Google expansion is latest employee perk designed to spark innovation

Image from architectural firm NBBJ

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Google is already known for great employee perks like free gourmet meals and haircuts, but the Internet search leader is looking to give its workers even more incentive to be innovative in the technology game.

As seen in the NBBJ rendering above, a new 1.1-million-square-foot campus designed according to the working habits of thousands of employees is the ticket.

The search and advertising giant is ramping up to break ground on a 42-acre campus called Bayview next door to its Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., that will have nine structures mostly four stories tall, reports Vanity Fair. The buildings, several of which have green roofs including one with an alfresco cafe, will be linked by bridges and look like bent rectangles that carve out room for courtyards.

Google says the structure will be the largest U.S. complex will all radiant heating. It will incorporate environmental factors such as where the sun rises and where the wind blows. As a result, Bayview will be highly energy efficient and filled with natural light.

Employee happiness is paramount in Silicon Valley, where tech firms vie for talent and are constantly upping the ante when it comes to providing leading-edge working conditions.

Google is known to offer some of the best employee benefits on the planet, including legal advice, travel assistance, and more.

Other tech giants are pushing the envelope, too.

Consider Apple’s spaceship-shaped facility, which is slated for completion in 2016. It will have a massive underground auditorium, a parking garage for nearly 5,000 cars, a fitness center, a mostly off-the-grid energy center and a thick layer of trees that will enshroud the four-story ring-shaped building. The circular structure will have huge walls of glass that let Apple employees look out from both sides onto park-like landscaping that includes jogging paths and walking trails.

Facebook will be building a campus that will house 3,400 engineers in a single building with reconfigurable work and meeting space and a garden that extends from around the building to cover the entire roof of the structure. It will be located on ground already owned by Facebook that sits across the street from its current campus in Menlo Park, Calif., and make use of a tunnel that already links the two pieces of ground.

As for Google, it has other building plans as well.

The company also will be building an $82 million private airport terminal in San Jose, Calif., to accommodate its business jets. It would be an addition to the Mineta San Jose International Airport already located there.

Google also is seeking a greater retail presence with plans to open stand-alone shops in big cities, with the first ones expected to launch in time for the busy holiday shopping season. The idea is to give people hands-on time with current Google devices such as the Chromebook , Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 10 tablet and at some point Google Glass.

Not all of Google’s buildings are getting positive buzz, however.

Google recently vacated two of its Mountain View buildings because toxic vapors were emanating from the ground. Forbes reported that the leaks in the area where the buildings are located were so bad that the site was designated a Superfund priority.

Campus rendering image by NBBJ.

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