Google opened its Kirkland campus in 2004, and the Kirkland and Fremont outposts combined have swelled to be the company’s third-largest engineering presence in the country. The over 1,000 employees in Kirkland work on high-profile Google products like Maps, Chrome, Android, and Hangouts, as well as the company’s cloud and advertising services.
The Kirkland campus is impressive in both size and design. The four buildings on campus are designed with the region’s geography in mind; office areas have themes such as “mountain” and “sound.” Building C’s DIY coffee bar is stocked with a rotating selection of Northwest-roasted coffee beans and various brewing methods — a feature chosen specifically for the Northwest office.
Google’s offices are meant to enhance productivity as well as relaxation. A climbing wall, dog park, and exercise areas indoors and out keep employees moving, while a nap cave and Zen garden give workers the chance to decompress. The names of some conference rooms — Tacoma Narrows, Sasquatch, and Sleater-Kinney — tap into local culture.
Sustainability was one focal point of the campus. In February, Google doubled its Kirkland footprint with the opening of Building D, at 180,000 square feet. The building is targeting LEED Platinum certification and features solar panels, a living wall, and an impressive HVAC system that makes office air cleaner than the air outside.
The site where Building D now sits was formerly a chemical mixing and packaging plant. Reclaimed wood from the construction site was used to make office furniture and the human-size nest featured on our cover. The nest serves as a centerpiece of the forest-themed offices in Building D.
Kirkland residents can enjoy parts of Google’s offices, too. The Cross Kirkland Corridor runs through campus, and Google built a multi-use sports field for neighboring Lakeview Elementary. Local artists have the opportunity to display their work on Google’s walls. The company also hosts community programs such as the Computer Science Summer Institute.
There’s a reason Kirkland Mayor Amy Walen compared Google’s office to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. The (sustainable) energy from the campus is infectious. And as the campus expands, more jobs will be created, and Kirkland has the bragging rights of being its home.
Walk it out: Google offers a diverse range of workspaces for its employees.
Chill time: This fabric living room is one of the campus’ many informal gathering areas.
Local art: An employee-led program works with local artists to showcase their work on Google’s walls.
Green spaces: One of the outdoor lounge areas includes a living wall.
The nest: Google’s nest replica is made from reclaimed wood from the construction site. The feature serves as the centerpiece of Building D’s forest-themed area.
Outside in: Large Skylights and automated window shades bring natural light to work and meeting areas.
Industrial look: The Puget Sound-themed part of Building D includes a shipping container, a crane, and a large skylight.
Walk around: Pedestrian bridges overlook the Cross Kirkland Corridor.
Fuel up The trail mix bar fits in with Building D’s campground-themed room.
Modern chic: Exposed ceilings and a sleek boardwalk add to the modern, functional aesthetic around the campus.
Local coffee: Employees can enjoy rotating Northwest-roasted coffee beans at the DIY coffee station.
Geo-design: Building D’s aesthetics are inspired by the region’s geography. This lobby is part of the forest-themed portion of the building.
Asian influence: No need to stress, a Zen garden is just outside the office.
Campfire: The campsite-themed workspace fits into the forest-themed section of Building D.
Let it flow: Fire hydrants in the colors of Google’s logo are a part of the campus dog park.
- The Cross Kirkland Corridor bisects Google’s campus, and the company installed basketball and sand volleyball courts, a TRX training area, and a kids’ playground for employees and residents to enjoy.
- The new building features a photovoltaic solar array and a rainwater catchment system that funnels rain into the plumbing system.
- The newest building was built on a site that once housed a chemical mixing and packaging plant. Google financed the cleanup of the site, and the Washington Department of Ecology plans to remove the area from the state’s contaminated sites list.
Architect: DLR Group
Builder: SRMKII, LLC
Office opened: 2004
Square footage: 375,000
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of “425 Business.”