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30 Workspaces for the World’s Biggest Tech Companies

For technology companies, image is everything. Whether it be the latest iPhone, the newest Slack interface, or the latest Uber app update, these multimillion-dollar giants strive daily to keep the user engaged, and to keep their image young, current, and cutting edge. Invariably, this need to be noticed transcends the digital screen, and manifests in the architecture of the offices where this innovation takes place.

Across the world, from Dublin to Tel Aviv to Tokyo, the workspaces of the world's largest tech companies are redefining how offices are designed, aided by leading architects such as Foster + Partners, Snøhetta, and Gehry Partners. While our recent article on solutions for flexible home offices reflects on strategic functionality and individual expression, the 30 workspaces below dedicate themselves to collaboration and inspiration through a play on scales, color, shapes, and unexpected fixtures.

Google Campus Dublin / Camenzind Evolution + Henry J. Lyons Architects. Image © Peter Wurmli Airbnb CX Hub / Bora Architects. Image © Jeremy Bitterman Slack Asia Pacific Headquarters / Breathe Architecture. Image © Peter Clarke Samsung Seocho / KPF. Image © Jae Seong Lee + 31

The We Company Launches Future Cities Initiative with Studio Dror

The We Company has announced plans to launch a Future Cities Initiative, hiring the head of Studio Dror and a former Google executive to lead the team. Dror Benshetrit and Di-Ann Eisnor will work with engineers, architects, data scientists, biologists, and economists to generate ideas addressing problems raised by globalization, urbanization, and climate change.

Known for pioneering works such as their vegetated biosphere in Montreal, Studio Dror has been creating visions for designing without boundaries since their inception 17 years ago. Working at the intersection of art, design, and architecture, Dror has led a team of designers, artists, architects, researchers, and communicators to create holistic design solutions for everything from a vase to a city masterplan, a lightbulb to an island, and a collaboration with NASA.

© Studio Dror © Studio Dror © Studio Dror © Studio Dror + 4

Sidewalk Labs Tests a 'Raincoat' for Buildings in Toronto

Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs is testing a "raincoat" for buildings, a prototype tensile structure that's made to make extreme weather more comfortable. Created as part of the Quayside smart city project in Toronto, the raincoat structure aims to help protect from wind and rain while lowering energy demands on buildings. Designed by Toronto-based RWDI and Partisans, the prototype debuted at Sidewalk's 307 office. Made from a thin plastic membrane, the raincoat will remain up for one year as teams test its performance.

Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike Building Raincoat Prototype. Image © David Pike + 19

OK Google, Let’s Talk Cities. All Things Urban London Meetup @ Google

All Things Urban London Meetup @ Google will bring together some of the coolest people in town to share their passion for urban innovation. Whether you’re an urban planner or a software engineer, a circular designer or a blockchain economist, join us at this multidisciplinary event to brainstorm the future of cities and urban professions.

To warm you up on this cold winter evening, we asked Michael Tymoff, Google's Mountain View Development Director, to give a remote talk from sunny California. Michael will tell how Google promotes urban innovation and plans to transform North Bayshore, a suburban office park, from a

Google Reveals North Bayshore Campus Plan

New details of Google's North Bayshore campus have been revealed. The latest scheme includes a combination of office, retail, public and residential space. Located in North Bayshore, California, the revised plan focuses on the site's natural environment and affordable housing.

Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Google Google North Bayshore Plan. Image Courtesy of Google Google Mountain View Campus. Image Courtesy of Google Google North Bayshore Plan. Image Courtesy of Google + 15

ZGF Reveals Google's New L.A. Office in Historic California Hangar

ZGF architects have completed Google's new L.A. office by transforming California's landmark Spruce Goose Hangar. Designed as a building-within-a-building, the project was built inside the seven-story, 750-foot-long historic wooden structure. The 450,000 SF, four-level design is sited between two existing Google properties, and the project aimed to unify the Playa Vista campus while bringing a new perspective to workplace through adaptive reuse.

