News

Google wants to incorporate wildlife into new office project

Plans unveiled for office complex on wetland's edge

The planners behind Google's first ground-up office development in Silicon Valley want to bring wetland wildlife into the project, plans which a wildlife advocate described as "hopeful."

The 1.1 million-square-foot campus slated for NASA Ames Research Center will include incorporate existing and some man-made wetlands throughout, and may even include nests for birds in an effort to stimulate the creativity of employees by watching nature up close, said Google's John Igoe to a crowd in the NASA Ames conference center on May 29.

A panel of planners hired by Google promised one of the most environmentally friendly office building ever built, with green roofs, man-made wetlands to treat waste-water and ultra-efficient radiant heating and cooling. Lighting will be 100 percent natural light in most rooms, for a 46-percent reduction in energy use and using 80 percent less tap water use than typical buildings.

The campus could house over 3,600 employees and is slated for a 42-acre parcel adjacent to the Bay's wetlands at NASA Ames Research Center, where Google has been a partner in various NASA projects since 2006.

Rather than "completely separate" the building from its surroundings, the design "invites people to come out of their hermetically sealed box and become a part of what's outdoors," said Ryan Mullenix of Ohio-based NBBJ, the architecture firm hired by Google. "We actually call it 'NASA to Nature,'" bridging the industrial side of NASA Ames to the natural side of the wetlands, he said.

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Mullenix added that focusing on the surrounding environment was a way to go above and beyond what is usually measured in ratings for green design.

The Audubon Society has blamed development encroaching on the Bay for the sharp decline of the rare burrowing owl, the numbers of which hover around a dozen at Moffett Field and Shoreline Park. A few burrowing owl nesting sites are adjacent to the site and the owls may use the site for foraging, according to a map of owl sites released by NASA last month.

While Google's planners did not mention the burrowing owl in their talk, Google's landscape architect, Cheryl Barton, said planners were working to "enrich the habitat" and "encourage species diversity by bringing the wetland up, in and through the site in terms of infrastructure.

"Planners are working with a wildlife biologist to create nesting structure for bats and swallows to inhabit the site and be comfortable with human beings," she said.

Audubon reaction

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Local Audubon chapter president Bob Power has worked with Google to reduce the project's impacts on the owls, but said he'd prefer it not be built at all.

"We'd prefer that development in the South Bay stop," Powers said. "If we could magic-wand it, we'd roll back the clock 50 years -- burrowing owls would be running amok."

Barton said employees would find the campus a quiet, restful place. "On the edge of Bay, the sense of the Bay is profound." Planners want to carry that through the site and create and "appreciation of messiness, beautiful messiness" and "a stewardship of this particular landscape."

She promised that efforts in regards to wildlife would be "beyond protective" and would involve long range monitoring.

Powers said any effort to create nests for birds or burrows for the owls on the site "would be a hopeful environmental solution, certainly not a guaranteed solution. In some areas they seem to be able to deal with human activity. Ideally they would like us to go away, I can tell you that."

To Powers, the bottom line was that encroaching on wildlife habitat was a bad idea.

"Let's do good urban planning and take care of all the empty warehouses and office buildings and maximize what's been built and not do anything unless everybody agrees it's absolutely necessary," Powers said.

In presenting the project, Igoe said the quiet and isolated location would allow "a frictionless environment" for employees who "very much enjoy working on various algorithms" allowing them to focus on the work.

Mountain View City Council members have also expressed concerns about the environmental impact of the project. The council has delayed a vote on an automobile bridge over Stevens Creek that would connect it to Google headquarters at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, which Google says is crucial for the project. The project itself is within city limits but outside the authority of the Mountain View City Council, because it is on federally owned property.

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Google wants to incorporate wildlife into new office project

Plans unveiled for office complex on wetland's edge

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Jun 7, 2013, 12:08 pm
Updated: Mon, Jun 10, 2013, 10:43 am

The planners behind Google's first ground-up office development in Silicon Valley want to bring wetland wildlife into the project, plans which a wildlife advocate described as "hopeful."

The 1.1 million-square-foot campus slated for NASA Ames Research Center will include incorporate existing and some man-made wetlands throughout, and may even include nests for birds in an effort to stimulate the creativity of employees by watching nature up close, said Google's John Igoe to a crowd in the NASA Ames conference center on May 29.

A panel of planners hired by Google promised one of the most environmentally friendly office building ever built, with green roofs, man-made wetlands to treat waste-water and ultra-efficient radiant heating and cooling. Lighting will be 100 percent natural light in most rooms, for a 46-percent reduction in energy use and using 80 percent less tap water use than typical buildings.

