Google Bay View, the company’s newest campus, consists of three squat buildings nestled near the San Francisco Bay shoreline a few miles east of its headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. The first things visitors notice are the roofs.
They curve down gently from pinched peaks, like circus tents, sloping almost to the ground. Each roof is blanketed with overlapping solar panels that glisten with a brushed metal sheen on the edges. Google calls this design Dragonscale, and indeed it looks as if a mystical beast is curled up by the water in Silicon Valley.
Google envisions its latest campus as the embodiment of a grander ambition to run its operations entirely free of carbon. The company plans to open Bay View in January to “a limited number” of employees, depending on the pandemic. Beneath the buildings, thousands of concrete pillars plunged into the ground will serve as a sort of geothermal battery, storing heat to warm the building and water supply without natural gas. The roof panels were constructed with a unique textured glass to prevent glare and with canopies that emit a soft, glowing light into the spacious atria inside. “We call this the Cathedral of Work,” says Asim Tahir, who oversees energy decisions in Google’s real estate division. He stands by the southern entrance in a hard hat, mask, and safety vest.