Last week it came out that Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick were collaborating on an ambitious and massive new Google HQ in Mountain View, California. The news was accompanied by a clutch of renderings showing many translucent canopy structures reminiscent of giant greenhouses. This week, the Financial Times' longtime architecture critic Edwin Heathcote wrote a insightful column comparing the tech giant's first built-from-scratch campus, whose undulating alien bubbles will be spread across 3.4 million square feet, to a "Truman Show-style nightmare of total surveillance."
In trying so hard to reject the bland, concrete office-park look, Google has unwittingly veered toward the type of retro-futuristic, biodome-inspired architecture built to prepare for nuclear disasters during the Cold War, Heathcote argues. The end result, he says, is "a curiously sterile landscape that is neither city nor country and that evokes a paradise as seen through the lens of an ultimately dystopian science fiction."
He writes: "Google has the opportunity, the power and the money to build an entire city and anchor a new vision of urbanity — but instead it has retreated into a predictable, perhaps even slightly sinister vision of a private world enclosed under glass." Renderings of the future headquarters, below:
· Google's new HQ misses a trick with latest 'Glass' [Financial Times]
· "A Truman Show-Style Nightmare": Critics React to BIG and Heatherwick's Designs for Google [Arch Daily]
· A First Look at the Massive Modular Greenhouse BIG and Heatherwick Dreamed Up for Google [Curbed National]