The campus could house over 3,600 employees and is slated for a 42-acre parcel adjacent to the Bay's wetlands at NASA Ames Research Center, where Google has been a partner in various NASA projects since 2006.

Rather than "completely separate" the building from its surroundings, the design "invites people to come out of their hermetically sealed box and become a part of what's outdoors," said Ryan Mullenix of Ohio-based NBBJ, the architecture firm hired by Google. "We actually call it 'NASA to Nature,'" bridging the industrial side of NASA Ames to the natural side of the wetlands, he said.

Mullenix added that focusing on the surrounding environment was a way to go above and beyond what is usually measured in ratings for green design.

The Audubon Society has blamed development encroaching on the Bay for the sharp decline of the rare burrowing owl, the numbers of which hover around a dozen at Moffett Field and Shoreline Park. A few burrowing owl nesting sites are adjacent to the site and the owls may use the site for foraging, according to a map of owl sites released by NASA last month.

While Google's planners did not mention the burrowing owl in their talk, Google's landscape architect, Cheryl Barton, said planners were working to "enrich the habitat" and "encourage species diversity by bringing the wetland up, in and through the site in terms of infrastructure.

"Planners are working with a wildlife biologist to create nesting structure for bats and swallows to inhabit the site and be comfortable with human beings," she said.

Audubon reaction

Local Audubon chapter president Bob Power has worked with Google to reduce the project's impacts on the owls, but said he'd prefer it not be built at all.

"We'd prefer that development in the South Bay stop," Powers said. "If we could magic-wand it, we'd roll back the clock 50 years -- burrowing owls would be running amok."

Barton said employees would find the campus a quiet, restful place. "On the edge of Bay, the sense of the Bay is profound." Planners want to carry that through the site and create and "appreciation of messiness, beautiful messiness" and "a stewardship of this particular landscape."

She promised that efforts in regards to wildlife would be "beyond protective" and would involve long range monitoring.

Powers said any effort to create nests for birds or burrows for the owls on the site "would be a hopeful environmental solution, certainly not a guaranteed solution. In some areas they seem to be able to deal with human activity. Ideally they would like us to go away, I can tell you that."

To Powers, the bottom line was that encroaching on wildlife habitat was a bad idea.

"Let's do good urban planning and take care of all the empty warehouses and office buildings and maximize what's been built and not do anything unless everybody agrees it's absolutely necessary," Powers said.

In presenting the project, Igoe said the quiet and isolated location would allow "a frictionless environment" for employees who "very much enjoy working on various algorithms" allowing them to focus on the work.

Mountain View City Council members have also expressed concerns about the environmental impact of the project. The council has delayed a vote on an automobile bridge over Stevens Creek that would connect it to Google headquarters at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, which Google says is crucial for the project. The project itself is within city limits but outside the authority of the Mountain View City Council, because it is on federally owned property.

Comments

ric
Monta Loma
on Jun 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm
ric, Monta Loma
on Jun 10, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Does no one else see the irony in this development and Google's greenwashing of it?

For many, many decades, those 42 acres have been the habitat and hunting ground for snowy egrets, great herons, marsh hawks, redtail hawks, black shouldered kites, pheasants, hares, rabbits, california king snakes, western rattlers, foxes and many, many smaller creatures. On two occasions I've seen a golden eagles take a hare from that area.

That habitat and hunting ground has now been bulldozed into oblivion.

NASA Ames management should be embarrassed and ashamed to allow this to happen. But they are not because money talks and habitat be damned.


Chuck
Old Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Chuck, Old Mountain View
on Jun 10, 2013 at 7:30 pm

ric makes a good observation.
I have seen an eagle take a snake there for brunch.
Also I have not seen an owl in two years out there.

Just curious:
How much did Google pay the government for the land they are building the expansion of a highly profitable company on?


Ex-Serf
Blossom Valley
on Jun 11, 2013 at 11:34 am
Ex-Serf, Blossom Valley
on Jun 11, 2013 at 11:34 am

Rumor has it they plan on keeping wildlife there by giving the animals free meals and dry cleaning so they never have/get to leave the office area.


Garrrett
another community
on Jun 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm
Garrrett, another community
on Jun 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I like the idea of this buildings, we have buildings that are near the bay, look at the Main Google campus, Moffett Park area, I think we can create space for birds, critters, wildlife and their support systems. I have seen some of those office parks built. Lawn and parking lots.


Pam
Shoreline West
on Jun 12, 2013 at 8:28 am
Pam, Shoreline West
on Jun 12, 2013 at 8:28 am

I agree with Bob Power - no more development.

We need OPEN spaces more than we need Google or any other company. Isn't the traffic on Shoreline Blvd a sign??? Use existing bldgs or better yet get out of town.


