Google, the Internet search engine giant, is to build its own office space. The company is planning a cutting-edge, environmentally friendly design and has agreed to pay Mountain View, in California, $30 million to lease 9.4 acres of land near Shoreline Boulevard – one of the highest prices ever for land  in that section of the city. Google has hired Ingenhoven Architects, a German firm that specialises in sustainable architecture and has completed award-winning green designs in various countries, to develop plans for what could total nearly 600,000 sq. feet of space.  Google currently owns or leases about 4.3 million sq. feet of space in Mountain View. “We’ve asked them to build the most green, sustainable building possible,” said Jordan Newman, a Google spokesman.

Ingenhoven has designed buildings in Europe, Asia and Australia, including a tubular glass-and-steel structure for the new European Investment Bank headquarters in Luxembourg and a new zero-emission railway station in Stuttgart, Germany, that will require no heating, cooling or mechanical ventilation.

Many of Ingenhoven’s projects have incorporated renewable energy sources such as geothermal  energy as well as conservation features, and its design for a new 30-storey office tower in Sydney, Australia, includes an atrium open to the sky that runs up the entire height of the building, providing ventilation and light.   

Since it was founded in a garage at Menlo Park, California, in 1998, Google’s success has meant a continual hunt for larger homes – from an upstairs office in downtown Palo Alto to its first Mountain View office at Bayshore Parkway. In 2003, Google leased and later bought the former headquarters of Silicon Graphics, a cluster of buildings that now makes up the heart of what is known as “Googleplex”.  Google’s headquarters zone now includes over 65 buildings that stretch along a mile of Charleston Road, more than double the space the company occupied in 2005.

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