Heatherwick Studio and Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) have completed Google’s Bay View campus, a trio of tent-like structures covered in a “dragonscale” arrangement of solar panels in California’s Silicon Valley.


Iwan Baan

The Bay View campus was designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studio for a 42-acre site next door to the NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Santa Clara County. The campus comprises a pair of office buildings, a 1,000-person event space and 240 short-term accommodation suites for staff. The design, which draws inspiration from the long-span structure of a 1930s airship hangar adjacent, sees a light-weight catenary canopy of photovoltaic panels and glazing shelter a “village” of offices, meeting areas, bathrooms, cafes and a gym.

The solar panels shingles that cover the tent-like roof structures are anticipated to generate 40% of the annual energy needs of the buildings, which run exclusively on electricity. The innovative photovoltaic skin is one of many sustainability features positioning the scheme for LEED-NC v4 Platinum certification. The campus also stands on North America’s largest geothermal pile system, and is expected, with the aid of local wind frames, to run on carbon-free energy 90% of the time.

Bay View is also aiming to be the largest scheme to achieve International Living Future Institute (ILFI) LBC Water Petal Certification, and has committed to replenishing 120% of the water it consumes by 2030, with systems to gather rainwater and treat wastewater integrated into the site.


“Working with a client as data driven as Google has led to an architecture where every single decision is informed by hard information and empirical analysis,” said Bjarke Ingels.

“The result is a campus where the striking dragonscale solar canopies harvest every photon that hits the buildings; the energy piles store and extract heating and cooling from the ground, and even the naturally beautiful floras are in fact hardworking rootzone gardens that filter and clean the water from the buildings. All in all, a campus where front of house and back of house, technology and architecture, and form and function have been fused into a new and striking hybrid.”


Beneath the canopy, the two storeys of workspace is fragmented into a series of “neighbourhoods” designed for 40-80 people, and each is arranged around its own courtyard.

“The idea of the ‘office’ has been stuck for a long time. Yes, people have done different aesthetic treatments. But there hasn’t been a fundamental questioning of the workplace at this scale,” said Thomas Heatherwick. “Our approach has centred on the emotions of individuals and the imaginations of teams and how you create a whole different atmosphere of work.”

Nine pieces of artwork created by local Bay Area artists enliven the lift areas and contribute to the buildings’ wayfinding system.

The campus is surrounded by 17.3 acres of parkland made up of marsh and woodlands, and includes public trails linking with the existing Stevens Creek and Bay trails in the Bay Area.


Bay View is the first of two sites designed by the duo for Google in Silicon Valley, with a second called Charleston East due to complete in 2023. The same team is also working on Google’s London headquarters at King’s Cross, which is set to open in 2024.

More images and drawings


Heatherwick Studio / BIG
Project team
Thomas Heatherwick, Eliot Postma, Sarah Gill, Christopher McAnneny, Kyriakos Chatziparaskevas, Stuart Macalister, Sam Aitkenhead, Nick Arthurell, Angela Bailen Lopez, Megan Burke, Michael Chomette, German De La Torre, Nilufer Kocabas, Andre Kong, Steven Howson, Matthijs La Roi, Francis Lam, Adrienne Lau, Barbara Lavickova, Michael Lewis, Gabriel Piovanetti, Tom McKeogh, Arturo Revilla, Miguel Rus, Ville Saarikoski, Ricardo Sosa Mejia, Chris Stone, Skye Yuxi Sun, Cassandra Tsolakis, Priscilla Wong
Making team
Mark Burrows, Jeff Powers,Hannah Parker, Luke Plumbley, Erich Bruer, Freddie Lomas, Matt Pratt, Ben Dudek, Antione Van Erp, Ling Li Tseng
MEP, environmental design, energy analysis
Atelier Ten
MEP, electrical engineering
Intergral Group

Executive architect
Adamson Associates
Main Contractor/general contractor
Whiting Turner
Structural engineer
Thornton Tomasetti
Civil engineer
Sherwood Design Engineers, Arup Civil, BKF Engineers
Interior designer
Owner Rep
Sares Regis
Facade consultants
Arup Facades
Landscape architect