Building Scale Mock-up

Facade Optimization & Performance Verification through Consultant and Owner Partnership



Photo of Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez


Atelier Ten

Photo of Asim Tahir

Asim Tahir

District & Renewable Energy Lead



Until recently, Google has occupied buildings that were designed for others and modified the interiors to suit its needs. Many of the improvements were constrained by the existing shells of these buildings. Tremendous resources were used to make up for the deficiencies of these shells, in old as well as new construction. The market was not providing the kind of shells that allowed Google to deliver high indoor environmental quality for our occupants. In this first ground up construction office building completed by Google, aspirational IEQ and user experience requirements shaped the project into a full scale mock-up, testing strategies and technologies for wider application across the organization’s real estate ventures. With a focus on a high performance building envelope to optimize thermal comfort, provide glare free views, and saturate office spaces with ample natural light, this project was delivered by a close-knit integrated design team and design-build contractor. In addition to investing in design phase consulting for daylighting and integrated design, Google partnered with a daylighting consultant to scope novel design handoff oversight services, providing opportunities to validate design phase modeling and simulation results with the final built reality, and also to test, tune, and ensure proper functionality of automated elements in the building skin. This project offers invaluable lessons learned in integrated design processes, building performance dependent on high-performance facade design, strategic owner involvement, and the value of team-wide priorities carried out from concept design into occupancy.


For the bulk of its existence, Google has grown it’s spatial footprint by leasing and filling existing buildings. As the organization has evolved, the value of healthy, comfortable, and high

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Case Study

Targeted daylighting simulation and analysis in the early design phases led to the optimization of the building skin around three critical topics; the experiential phenomena of daylight in the workplace

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Design Simulation Verification

Design phase modeling is limited in reliability to the accuracy of its assumptions, inputs, and execution. The project offered an important opportunity for Google to test how useful the design

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The Importance of Owner Engagement

Great care was taken to assemble the right design and delivery team, with a high value placed on collaborative spirit. The whole team understood the intent of this building as

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Conclusion and Future Work

Early direction is important for the team to understand how tensions within different project elements should be resolved. The 1212 Bordeaux team used the idea of a pile of stones

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Design Architect: Parabola Architecture
Design-Build Contractor and Architect of Record: Devcon
Structural Engineer: Nishkian Menninger
Civil Engineer: Kier & Wright
MEP Engineer: Point Energy Innovations
Acoustical: Charles M. Salter Associates
Daylighting: Integral Group
Commissioning: Enovity Inc.


2019 Design-Build Institute Of America National Award: Project Of The Year Finalist
2019 AIA California Leading Edge Award For Architecture
2019 AIA California Merit Design Award
2019 AIA Virginia Honor Design Award
2018 Architectural Record: Good Design Is Good Business
2018 Design-Build Institute Of America DBIA Western Regional Award
2018 Finalist Stephen R. Kellert Biophilic Design Award
2018 Silicon Valley Structures Award For Green Design

All photos and graphics by the authors.