Whether a company is building a bespoke HQ, leasing an existing building or repurposing a different structure entirely, the only constant remains the growing need to find a way in which the speed of property provision can match the speed of the technology industry as a whole. In a boom-and-bust industry, as technology has tended to be, matching supply with demand can be a tricky task.
It’s an ever-evolving question that companies are finding their way around. Much of Silicon Valley is enjoying a technological boom right now but just a few short years back, it was looking pretty touch-and-go for some of the Valley’s prime real-estate. Smaller, more agile companies and startups are looking to exploit cheap rent in fringe neighborhoods while others are building enterprise palaces to reflect their global power.
What follows is a look at the various methods and notable examples of tech’s speculative castles, massive office blocks that narrowly avoided permanent abandonment, cleverly repurposed buildings and some historic monuments that in one way or another, helped us along to where we are technologically today.
We’ve split this over a few pages to make it easier to read, but if you’d prefer to view it on one page, you can do that too.
Apple’s upcoming ‘Spaceship’ Campus 2 development is one highly-visible (in every sense) case in point.
First proposed at a Cupertino City Council meeting by Steve Jobs back in 2011 (below) and now looking likely to open its doors in 2016 following some short delays, the 2.8 million square-foot campus will serve as Apple’s newest headquarters and will provide a new circular office, an R&D building, a 1,000 seat auditorium, a fitness center, a central plant, parking and a separate 300,000 square-foot research facility.
This aside, all the power it draws will be from 100 percent renewable sources and while its aim might be to maximize efficiency and convenience for Apple employees, it’s not all R&D buildings; 80 percent of the site will be open space, and it will also play home to more than 7,000 trees. There will even be 300 electric vehicle charging stations and a raft of eco-friendly transport options to get employees to work.
“Steve transformed Apple into one of the most innovative companies in the world and we understand the responsibilities that come from carrying his legacy forward with this project,” said Dan Whisenhunt, Apple’s head of real estate and facilities. “We’ve designed it with the same care and attention to detail as we do with all Apple products.”
When it is finally complete, there will be around 12,000 employees filling the campus.
Google’s new London HQ in Kings Cross
Google confirmed that it would be moving its UK headquarters in the capital to a new site in Kings Cross in central London back in January last year.
What followed was high-profile news of how it would include a rooftop pool and athletics track in its 1 million square feet of space, however, that wasn’t to be and the existing designs were shelved for the time being.
Exactly what the new building will be like is yet to be seen, but Google said at the time that it remained committed to the project in the long-term, if not the formerly proposed design. Unfortunately, a fresh design could take up to two years, according to the architectural news site bdonline.
Interestingly, the reason behind the change of heart is a review of its global properties to ensure they’re all aligned philosophically, which is sort of the opposite of the agile (software) development we’ve come to expect from the company.