The House That Google Built

The House That Google Built

Cambria Bold
Aug 28, 2008

Clive Wilkinson's $15-million renovation of Google's company base in Mountain View in 2006 was a defining moment in his career. The renovation included an additional 180,000 square-feet of new office space, and it helped to define what would become his signature approach - designing for a crowd. This "architecture of togetherness" was an ideal that Mr. Wilkinson would return to later when designing for a private home - his own.

Mr. Wilkinson's 3,300-square-foot, 3-bedroom house near Melrose Avenue is comprised of two overlapping stucco "barns" (containing the living areas, kitchen/dining room, and guest bedrooms), and a third barn for the master bedroom. Rooms slide open to each other and the outdoors, and guests walk out onto platform porches and a large communal space.

The contrast of raw wood with modern industrial materials is another central theme. Resilient white rubber covers the stairs, and the handrails are made of industrial-strength tension cable. The home office is also turned "upside down" with the raw plank wood on the ceiling and the "ceiling white" rubber on the floor.

During the design process, Mr. Wilkinson's mantra was: "How simple can you do it?" and "Do I need it?" The home mixes intimate details with open spaces and industrial elements with natural forms. The end (and desired) result: a family-friendly space Mr. Wilkinson hoped was lovely enough "that girls would forget [his] innumerable failings."

For more on Clive Wilkinson and his designs, visit The New York Times. Make sure to check out the slideshow for more images.

Images: Ethan Pines for The New York Times

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