Google and Howard University unveiled Howard West—a campus billed as an effort to remedy the company's lack of Black staffers—in its new space at Google's Mountain View, California, campus on Monday (June 5).
The tech giant announced the creation of Howard West in March. The summer residency program offers the historically Black university's computer science majors the opportunity to work and learn in a collaborative environment with Google and Howard staff and faculty.
Design firm Kurani worked with Google's diversity and inclusion team to develop Howard West's two-floor campus. The four photos below show what the space looks like, including how Kurani incorporated Howard's blue, white and red colors within its downstairs workspaces and upstairs recreational space:
Danish Kurani, the firm's namesake founder, tells Colorlines that his team designed the space to give Howard students a work-life balance, so that "they're not sacrificing or missing out on the collegiate experience."
The diversity and inclusion team also worked with Kurani on Google's Code Next Lab, a facility in Oakland where local Black and Latinx teens can build programming skills. Danish Kurani says that the design of the spaces was driven by a wish to empower Black and Latinx students.
"People of color at Google have discussed 'imposter syndrome' and feelings of not belonging in the tech sector," he explains. "So it was imperative to build a campus where Howard West students felt super-comfortable and like it was theirs, so that they had no doubts they belonged."*
Howard West and Code Next are part of Google's larger initiative to improve internal representation—an issue that also plauges its tech industry peers. According to Google's 2016 diversity statistics, Black and Latinx staffers constitute two and three percent, respectively, of the company's workforce—the same as in 2015.
*Quote has been updated.