented on the site in relation to the sun and wind. The garden courtyard is designed to invite sun while blocking the discomfort of prevailing breezes from the San Francisco Bay.
Aided by the preservation of a mature olive grove on the Western edge of the site and the planting of native species, 1212 restores a deep connection to nature.
The design-build process for 1212 Bordeaux integrated biophilic design principles from the project’s inception. Google’s commitment to connecting people to nature, formulated in their Biophilic Design Guidelines, informed the design approach:
“Google’s goal is to create a vibrant and healthy society that enriches all life. We view humans as an integral part of nature, and our designs should reflect this view. By designing for strong human connections with nature in our spaces and communities, we can create experiences that positively affect our minds, bodies and behavior. These experiences should bring Google’s environments to life, strengthen emotional connections to places, and encourage stewardship of our built and natural surroundings.”
Entering the enclosed native garden creates and immediate transition from city to nature. A series of small outdoor garden rooms immerse Googlers in a native habitat while they meet, dine or recharge.
“The daylight provides sensory change throughout the day as it changes in color, intensity, and direction as if it were a living entity. The sensory change is also apparent on the building façade as the change in daylight over the day creates variation in the color of the façade.”
- Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award Jury 2018
The building's exterior walls and cornice are composed of board-formed precast concrete panels.
The poplar bark cladding a lobby wall is the first Cradle to Cradle Platinum-certified material.
The building achieved LEED Platinum certification upon construction completion. The plaque is rendered in recycled Palladium leaf onto an exposed structural steel column for posterity.
Parabola’s innovative design tunes the experiential qualities of light, air, acoustics, and spatial scale to design out distractions caused by glare, thermal discomfort, and noise.
Program elements are organized according to a spectrum from Focus to Buzz zones. These zones give Googlers choices of distinct working environments and fulfill Google’s design goal to provide an inspiring workplace that supports Googler performance.
Unlike most open-plan office spaces, Focus and Buzz zones are fully separated by a Buffer zone formed by core and support program elements. The Buffer allows 1212 to avoid a common pitfall of open office spaces—in which the experience of social engagement, individual and group work, and meeting spaces are intermixed, preventing any of these spaces from functioning as intended.
Views throughout the building are calibrated to eye level, with clerestory windows tilted to optimize exposure to the open sky above.
These views provide a “positive distraction” in the workplace, creating an opportunity to periodically stretch one’s eyes skyward from a computer screen to a cloud passing miles overhead.
A Mezzanine above the second floor allows for generous double-height volumes to optimize daylight while providing proportional ceiling heights in smaller spaces.
The Mezzanine also serves to create scalar variety and operational flexibility within the workplace experience.
Warm South-facing spaces; opportunities to bask in direct sun or diffuse with user-operated sheer drapery
Areas of diverse thermal comfort with warmth provided by select areas of direct-beam sunlight
Bustling and social
People arrive into the south facing cafe “buzz” zone. Adjacent to the courtyard garden and bathed in natural light, this zone is buffered visually and acoustically from the workspace.
Second Level lounges offer informal places to work, gather, and play.
The dramatic experience of moving from the Buffer zone to the Focus zone is akin to entering a theater. Moving through the human-scaled portals into the vastness of sky views lends perspective and inspiration to everyday experience.
Cool North-facing light that is evenly dispersed to avoid glare; exterior automated blinds adjust to maintain even light levels as the sun moves throughout the day.
Consistent thermal comfort; CO₂ sensors and supplemental air delivery in enclosed meeting rooms; exterior automated blinds preemptively block heat gain.
A quiet productive hum; sound masking system and acoustical dampening panels prevent conversations from traveling while providing a pleasant amount of background noise; blinds on the exterior mitigate typical motor noise distractions.
Northern sunlight—diffused and cooler toned than its southern counterpart—provides optimal light conditions for productivity and creativity.
“The daylight design is especially innovative, with controlled daylight coming from all directions, creating the sense of being outdoors but in a protected space.”
- Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award Jury 2018
“Our priority in design at Google - from our products to real estate development - is always the user, to make life easier while respecting our responsibility to make the world better too. The design of 1212 is intended to prioritize health and wellbeing, while encouraging focus and collaboration, by addressing light, air, and noise which have been subjects of investigation at Google for over a decade.”
- Mary Davidge, Global Design Director, Google Real Estate Development
“1212 is a building with a soul.”
- Joshua Portner, Google Director, Real Estate District Development
The perimeter of the building features double-height open plan workspace. Enclosed workspaces for smaller teams are below the mezzanine.
integrated design solutions
Throughout design and construction, Parabola worked closely with engineers and contractors to streamline systems and achieve multivalent solutions.
Beyond a measurable impact on time and budget, there is an essential elegance that results from this process: like a poem, the building’s systems and details conjure beauty from intention.
Integrated design provides multiple benefits and increased value. Structural elements and ductwork were coordinated to enhance privacy on the mezzanine while maintaining sight lines to the outdoors.
Parabola’s unique approach to materials selection aligned with Google’s health and wellbeing objectives. Extraneous, non-performative materials and toxic finishes were pre-emptively “designed out,” limiting adverse impact to human and ecological health while providing positive environmental, cost and performative benefits.
The emphasis on authentic materials reinforces an essential quality of the design, celebrating the craft of making and assembly. Seasonal cycles show on weathered steel and bright colored construction markings evidence the erection of the structural frame. Exposed connections reveal how materials come together, and beautiful prefabricated elements showcase the skills and passions of the construction team.
The building’s infrastructure is a significant design feature, setting the tone for the interiors. The exposed raw steel structure retains the markings from fabrication, without layers of potentially toxic fireproofing.
Glazed tile and mineral paint colors were chosen using the principle of color interaction, in which the act of juxtaposing two colors alters the perception of each color.
This not only brought variety and interest to enclosed spaces such as the building’s gender inclusive bathrooms, but also reduced the number of variables in material specifications, as only 6 colors of paint and tile were required to make 12 unique color combinations.
While universal to visual perception, the principle of color interaction was popularized in the work of Joseph Albers.
Project: 1212 Bordeaux
Location: Sunnyvale, California
Owner Name: Google
Project Lead Designer: Parabola
Architect of Record: Devcon Architecture
Design Builder: Devcon Construction
Interior Architect: Parabola
Landscape Design: OWSW O’Shea Wilson Siteworks / Parabola
Ecological / Habitat: H. T. Harvey & Associates
Civil Engineering: Kier & Wright
Structural Design: Nishkian Menninger
Daylighting / Integrated Design: Integral Group
M.E.P.: Design Point Energy Innovations
Interior Design & Furnishings: Rapt Studio
Conceptual Lighting: Design Point Energy Innovations / Clanton Associates
Acoustical: Charles M. Salter Assoc. Inc
Code / Fire: The Fire Consultants
Waterproofing: Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger
LEED: Point Energy Innovations / Kath Williams + Assoc.
Commissioning: Enovity Inc.
Custom Metal Leaf Design and Fabrication: Gentleman Scholar Signs
Design-Build and Design-Assist Subcontractors:
Structural Steel: Gayle Manufacturing
Buckling Restrained Bracing: CoreBrace
Precast Concrete: Willis Construction Inc
Glass & Glazing: Walters & Wolf
Stairs / Rails / Misc Metals: Glazier Steel
Electrical / Lighting: Redwood Electric Group
HVAC / Plumbing: ACCO Engineered Systems
Grading / Paving / Site Concrete: Joseph J. Albanese, Inc
Architectural Woodwork: Complete Millwork Services
Exterior Blinds: Peninsulators / Draper Inc
Food Service Equipment: Trimark Raygal Inc
Elevators: Kone Inc.
Sound Masking: Archoustics West
Photography and Video:
© Google / Prakash Patel Photography