Google’s Spruce Goose hangar features callbacks to Hughes’ Hercules plane

Tech giant released photos and specs of the renovated space in Playa Vista

Nov.November 09, 2018 11:15 AM

Once a cavernous workspace for Howard Hughes’ sprawling Hercules plane, Google’s Spruce Goose hangar is now a modern canvas for the tech company’s ambitious push into Los Angeles.

But its former role as Hughes’ aviation workspace has not been forgotten in Google’s build-out of the four-story structure in Playa Vista.

Photos and specs released this week by the tech giant reveal the structure that Google built into the 319,000-square-foot hangar, which brings total square footage up to 450,000 square feet. Google moved in last month.

There are callbacks to the history of the hangar, which Hughes used to build the H-4 Hercules in 1943. The massive plane’s structure was built out of wood because of wartime metal shortages, earning it the name Spruce Goose from the press. It’s still the largest wooden aircraft ever built, having a wingspan of 320 feet.

There are art installations from eight local artists, including a large “Perception Sculpture” of metal spheres that from one angle reveal an image of Howard Hughes’ H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose” in the main atrium space.

The new Spruce Goose has elevated walkways that connect each story and has conference rooms, food options, a gym, and a 250-person event space.

There are Silicon Valley-esque amenities too, like a platform where employees can toss paper airplanes at a target on the hangar floor below.

Google installed skylights on the ceiling of the hangar to let in natural light. Some of the original Douglas Fir used to build the hangar was repurposed into furniture and used to reconstruct the central ceiling spine of the structure.

Google leased the hanger in 2016, two years after dropping $120 million on 12 acres of land next door. Google has been tight-lipped about the hangar until this week, and is still mum on its plans for its neighboring acreage.

Premier tech companies soon followed to Playa Vista, including Facebook and Yahoo. Google’s move into Playa Vista puts the purpose-built community on par, if not on top of, other neighborhoods in Silicon Beach, the stretch of tech-heavy communities near L.A.’s waterfront that includes Venice, Santa Monica, and Culver City.

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