Facebook Tells Architect Frank Gehry to Tone it Down

By Devon Glenn 

Facebook’s second campus in Menlo Park will be designed by Frank Gehry, the architect who designs impressive, jagged structures like the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

City officials have already given the 433,555-square-foot building the green light. But Gehry’s creative partner Craig Webb told Mercury News that Facebook is looking for a design that’s less Gehr-ish than the others.

“‘They felt some of those things were too flashy and not in keeping with the kind of the culture of Facebook, so they asked us to make it more anonymous,’ Webb said.’Frank (Gehry) was quite willing to tone down some of the expression of architecture in the building.’

When finished, much of the white stucco building will be hidden by the landscaping and the rooftop park, he said.

‘Our intent is that it almost becomes like a hillside, with the landscape really taking the forefront,’ Webb said.

The campus will include a park-like entrance off Willow Road, open to the public. A tunnel beneath Bayfront Expressway will connect Facebook’s two campuses.”

It sounds like he’ll be channeling Frank Lloyd Wright for this one. Everyone seems happy about the arrangement, and we’re sure it’ll be gorgeous, but we’d also like to point out that California is home to several over-the-top monuments that would make even the most “flashy” example of Gehry’s “expression” seem understated by comparison.

Just down the road in San Jose, there’s the delightfully weird Winchester Mystery House, designed (but never quite finished) by Sarah Winchester, the widow of a gun manufacturer whose psychic advised that she keep adding new wings to the house to keep away vengeful spirits. The outside looks reasonable, but inside there are doors that lead to nowhere, stained glass windows with built-in spider webs, misshapen stairs, and a panic room, among other oddities. That, and it now has a strip mall built around it.

Source: google.co.uk via Mary on Pinterest

Keep driving south to San Simeon and you’ll run into Hearst Castle, which is not so much a castle as it is a Spanish-style villa in the middle of a cattle ranch. Again, it looks normal from the outside and has some lovely swimming pools, but if you look closely during your bus ride to the top of the hill, you might see a zebra running with the bulls. Inside, the castle is filled with church parts imported from Europe and nothing matches. Nothing.

Source: google.com via Christine on Pinterest

You are not likely to get an invite to the late Michael Jackson’s fairy tale home near Santa Barbara, Neverland Ranch, but it exists. And it looks like this:

Source: bing.com viaDestiny on Pinterest

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built this dreamy temple among a tangle of freeways and office parks in San Diego. In 1993. (No, that’s not a typo.)

Source: panoramio.com via Michayla on Pinterest

In the end, the Facebook campus will fit right in with the rest of California’s landmarks just by being eclectic, even if it does blend into the hill. Our sibling blog AllFacebook has more details about the project. We can’t wait to see it.