When Google unveiled plans for its new headquarters, a sprawling, greenhouse-like canopied structure designed by Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick, it spoke of creating a revolutionary work environment with lightweight and mobile structures instead of "immoveable concrete buildings." And now there are new details as to how they'll make that happen. According to the Architects' Journal, the latest planning documents submitted to the City of Mountain View Council reveal that the interiors of the new Googleplex would be built by "crabots," an army of half-robot half-crane machines. These crabots would roam the interiors, moving around prefabricated structural components and establishing—pardon the Silicon Valley jargon —a "hackable system" for easy reconfiguration of the workspaces.
The planning documents reportedly also describe an interior system of steel columns and monocoque floor plates, which are "pre-fabricated steel trays" measuring about 16 by 46 feet. The crabots are expected to be able to lift a maximum of 20,000 pounds. The documents further explain: "The monocoque system has been tested in each of the buildings of this submittal and has proved a flexible and resilient system to various degrees of 'hacking' and customizing."
Update: Google's new HQ now appears to be in serious jeopardy after an extended city council meeting last night gave fellow tech giant LinkedIn rights to submit plans for 1.4 million square feet of the 2.2 million available in the area, leaving Google with just 515,000 square feet. That's only enough space to build one of the four buildings planned for the BIG and Heatherwick-designed campus, a development that a Google rep says will endanger the whole scheme. Head to Curbed SF for the whole story.
· Robots to build Heatherwick and BIG's proposed Google HQ [Architect's Journal via ArchDaily]
· A First Look at the Massive Modular Greenhouse BIG and Heatherwick Dreamed Up for Google [Curbed]
· All Bjarke Ingels coverage [Curbed]
· All Thomas Heatherwick coverage [Curbed]