Google’s Cambridge office has elevators that look like the subway and take workers to ‘the beach’ and faux Victorian houses

source
Halkin | Mason Photography
  • Google is known for its quirky offices and built-in unusual structures.
  • The tech giant often incorporates nods to local culture into its offices, and the one in Cambridge, Massachusetts no exception.
  • The Cambridge-based office is full of references to local icons. Take a look inside.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Google may have started in garage, but it’s offices are now some of the most interesting ones in tech.

The company is known for places offices in unexpected buildings, from an old airplane hangar in LA to a former vodka factory in Warsaw, Poland. Its Cambridge, Massachusetts office is in a more standard building, but the inside is unique to the location.

NELSON Worldwide design firm collaborated with Google employees to design a plan that includes some of Boston and Cambridge’s most iconic locations, all tied together as stops on the subway that’s shared by the two cities. These photos show how the designers integrated Google culture with Boston culture to form a one-of-a-kind office that won a 2015 iDesign Award.

Take a look at the photos here.


Google’s massive Cambridge, MA office spans 300,000 square feet.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

The multi-building workspace accommodates 1,200 workers.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Google’s campus encircles a parking garage in Cambridge, near MIT’s campus.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Design firm NELSON Worldwide worked with Google for five years to reach the final product, made up of three buildings, plus two smaller in-fill buildings to create one large floor plan.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Google initially planned on a 20,000 square foot campus, but after collaborating with NELSON and Google employees based in the area, eventually, this design was the winner.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

According to NELSON, the goal was to create a campus that was a “truly Boston/Cambridge space, with specific nods to both.”

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

The campus is inspired by Boston and Cambridge’s transit system, the MBTA.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Each of five buildings is a different colored line of the “T,” as Boston’s subway system.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

…and each floor is a different stop.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

The Arlington Street stop, for example, is a library…

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

…inspired by the Victorian houses on the real-life Green Line stop.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

On the Red Line, the Charles/MGH stop is based on the Liberty Hotel, which itself is based on the infamous Charles Street Jail, and has real jailhouse doors, according to office blog Office Snapshots.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Source: Office Snapshots


The entire campus is filled with homages to life in Boston and Cambridge.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

One of several micro-kitchens has canoes hanging from the ceiling, a nod to the popularity of boating on the Charles River that separates the two cities.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Boston’s “Head of the Charles” regatta draws competitors from across the country, so it’s only natural that Google would allude to this iconic piece of the culture.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Along the Blue Line, there are more aquatic themes.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Boston is home to Revere Beach, the first public beach in the US.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

So the Revere Beach stop features a lighthouse…

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

…and a beach shack.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Even the less decked out rooms have features that remind Googlers they’re in the Bay State.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Of course, an aquarium is a nice touch.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

White Adirondack chairs add to the beachy feel.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

The cafe is another reference to a Boston icon, in this case, the Public Garden, at the Park Street stop.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

The campus is full of cozy nooks to hide out and get some work done…

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

…take in beautiful views…

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

…or sneak in a quick nap.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Of course, the amenities look pretty great too.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Googlers have access to an on-site gym.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

And Google takes the standard ping pong table up a notch with a giant chess board.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Several kitchens and cafes offer choices for snack breaks.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Custom wallpaper is both sustainable and nods to Boston’s skyline.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

In addition to the Boston-specific touches, the campus is also more broadly transportation-themed.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Googlers can work as if they’re on a plane…

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

…although with more comfortable seats.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Designers incorporated vintage signs into more standard rooms, like this conference room.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Stop signs and traffic lights are a theme throughout the campus and stand in over what would otherwise be boring bare walls.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography

Other areas have the more typical feel of a Google office, with bright colors and open designs.

source
Halkin | Mason Photography