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The Many Lives of Architecture

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

Google Headquarters
By Editorial Staff -

After first making office landfall on the European continent in the United Kingdom, US web giant Google has decided to expand the company into the heart of central Europe by building offices in
Berlin. The project concept follows on from the previous collaboration in London with Allford Hall Monaghan Morris (AHMM). The new complex will expand the multinational technology company’s resources outside the British territory. Google already had a German office on Berlin’s Unter den Linden boulevard, but its lease was due to run out in 2018; the YouTube offices have been in shared accommodation with the Met Film School on the outskirts of the city.

The Mountain View-based giant has been a growing company for years. The services it offers are known all over the world, it is used daily by billions, and it is now essential to create new office space to bring together its two main business lines: YouTube and search.

In 2015, the AHMM architecture firm assessed the feasibility of renovating a number of buildings in Brunnenstrasse and Tucholskystrasse. Their preliminary analysis found the Gropius Ensemble building, a former women’s hospital which enjoys a privileged position due to its proximity to the Spree River and famous Museum Island, to be the most suitable site. Built by Martin Gropius and Heino Schmieden, this architectural complex dates back to 1883. It suffered significant damage in the terrible World War II bombardments. It was renovated and expanded in 2014 by David Chipperfield, as part of a plan to develop the “Forum an der Museumsinsel”.

AHMM’s intervention applied the technological philosophy of the new millennium, transforming it into architectural changes that adapt to modern needs while respecting the building’s historical monument listing. Renovation work mainly consisted of improving travel flow for future employees though the premises, and softening the pre-existing structure’s formal rigidity. Finishes applied in 2014 were removed to reveal the original materials, making it possible to showcase and celebrate the building’s history. In particular, the YouTube dedicated zone has a double-height entrance accessible from the riverside pathway. The ground floor houses spaces for hosting both large YouTuber events and small discussion groups. Considering the importance of the use of technological devices, the whole area is fully wired up to allow any kind of connection. Next door are recording studio rooms, video editing suites and post production teaching facilities, a storage facility for transmission equipment, and a lecture hall that can host up to 80 participants.

All this, plus refreshment areas for socializing and exchanging ideas, in perfect harmony with the American company’s modern and youthful style.

Location: Berlin, Germany
Client: Google
Completion Date: 2019
Gross Floor Area: 8,053 m2
Architect: Allford Hall Monaghan Morris
Project Management: Mace
Main Contractor: ISG

Structural and Civil:
Cost Estimator: CBRE
Construction Documents: C&E Berlin
Fire System: HHP Berlin
Lighting: L-Plan Berlin
Acoustics: Sandy Brown
Study of Environmental

All images courtesy of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris

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