Groundscrapers: The long building architecture

We all are familiar with skyscrapers, The opposite of a skyscraper would be a ground scraper. The Groundscrapers is a large building that scrawls around the ground rather than soaring into the sky. The ground scraper is a part of the architecture. The ground scraper is a term just opposite of skyscrapers. A skyscraper means a building that is 100-150 floors tall. The skyscraper goes upward towards the sky. So the ground scraper means a building which just a low or medium-rise building. They are big in size. And They spread horizontally and covers a large amount of area. The most suitable examples are: Google Headquarter The Apple Park

The First Groundscrapers

Groundscrapers are not a new phenomenon. The very first ground scraper is Merchandise Mart in Illinois, Chicago. The Groundscraper was not a concept back then. It is 4 million square feet large in size. It was the largest building in the world in 1930. The Merchandise Mart was a place for wholesaling and in the same way for retail. The building used to host 20,000 visitors per day by the late 2000s. The designer of the building is Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. The builder of the building was Marshall Field. The Kennedy Family later owned the building. And the building later became the center for Chicago’s goods business because of the design. The design of the Merchandise Mart took the vendors and traders under the same roof.

Construction of the Merchandise Mart:

Groundscraper: The long building architecture
Merchandise Mart in Illinois, Chicago source: Wikipedia

The Merchandise Mart is 4 million square feet in size. The building is two times bigger than The Empire State building. The architectural style of the merchandise mart is Art Deco and also Ground Scraper. The merchandise mart is a mixture of three types of Art Deco styling: 1. Warehouse, 2. Department store 3. Skyscraper.

Groundscraper: The long building architecture
Merchandise Mart in Illinois, Chicago Source: Wikipedia
  1. The Warehouse is the 18-story building. The building is a little bit bulky. And the things that reduce the bulk visually are minimal setbacks, chamfered corners, and corner pavilions but with reducing the bulk of the building they also disguise the edges of the building. The north pavilions are shorter than the south-side pavilions.
  2. The Department is just an ordinary departmental store on the west, east and south boundaries of the building.
  3. The Skyscraper is the tower at the southern half of the building. The tower has 25-stories and it ascends.
Merchandise Mart in Illinois, Chicago source:

List of Groundscrapers:

1. Google Headquarter

Google Headquarter in London is also based on the concept of the ground scraper. Google’s London headquarters occupies an area of 650,000 square ft. The building is designed by Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingles. They have worked together on Google’s London Headquater and also Google headquarters in California. The headquarters is stretched out for 330 meters. The building is 11 stories tall. It is a gleaming glass building and has a roof garden.

Groundscrapers; Google Headquarter
Groundscrapers: Google Headquarter renders

It has two buildings combined. The new building has a 25- meter swimming pool, a roof garden and a basketball court. The new building has combined at 6 Pancras Square. The third building is the house of 7,000 Google employees.

Groundscrapers: Google Headquarter
Groundscrapers: Google Headquarter renders source: Dezeen

2. The Apple Park:

The Apple park is an apple headquarter in Cupertino California, USA. Like Google’s London headquarter the park is also a ground scraper. The park is a ring-shaped building with a circumference of one mile (1.6 km) and a diameter of 1,512 feet (461 m). The perfect circle wasn’t planned. The park is three-stories under the ground and four-stories above the ground. The headquarters has parking and roads under the ground. And the walls of the building use only glass. The meeting space covers around 7,770 square meters.

The Apple Park
source: business insider The Apple Park

The main building of headquarter worth $4.17 billion. It is the world’s largest naturally ventilated building with 17 MW on-site solar power. The campus is surrounded by grass, trees the trees are drought-resistant. The park is home for apple employees and also the headquarter is a future for green energy. The headquarter also has a wellness centre, research and development facility, care clinics and finally a café. For transportation, you can use Bus, vehicles and cycles.

Groundscrapers: The Apple Park
The Apple Park source:

Advantages of Groundscrapers

  • Proposers of ground scrapers state that they have many advantages over skyscrapers
    1. Ground scrapers do not impact city skylines
    2. They are comparatively cheaper to construct.
    3. Grounscrapers can be more energy efficient as towers often demand a greater degree of mechanical climate control.
    4. They can also create more socially inclusive spaces that encourage interactions between staff and people outside the workspace.


  • one disadvantage that would rise is that grounds capers occupy more land, which can be expensive.

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