Turns out the Google mystery barge located in the San Francisco Bay Area isn’t a barge at all, but a sailboat, complete with a dozen sails “reminiscent of fish fins, which will remind visitors that they are on a seaworthy vessel,” according to documents obtained from the Port of San Francisco by the San Francisco Chronicle through the Freedom of Information Act.
Gossip has been circulating about the mystery barge. Was it a floating data center, a showroom, a party boat? Google dispelled the rumors Wednesday with an announcement that it is going to be a “interactive space where people can learn about new technology.” In other words, a gallery for all things Google.
The structure was designed by San Francisco architecture firm Gensler, which designed Abu Dhabi Financial Centre and the London River Park, as well as LOT-EK, creators of the Whitney Museum building and New York’s Pier 57.
The sailboat will travel to different locations throughout the Bay, spending about a month moored at different spots, and perhaps along the West Coast as far south as San Diego.
The boat won’t just be Google-centric: It will allow “local organizations to engage with guests and gain visibility in a unique way,” By and Large, LLC, essentially a front company run by Google employees, told the Chronicle. By and Large describes the sailboat as a “unprecedented artistic structure” and “temporary technology exhibit space” that will “drive visitation to the waterfront.” (Perhaps a nod to the fact that the city’s current waterfront technology exhibitor, the Exploratorium, is hurting in terms of driving such traffic.)
“We believe this curious and visually stunning structure will be a welcome addition to the waterfront, an experience unlike any other,” the proposal says.
“We envisioned this space with community in mind,” By and Large told the Chronicle, “a surprising environment that is accessible to all and inspires conversation about how everything is connected — shorebirds, me, you, the sea, the fog and much more.”
There are four barges in total. One in Portland, Maine, which was the first sighted, will most likely sail down the East Coast. The other two remain unaccounted for; the National Coast Guard told BuzzFeed it could not locate them. The mystery continues.