Googleplex designer says tech offices are ‘dangerous’

A Google logo and an Android statue are seen at the Googleplex in Menlo Park, California on November 4, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)

JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Luxury technology offices are commonplace in Silicon Valley, with catering, game rooms, gyms, private buses and other perks increasingly needed to recruit talent. But an architect who helped set the standard for Bay Area tech campuses now calls them “dangerous.”

Famous architect Clive Wilkinson, in an interview with NPRdecried the ubiquity of the all-inclusive tech office, despite helping build Googleplex, arguably the definitive tech campus.

He argues that offering workers everything they need in a singular location blurs the line between work and non-work, a line that has been erased during the pandemic. It also stifles creativity.

“Work-life balance cannot be achieved by spending your whole life on a work campus,” Wilkinson told NPR. “It’s not real. It’s not really engaging with the world like most people do.”

These amenities, he says, also hinder business growth in their surroundings, since tech workers are less likely to visit nearby cafes or restaurants if they can get free food and drink. .

Many writers and thinkers have devoted many time to criticize these offices and how they’re collapsing work-life boundaries, but hearing it from a posh tech campus forebear carries some weight.

Wilkinson also argues that this can be a difficult thing to change. “Once you’ve made all these offers to your employees, how do you get out of this situation?” he told NPR.

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