Google unveils plans for its huge environmentally friendly San Jose campus

It'll look like a real neighborhood and not a tech campus, based on early plans and renders.


Google has given us a glimpse of its San Jose campus, and based on the renders and details it has released, it won’t look anything like a corporate facility once it’s done. Unlike other campuses that are closed off, the one in San Jose was designed to be a true part of the city. Half of the 80 acres it will occupy is reserved for residential spaces and other amenities that will be open to local residents.

The tech giant wants to build buildings for nonprofits, maker and retail spaces, as well as a hotel and a performance area for live events and music screenings. It has even set aside areas for food trucks. And, yes, there’ll be lots and lots of open green spaces where people can enjoy nature in the middle of the campus: Employees and visitors will have at least 10 parks and several trails they can visit. (The project’s lead urban designer is SITELAB urban studio.)

Alexa Arena, Google's district lead for San Jose, said the campus was designed with climate change in mind. Nearly all of the buildings will be powered by solar and other types of renewable energy — they’ll even feature rooflines and shapes optimized to harness the power of the sun. To reduce single-car use, Google will build the campus in a way that’ll allow people to access 65 percent of it through bike, public transit, foot or carpool. Plus, the campus will have ecological viewing areas built to raise awareness about various environmental issues. Arena said those elements are “a huge step forward in [Google’s] fight against climate change, which we can experience so acutely in Northern California today.”

Google has released a lengthy document (PDF) detailing all its plans for the new campus, and you can see it in its entirety on San Jose’s official website. At the moment, the company is aiming to build 30 buildings and around 4,000 housing units to house around 25,000 employees. That said, the campus’ final design could be much different. Google is asking people for their thoughts on the proposal, which still has to face final approval in 2021.

This article contains affiliate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.