Google Spruce Goose Hangar. Image Courtesy of ZGF Architects Google Spruce Goose Hangar. Image Courtesy of ZGF Architects Google Spruce Goose Hangar. Image Courtesy of ZGF Architects Google Spruce Goose Hangar. Image Courtesy of ZGF Architects + 5

Sidewalk Labs Unveils Future City Design for Toronto's Quayside Neighborhood

Sidewalk Labs has unveiled a new proposal for Toronto's eastern waterfront and a neighborhood development called Quayside. After announcing plans to create a model smart city in Toronto last fall, Sidewalk Labs has been working to pioneer a new approach to future urban developments. Plans for Quayside were revealed during a roundtable discussion on August 14, 2018. As the subsidiary of Google's parent company Alphabet, the team responded to an open call from Waterfront Toronto with a design that features heated pavements, large public spaces and mass timber buildings.

Quayside. Image Courtesy of Sidewalk Labs Quayside. Image Courtesy of Sidewalk Labs Quayside. Image Courtesy of Sidewalk Labs Quayside. Image Courtesy of Sidewalk Labs + 11

Virtual Reality Opens Up New Possibilities for Historic Preservation

In partnership with a 3D laser-scanning nonprofit called CyArk, Google Arts & Culture began the Open Heritage Project, a new chapter for historic preservation in the form of virtual reality. By using advanced 3D laser scanning technology, high-res drone photography, and DSLR cameras, CyArk can virtually recreate historic architecture to be more easily explored and restored.

Agoraphobic Traveller Takes Incredible Photos Through Google Street View

The Instagram account @streetview.portraits presents stunning images of people and architecture from Arizona to Kyrgyzstan. At first glance, it seems to be the work of a professional photographer gallivanting across the globe, but the owner of the account is actually Jacqui Kenny, a woman who suffers from agoraphobia and anxiety, capturing these beautiful images through Google Street View.

Through her alternative method of travel, Kenny discovered incredible scenes that displayed the magic of the ordinary: "I found a surprising and unique refuge in the creative possibilities of Google Street View. I began clicking through Google Maps to navigate to faraway countries like Mongolia, Senegal, and Chile. I found remote towns and dusty landscapes, vibrant architectural gems, and anonymous people, all frozen in time. I was intrigued by the strange and expansive parallel universe of Street View, and took screenshots to capture and preserve its hidden, magical realms."

"Zucktown, USA": Will Facebook Design Your Future City?

“Do people love tech companies so much that they would live inside them?” This is the question posed by The New York Times in an article reflecting on Facebook’s plans for Willow Village, a 59-acre urban district located at the company’s Menlo Park headquarters in San Francisco, California.

Google Reveals Plans for 1 Million Square Foot BIG-Designed Campus in Sunnyvale, California

Google has unveiled plans for a new campus in the Moffett Park area of Sunnyvale, California that will be located just a few miles from its long-awaited ‘Googleplex’ headquarters in Mountain View. And just like the company’s Mountain View and London campuses in the works, the building has been designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).

Located at 100 and 200 W. Caribbean Drive, the complex will consist of two terracing buildings containing over 1 million square feet of office space and room for up to 4,500 employees.

Aerial View. Image Courtesy of Google Ground North View. Image Courtesy of Google Ground South View. Image Courtesy of Google Roof View. Image Courtesy of Google + 4

Google's Tilt Brush Transforms Your Room Into A 3D-Modeling Workshop

Google has launched 'Tilt Brush', a powerful tool for designers available for Oculus and HTC Vive that allows artists to create 3D objects while fully embedded in Virtual Reality (VR).

Tilt Brush turns any room into the perfect canvas to capture all your creativity, allowing you to paint in real size with 3D brushes.

3XN Reveals Waving Mixed-Use Building Located Adjacent to Sidewalk Labs' Future Smart City

Danish firm 3XN has been selected as the winner of a competition to design a new mixed-use waterfront building in Toronto’s East Bayfront district that will be located on the edge of Google/Sidewalk Labs’ new smart community, Quayside.

