A new breed of hybrid robot cranes will help Google expand their headquarters in the heart of Silicon Valley. Architecture Journal recently accessed planning documents Google submitted to the Mountain View city council detailing the expansion of the 20,000 square foot California headquarters. The documents reveal plans to employ 'crabots' to reconfigure lightweight block-like structures that will be erected instead of fixed concrete buildings. Architects Thomas Heatherwick and BIG are working with the engineering firm AKT II on a new office space paradigm, the future of which is a bit uncertain after the city council granted less than a quarter of the land Google had requested.
The ‘crabots’ will mostly work under large canopies to “lift and shift prefabricated components, furniture and services,” inside the buildings, according to AJ’s findings. The cranes are considered an efficient and affordable option for working with the prefabricated structures.
“Through the life of the buildings this [will] allow reconfiguration and maintenance…of the canopy envelope from within,” AJ reports.
Google’s design documents also detail plans to use a proven system of steel columns and monocoque floor plates weighing up to 10 tonnes for the internal infrastructure. This is the maximum weight the crabots will be able to lift and move, and allows future customization as needed.
Large translucent canopies covering each site on the expanded campus will help control the interior microclimate without suffocating airflow or blocking natural light. Extensive landscaping along with scattered bike paths and cafes will “blur the distinction between our buildings and nature,” Google’s bloggers wrote in a February post.
Images via Google