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  7. Google EMEA Engineering Hub / Camezind Evolution

Google EMEA Engineering Hub / Camezind Evolution

  • 01:00 - 22 November, 2009
Google EMEA Engineering Hub / Camezind Evolution
Google EMEA Engineering Hub / Camezind Evolution, © Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

© Camenzind Evolution © Camenzind Evolution © Camenzind Evolution © Camenzind Evolution +37

  • Architects

  • Location

  • Architects

    Camenzind Evolution
  • Project Team

    Stefan Camenzind, Tanya Ruegg
  • Site Managment

    Quadras Baumanagement Ltd.
  • Building Engineering

    Amstein + Walthert Ltd.
  • Office Furniture Consultant

    Büronauten Ltd.
  • Client

    Google Inc.
  • Catering Consultant

    Planbar Ltd.
  • Area

    12000.0 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

From the architect. Google is not a conventional company, and does not intend to become one. This is readily apparent in their new offices for Google’s EMEA Engineering Hub in Zurich, Switzerland, where the design cultivates an energized and inspiring work environment that is relaxed but focused, and buzzing with activities

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

The new EMEA Engineering Hub is located within the ‘Hurlimann Areal’ within easy walking distance of Zurich city centre. The site was originally a local brewery that has been regenerated into a vibrant mixed-use development of apartments, shops, offices and a spa hotel. The Google building is a contemporary seven storey shell and core office block offering 12’000 m2 floor area for up to 800 staff.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

Google is in the process of rapid expansion in Zurich where the headcount has doubled in the last 12 months. The challenge for the architects was therefore to set up a tailor-made design and construction process, which would meet the tight time and budget constraints whilst endorsing a very broad participatory design methodology. Based on their method statements, Camenzind Evolution was selected in a competitive tender-interview process to become the lead architect and project manager for the interior design and fit-out of the new Google Engineering Hub.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

Google celebrates individuality, creativity and innovative business practice within a high-energy environment and emphasises the importance of the individual and maintaining a small-company ambience throughout company growth.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

A key element in the design approach was that the Googlers in Zurich (fondly referred to as Zooglers) should participate in the design process to create their own local identity. Under the guidance of the Director of International Real Estate at Google in Mountain View, an interactive and transparent approach to the architectural process was implemented from the beginning. A diverse team of local Zooglers were formed as the steering committee to represent the entire office. This committee reviewed, challenged and approved the design throughout the project. This unique method of engagement provided open collaboration, unique perspectives and ideas, and supplied a direct sense of ownership throughout the Zurich office. To this end Camenzind Evolution was neither given a specific brief nor a corporate identity manual and was explicitly asked not to research the organisation and design of other Google offices.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

The architects began with a rapid process of research and analysis to map out the opportunities and challenges posed by the building as well as the emotional and practical requirements of the Zooglers. The latter was achieved by conducting a survey of all the Zooglers, complemented by a series of workshops and interviews. This research, guided by a psychologist, extended beyond purely functional aspects, and provided information about the Zooglers personality types, representational systems, values and motivational factors.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

Although the details of the survey outcomes remain confidential, the process revealed that the optimal working environment for Zooglers needed to be diverse and at the same time harmonious whilst making it a fun and an enjoyable place to work in. The survey also showed that while personal workspace needed to be functional and more neutral, communal areas had to offer strong visual and more aesthetically enjoyable and entertaining qualities to stimulate creativity, innovation and collaboration.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

Based on the survey, concept options were developed and presented. The Zooglers decided early on that they preferred to reduce their personal net area of workspace in order to gain more communal and meeting areas. The working areas were therefore designed with a high degree of space efficiency. Additionally, they had to be able to accommodate frequent staff rotation and growth. On average a Googler moves twice a year within the building, consequently the office layout was designed for maximum adaptability so that all groups and departments can use any part of the office space. The office areas are organised along a central core and are a mixture of open-plan workspaces for 6-10 people and enclosed offices for 4-6 people.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

All office enclosures are constructed using a glass partition system, which maintains transparency and optimises daylight while reducing noise and achieving the required degree of privacy for working teams. Each office floor is colour-coded and themed for easy orientation, for example on the blue floor large photographs and graphics on the themes of water and snow enhance the colour concept and make it an integral part of the interior design.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

The Zoogler engineers tackle some of the most interesting challenges in computing today. As many of the teams in Zurich work together with Google teams all over the world, meeting rooms fitted with video-conferencing equipment are very important. Consequently there are a large number of small to medium-size meeting rooms situated throughout the office space. Apart from the standard meeting rooms, there are also many informal meeting areas, which have a more relaxed atmosphere for teams to have creative discussion around white-boards. Some of them also incorporate the theme of the floor, like the Igloo Satellite Cabins with penguins and the original ski-gondolas in a snow-scape on the blue floor.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

The concept of the communal areas relates directly to the project research conclusions and wider research that indicates relaxation to be crucial to innovation and stimulating original thought. Work and play are not mutually exclusive, or as Google puts it “it is possible to code and pass the puck at the same time”. Based on this concept Camenzind Evolution developed themed communal areas associated with sport and leisure, for example, an aquarium water lounge for relaxation and a games room to play billiards, table football and interactive video games. There is also an antique- themed library and a massage spa to soothe any tight shoulder muscles. Most of these spaces also contain ‘micro kitchens’ offering the Zooglers a variety of drinks and snacks throughout the day.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