Inspired by the reflection of the waves of Lake Ontario, ‘The Waves at Bayside’ will feature a undulating facade of metal balconies with views out to the water and a podium filled with public program including a rowing club and assortment of restaurants and cafes.

Looking northeast to The Waves at Bayside. Image © 3XN An aerial view of the project. Image © 3XN Looking down across the multi-tired decks onto the amenity terrace. Image © 3XN Angled balconies and terraces give all suites lake views. Image © 3XN + 10

Sidewalk Labs Announces Plans to Create Model Smart City on Toronto's Waterfront

Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto have revealed plans for a brand new community on Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront that will bring together “forward-thinking urban design and new digital technology to create people-centred neighbourhoods that achieve precedent-setting levels of sustainability, affordability, mobility, and economic opportunity.”

Public Realm Vision. Image Courtesy of Sidewalk Labs Sustainability Vision. Image Courtesy of Sidewalk Labs Digital Infrastructure Vision. Image Courtesy of Sidewalk Labs Housing Vision. Image Courtesy of Sidewalk Labs + 12

This Unique New Technology Hopes to Turn Your City’s Streets Into Your News Homepage

The people of Manchester, UK, recently gained access to an entirely new way to access local news and engage with their city: OtherWorld, a pilot news experiment from startup studio Like No Other and Google’s Digital News Initiative. OtherWorld uses Bluetooth and cutting-edge beacon technology to deliver geo-located news directly to your smartphone for free, without installing an app. Referred to on the OtherWorld website as “living media,” as users walk around the city and pass by story locations, a silent notification will pop up on their phones, disappearing again as they walk out of range. Because the news you see on OtherWorld is directly related to the space you’re currently occupying, the system ensures that the news you’ll see is relevant to you. This unobtrusive method allows users to choose whether and how they will engage as well as adding an evanescent, elusive quality to the stories; you could walk right by and miss one if you aren’t paying attention.

In this way, OtherWorld illustrates the layers of our cities that are often invisible to us, bringing them into focus and allowing a deeper level of exploration into even a familiar city neighborhood. Focusing on stories that involve a real-world experience, users could become aware of an event nearby, a volunteer opportunity, a public meeting, or any number of other possibilities—thereby involving themselves in the public space and public realm in a way they would not have otherwise been able to.

This Super Fast Algorithm Edits Photographs Like a Professional – Before You Take Them

In the past decade or so, smartphones and social media apps have revolutionized our culture's relationship to images. From Instagram to Facebook to Pinterest to Youtube, photographs and videos are now so ubiquitous that they have become literally disposable, with apps such as Snapchat trading on their promise to delete your images after a certain period of time. But while smartphones are a very visible driver of this change, what is often forgotten are the huge developments in image-editing software that have supported this revolution—from the HDR built into your smartphone's camera to the wide range of filters provided by Instagram.

Now, as reported by MIT News, Google and MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory may have created another cosmic leap forward: an algorithm that can provide automatic, professional-level image retouching so quickly that you can see a preview before even snapping the photograph.

Google Unveils Images of its New BIG and Heatherwick-Designed London Campus

Google has submitted the design for its new London office to Camden Council for planning approval. Designed by BIG and Heatherwick Studio, the 11-story "groundscraper" design will be located in King's Cross, and will combine with their existing office at 6 Pancras Square and a third, forthcoming building to create a campus for up to 7,000 Google employees.

Courtesy of Google Courtesy of Google Courtesy of Google Courtesy of Google + 6

Zaha Hadid Celebrated in Latest Google Doodle

The latest Google Doodle, on display today on Google's homepage in many countries around the world, honors the late Zaha Hadid on the 13th anniversary of her acceptance of the Pritzker Prize. The highest honor in the architectural profession, Hadid became the first woman to be selected as a winner in 2004.

The doodle portrays the architect in front of one of her most acclaimed buildings, the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan. Earlier concepts for the doodle are shown to have featured Hadid's designs for the Glasgow Riverside Museum and Galaxy Soho in Beijing.