lunedì 16 gennaio 2012

FIRST PRIZE ADA 2011 - Architecture Dissertation Award // GOOGLE HEADQUARTERS BERLIN - Paloma Hendel, Spain

Currently, Google’s server and office locations are situated separately. This project intends to unify these two uses to be able to obtain a higher energy efficiency by means of reusing the heat that is produced by the servers to condition the offices. Google is a blank page, a search engine that has succeeded because of its simplicity… but, it contains an infinite amount of information once you enter its pages. The proposal is a prismatic building that covers the train station of Zoologischer Garten in Berlin. Like Google, it is apparently simple, but it contains geometric and
programmatic complexities.
Google’s program is clearly divided in two stratums: the top stratum is completely liberated as an office space thanks to the bottom stratum, which serves as a structural and technological motherboard for the Google offices. Therefore, the bottom floor is conceived as the floor that “suffers” because it contains the mega-structure and all of the machinery and installations that allow the office floor to be completely light and diaphanous. The office floor will be white, free, luminous and natural, while the machine floor will be black, dark and industrial. With this approach, the project is conceived as a series of opposite and interdependent situations.

The geometric condition for the project was that the building should be a volume with a minimal exterior expression. Like this, the project is formulated as a levitating box, as the roof of the train station. It is a simple prism that contains more complex geometry in its interior. A cosmetic skin covers the whole building to hide its insides. This cosmetic skin expresses simplicity of form, but with a specialization in each one of the façades, according to the interior conditions. This skin is the common denominator for all of the façades of the building, both vertical and horizontal.

The site is situated on the south-eastern extreme of Tiergarten. The urban intervention plans to return the piece of the park that had been used to make the Hardenbergplatz bus station. It is a trip back to the past that recovers the 1994 urban plan, where the park ended at the Zoologischer Garten station. The proposal involves substituting the current bus stops on a flat surface for the new extension of Tiergarten, where the bus stops coexist with the nature in the park. The passengers will have the impression of boarding and disembarking in a forest.

The office floor is liberated, becoming a completely open space where you can work between the plants. The small vegetation islands serve, not only as aesthetic and dividing elements, but they are also the main factor for air renovation. The plants have been chosen according to their effectiveness against contaminants that are produced by everyday objects in offices, such as wood agglomerates, fireproofing products, or printer ink.
Google’s work system is completely non-hierarchical; it is based on the interaction and exchange between each of the investigation groups. The furniture has been designed so as to enhance diversity, fluidity and interactivity between the Googlers.

The black floor where Google’s database is located “suffers” the effects of containing the main structural elements and machinery for the project. It is seen as an industrial space where computers and Googlers coexist, that is both the structural and technological motherboard for the project, which allows the office space above to be completely free. The source component in this space are the Google servers that are stored in industrial containers, whose organization optimize the use of space and reduce energy consumption.
Following yin and yang philosophy, Google’s server floor is once again subdivided in yin and yang. On the one hand, there is the server farm and the machinery for all of the installations; on the other, the public space where Googlers can descend to go to the restaurant, the meeting and technological exchange spaces, and all of the leisure zones. Therefore, the black floor becomes a dark space that is dense and full of movement of both people and machines.

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