A primary vision was to merge the idea of workplace with the experiences found in an educational environment into a new way of working and maintenance of an edge. The reasoning for this was the idea that within the loosely structured university system, there are resources available to allow the individual to conceive, investigate, and execute the impossible—and that is how Google was originally conceived.
Unlike the traditional office, the higher education experience offers many opportunities. In a university environment, you typically have the option of self-directed work, a selection of work styles or work environments, independent study subject choices, either private or within a group. For example, a lesson learned from Stanford University was that coding engineers worked best in groups of 3 to 4. In addition, a typical campus environment also offers the concept of self containment, so within the immediate area, all of your basic work / life needs can be met and the possibility of casual encounters with fellow “students” for collaboration or recreation is possible anytime during the day or night. At the university level, these opportunities are to support the goals of personal education, with a focus on each individual’s interests, but when these interests become common to a community, the results can be very powerful.
In addition, “tech-talk” and formal lecture areas were provided where learning or teaching could occur in an organized fashion, but there were also common white boards located along the “street” for the impromptu discussions on the problems of the day. The concept was continued through the design of 13 individual environments, which re-created environments, usually found on a college campus, and were systematically integrated into the overall design of each building by the use of a hot and cold diagram: Hot areas being more public and active zones, while cold being more secluded and private. These zones were defined by location along the primary and secondary circulation corridors.
The result of providing an environmental backbone support for the combination of independent study, along with the opportunity for community accomplishment offers the best of all possibilities: one which satisfies the needs of the individual as well as the collective, and results in the success of both.