Garrett
another community
on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm
Garrett, another community
on Jun 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Of course lets go find open land, lets build on the following open ground. Range land, farm land, horse property, grass land, dessert, yes lets build on somewhere that might have other wild life habit. We will just build more suburbs with strip malls, 6 lane streets, with more office parks, warehouses. Also create the need for more airports and freeways, create more water usage.

We could use this project to showcase the need to create wildlife habit inside of developments. We have miles upon miles of empty roofs, large parking area, lawns and more lawns. landscaping that looks nice but what does it support. A view from an office.


Jean S.
Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm
Jean S., Old Mountain View
on Jun 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

This is federal land and is going to be private property. Is there any requirement that the public will be allowed there? Seems like it should be public....did the taxpayers get to vote on selling this?


Garrett
another community
on Jun 13, 2013 at 5:54 am
Garrett, another community
on Jun 13, 2013 at 5:54 am

The land is leased to Google.


Janet L
Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2013 at 9:42 am
Janet L, Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2013 at 9:42 am

My co-workers and I have had the delight of having a nests of swallows in the eaves outside our office windows. A few co-workers complained of the mess they left on the ground below the nest, but overall people loved seeing the birds and raise their chicks. It made coming to work more fun for the few months the birds were there.


Tod
Shoreline West
on Jun 15, 2013 at 8:45 pm
Tod, Shoreline West
on Jun 15, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Good. Money helps the wetlands. We need interest and interaction, because everything will change when the water rises...


Citizen
another community
on Jun 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm
Citizen, another community
on Jun 17, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Please try very hard to remember that wildlife is Wild. While I agree seeing nature in its natural state is a wonderful experience for humans, it is life threatening to wildlife.

Why I even learned in last summer in my travels across the west, that if you see wild life while driving your car you should not get out of the car. Any interaction with Wildlife reduces the natural avoidance that animals have to humans and may cause them to encroach more into human populations.

The world was not entirely created for our "entertainment."

Keep the wetlands Wild!


Old Ben
Shoreline West
on Jun 18, 2013 at 9:43 am
Old Ben, Shoreline West
on Jun 18, 2013 at 9:43 am

Given the bloodbath that is the commercial real estate market in this Valley, I see no need whatsoever to ravage existing wetlands in order for the Googloids to nest together. There's plenty of vacant commercial space around in this severely overdeveloped Valley. There's a word for unlimited growth: it's called CANCER.


Patrick
Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm
Patrick, Old Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm

How can you call your restaurant Steins and not even offer the beer in Steins. It is a disgrace. I went there once and was very unimpressed with how they set up the bar and restaurant. A true beer garden should have long tables from end to end and serve steins of beer to customers. This is just a regular bar/restaurant and nothing more.

As a side note the food and beer was good and the service was OK.


Old Ben
Shoreline West
on Jun 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm
Old Ben, Shoreline West
on Jun 19, 2013 at 4:06 pm

That beer must have been fabulous. You're posting in the wrong thread, Patrick.


Traffic Pained
Whisman Station
on Jun 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm
Traffic Pained, Whisman Station
on Jun 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Has anybody even thought about the amount of traffic this is going to put on to the roads in an already congested area... yechhhhhh

Here we are worrying about birds, but what about all the noise, pollution and congestion we are now adding to our roads. First it was Google on Shoreline, now we are adding more traffic to Moffett Blvd, 101 and 85... isn't what we deal with now painful enough?


SiliconHouse
Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2013 at 10:26 am
SiliconHouse, Old Mountain View
on Jul 8, 2013 at 10:26 am

Dear Googlers,

As you know, I am one of the co-founders of Silicon House (www.siliconhouse.us). I am an entrepreneur helping other entrepreneurs with our unique business hub concept. We make important business connections for visitors from all around the world that come to Silicon Valley to start their businesses. So far we've had people from Korea, China, Brazil, Austria, Romania and many other places stay for 3 weeks at a time, with a tailored program catered to the entrepreneur's needs.

REQUEST
Since we are based in Mountain View, we thought it would be a very positive, nice gesture for Google to provide 5 "Google Bikes" that could be housed in our garage for the entrepreneurs to use when they stay with us (we are biking distance to the Google campus). It would be good local PR, positive branding, and a nice touch for entrepreneurs that have traveled half way across the planet to be in this special place we call Silicon Valley.

Would a donation or lending of the bikes from Google to Silicon House be possible – and if so, would you be able to either make it happen or connect me with the appropriate decision maker?

Thank you for the kind and gracious attention – I genuinely appreciate the support!


Name hidden
Cuesta Park

on Jun 3, 2017 at 11:02 pm
Name hidden, Cuesta Park

on Jun 3, 2017 at 11:02 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


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