Google Borregas

Sunnyvale, CA

This impressive five-story office building—Google’s first ground-up mass timber development—sets new standards for biophilic and structural design, construction techniques, material sourcing, and carbon reduction. Google approached 1265 Borregas with the objective of creating a scalable building solution that puts health and sustainability first as they work towards their goal to operate on carbon-free energy by 2030.

Elegant in its simplicity, the LEED Platinum building leverages mass timber as a way to dramatically reduce carbon emissions and create a warm, welcoming, and healthy workspace. Architects mixed single- and double-height spaces and connected them with a four-story atrium illuminated by a timber-glass skylight, bringing in natural sunlight and creating both visual and physical connections between teams and individuals within the building. Glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams and columns and cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels are left exposed throughout the interior. Knowing that adaptability is essential for Google’s business, designers worked to provide flexibility for future reconfigurations that maximize long-term functionality of the space.

Unique design elements add to the building’s comfort and energy efficiency. An innovative envelope system filters light through a closed-cavity skin with climate-controlling wooden blinds and high-performance glass, creating a façade that gives the illusion of a natural, timber-clad building. Responding to the levels of sunlight, the blinds reduce operating and energy costs, while limiting glare and allowing views out to the landscape.

The building’s exterior is also distinguished by soaring cantilevers, which create covered outdoor seating areas and invite light into the interior. These 14-foot cantilevered floor plates were made possible using an innovative wood-concrete composite system that connected CLT panels with concrete beams and slabs using glued-in shear connectors. The assembly met span and loading requirements while reducing beam depths.

The beauty and simplicity of the design and engineering are celebrated by keeping the structure authentic and exposed. The project team met seismic requirements with a hybrid design approach, using the CLT floor panels as a horizontal diaphragm and positioning large buckling-restrained steel braced frames within the mass timber gravity system. Because the steel carried no gravity load, the frames could be left exposed without need for intumescent paint or other fireproofing coatings.

Biophilic design strategies distinguish Google’s 1265 Borregas from other offices. The design team used mass timber to emphasize occupant health and well-being, blending natural materials with daylit interiors, views, and organic textures to create a workplace that aligns naturally with the company’s commitment to innovation and collaboration.
With this building, Google shows that it places a high priority on the health of both their people and the environment. The project demonstrates how they were able to meet ambitious biophilic and sustainability goals by using mass timber to build a high performance building.

Version History
  • Project last updated by WoodWorks on 06-10-2024
Version History
  • Project last updated by WoodWorks on 06-10-2024
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