The diversity of the communal areas provides a great choice of distinctive emotional and visual experiences and activities. These ensure that there is a suitably relaxing or inspiring environment for the individual needs of the more than 50 nationalities represented in the Zurich office. The communal areas are intentionally dispersed throughout the building to encourage Zooglers to circulate throughout the seven floors to enhance communication between the different working groups and teams. In this way the building has evolved into a Google city with easy reference points for Zooglers and visitors to navigate the building. To allow speedy movement with fun between floors, “quick connections” comprising fire poles to slide down, link some of the communal areas with the floor above – making sure the Zooglers can reach their coffee that bit faster. And for the really hungry Zooglers, a steep and fast slide spirals down from the offices on the first floor directly into the centre of the Milliways cafeteria on the ground floor.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

Food is very important to Google and the Zurich office is no exception. The Milliways cafeteria serves free breakfast, lunch and dinner and the chefs use only fresh, high quality ingredients and local produce to make healthy delicious food. Coming together for eating is also a great opportunity for the Zooglers to meet and talk to people they don’t work directly with. To balance the good food, a staffed gym offers yoga, Pilates and fitness classes and encourages the Zooglers to keep fit and healthy.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution

There are also a large number of technical talks at Google. Google ‘Tech Talks’ are designed to disseminate a wide spectrum of views on topics ranging from Current Affairs, Science and Engineering to Entertainment and the Arts. For these talks and many other events, conference facilities for up to 200 people have been designed on the ground floor.

© Camenzind Evolution
© Camenzind Evolution
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Google EMEA Engineering Hub / Camezind Evolution" 22 Nov 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Around Design! · August 03, 2012
Vasudev Ram · August 03, 2012

#Google #Zurich office:

prartana · July 02, 2012

Google EMEA Engineering Hub / Camezind Evolution | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Constantin Eugen Cozma · February 24, 2012

Wonderfull design ! This is how future workspaces and offices should look like! Google is a leading company and has become a model for their visionary aproach. And the participatory level in this design is also a good example. Yes, having a psychologist is very important, because design shouldn`t be made only for pretty pictures and architectural magazines, but for the people who use it!

Sasha Kurilovich · September 26, 2011

Google EMEA ? ??????? @archdaily

Puti Leony · August 16, 2011

Google EMEA Engineering Hub / Camezind Evolution | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Fabiola Johann Braun · July 14, 2011

Google EMEA Engineering Hub by Camezind Evolution #interior #design

kp · November 03, 2010

Don't understand question. Explain the conquering of interior design that you speak of, and please elucidate what "real architecture" is.

bobobo · November 03, 2010

How could these values (variety, potentially-emotional spaces, comfortable work places, combination of privacity and communication between employees, etc)overcome interior designing and be reached by real architecture???
Do you know of any project that achieves this goal in office designing??

Rob Chant · January 27, 2010

Ever wanted to know more about what goes into a #Google office space?

Kom Ali · January 26, 2010

i wish i could be working/relaxing/enjoying here!!!

jean grey · December 09, 2009

this is soooo bad.
generic nondescript "fun" architecture att its worst.

Hayat · November 28, 2009

Many aspects of the interiors express and reinforce the essential ideas of (google)such as variation, reaching , collecting pieces and much more.
Although the plan seems to be very functional , the experiences are interestingly changing ...I believe it's a good space for google!

Jealous · November 25, 2009

I think that it is very 'FUN'! I can't imagine having office visitors, and how exciting it would be to give them the grand tour! What a few people are really missing, is that they did this for their employees! They actually listened to what the employees though would make their workplace a fun but effective place to come to! I wish my employers did the same for our recent renovation!

Magnox · November 25, 2009

It looks like my local centre for people with learning difficulties.

Roberto · November 25, 2009

This is not architecture. It seems those decoration fairs. I do not think it must be so figurative to people can relax, like Diseny.

Dorota Narwojsz-Szal · November 24, 2009

very interesting

Wargo · November 24, 2009

Very Google.

eb · November 23, 2009

I;m sorry, but its really bad interior design. Cliche and phony, a collage of stuff that it's supposed to be "in" but very little creativity and vision.

AAV · November 23, 2009

If this were an interior design site, one would understand the post. But beeing an architecture site, I just can't understand it.

shatha · November 23, 2009

The project is interesting. By just looking at the plans, we my think that the space inside would be as any other ordinary space but by seeing the interiors you can figure out how proper interior designing can enhance the architecture of the place itself.
Good work.

Waela · November 23, 2009

As expected from Google, fun interior and a very interesting workspace, but I agree with kp, there's nothing special about the architecture.

ap · November 22, 2009

Really inspiring. Interesting, the project is built like an IT project (focus group,users tests, iteration, prototyping, production...)

the uninformed observer · November 22, 2009

The press release failed to mention it will all be in a landfill in three years.

kp · November 22, 2009

While the trimmings are silly and playful, the architecture seems pretty conventional.


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© Camenzind Evolution

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