Google Buys RPBW's Central Saint Giles
19. January 2022
Photo: Timo Tijhof/Wikimedia Commons
The tech giant has bought the Central Saint Giles development, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) more than a decade ago for a site near Covent Garden in central London, for £730 million, or $1 billion.
Google is currently a tenant of Central Saint Giles, a colorful mixed-use complex with offices, apartments, restaurants, and retail. Completed in 2010, the project is marked by more than twenty brightly colored facades made of 121,000 glazed ceramic tiles, according to RPBW's website. "Ceramic sections in yellow, red, orange or lime green alternate with recessed glazed facades to fragment each building’s overall mass."
Photo: GanMed64/Wikimedia Commons
While it's easy to sense a synergy between the development's colorful facades and Google's primary-color branding, the tech company is also building a relatively discreet "landscraper" in King's Cross. Designed by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and Heatherwick Studio and unveiled in 2017, well before the pandemic, Google's London HQ was designed for 7,000 employees and is expected to be completed later this year; the two sites will give Google enough space for 10,000 employees in London.
At Central Saint Giles, the company plans on adapting the office spaces for in-person teamwork and hybrid working, and providing covered outdoor spaces for employees to work in the fresh air, no doubt addressing many people's hesitancy to return to the office. BDG Architects will be carrying out that work, according to renderings in a Google blog post on the purchase of Central Saint Giles.
Elsewhere in the Google-verse, construction has progressed far on the company's East Charleston campus in Mountain View, California, near San Francisco. Also designed by BIG and Heatherwick, the tent-like design features a "dragonscale" solar skin across its the buildings' roofs, as revealed in another recent blog post from Google.
And in New York City, where Google already owns two full-block buildings in Chelsea, the company recently purchased an office building under construction in nearby Hudson Square. Once the St. John's Terminal building is complete next year, Google will have more than 3.1 million square feet of office space in New York, making it one of the largest leaseholders in the city, per the New York Times.