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workplace lounge with piano and fishing net art installation, garage doors open to mountain views at sunset
Google Kirkland Urban

A Design Focused on Community, Creativity and Collaboration

Client

Google, LLC

Project Location

Kirkland, WA

Services

Interior design, engineering

Certifications

LEED Gold

Across the campus’ Central and North buildings, Kirkland Urban’s design rethinks the office “norm” with artful design metaphors, functional innovations, and progressive sustainability measures. The design of the buildings on Google’s Kirkland Urban Campus ties them together with a theme that honors past, present, and future: “Made in Washington.” Here, we unpack the story of North and Central.

Tour the Campus

Across both buildings, a handful of anchors helped focus the multi-disciplinary team’s energy during the design process, and now drive a dynamic, engaging user experience.



01
The Metaphor

A Stairway to Heaven

The design metaphor “Made in Washington” was inspired by user engagements where employees professed the multitude of ways they love their state. Going beyond standard landmark cues, the campus provokes deep awareness of the region’s history from industry to geology, agriculture to the arts. At Central, representations of the state’s identity stack across levels, engaging all senses along the way. Binding this progression of place is a massive, continuous six-level curved steel connecting stair. Modeled after the spiral form of a wood shaving, it ties to timber as the backbone of Washington industry.

02
The Motion

Transformable Work Studios

In a fast paced and evolving industry, Google needs spaces that offer agility and flexibility. At North, the design team created a custom, movable wall system. The built-from-scratch product – developed in partnership with a trusted furniture manufacturer – introduces hyper-flexibility, allowing teams to reconfigure space on the fly without needing to engage facilities or maintenance teams. This brings a space transformation cycle from two weeks to a matter of minutes. With whiteboards, acoustical felt pin-up surface, and transparency, the dynamic wall becomes a functional work surface.

03
The Makers

The Art is in the Making

Where horizontal and vertical circulation join at the spiral, adjacent social and collaboration space is signaled with bold color, artful touches, and experiential graphics. Engaging local artists and makers brings whimsical, hands-on moments that blur the boundaries between architecture and art, while tying back to the Made in Washington metaphor. A massive commercial fishing net hangs from the ceiling on one level, while another level’s lounge sports custom wallcovering made entirely from vintage airline playing cards.

Googlers and guests are welcomed with a glimpse into the building's theme in a dramatic elevator bay, featuring custom sculptural lighting carved by Washington topography.

A lounge on the Aviation floor features a wall made entirely of vintage airline playing cards, and an airplane food cart repurposed as a game vault.

04
The Materials

Verified Material Transparency

The design team worked closely with Google’s Sustainability team to achieve unprecedented levels of materials transparency related to user health, testing the feasibility of the Living Building Challenge Materials petal and making significant strides in verified materials transparency (VMT.) Inspired by consumer transparency movements in fashion and beauty, VMT tracks material cost and quantity alongside the Red List, designated as harmful to living creatures or the environment, embodied carbon, volatile organic compound emissions, and net positive waste. The project also achieves LEED Gold certification, balancing building performance measures with user comfort measures including mechanical, daylighting, LED lighting, and water systems.

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