With Facebook moving closer to expanding its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., calling in an architect was a natural step. However, the social network didn’t tap just any architect, bringing in world-famous Frank Gehry.
And Gehry didn’t disappoint, as highlights of his design for the former Tyco Electronics site across the Bayfront Expressway, which the social network is referring to as its West Campus, include an open layout, ample breakaway spaces, and trees everywhere, including on a rooftop garden covering the entire building.
Facebook Environmental Design Manager Everett Katigbak went into more detail in a note on the Facebook Menlo Park page announcing the new design:
Facebook is a product-driven company. People here are constantly experimenting with ideas and building out prototypes. Good ideas win here, and we’ve always sought to create an office that fosters our engineers’ creativity — which is why we’re excited to announce the plans for our new campus expansion, designed by the world-renowned architect, Frank Gehry.
At every step of planning the new building, Frank has taken into account our engineering culture. It will be a large, one-room building that somewhat resembles a warehouse. Just like we do now, everyone will sit out in the open, with desks that can be quickly shuffled around as teams form and break apart around projects. There will be cafes and lots of micro-kitchens with snacks so that you never have to go hungry. And we’ll fill the building with break-away spaces with couches and whiteboards to make getting away from your desk easy.
We’ve paid just as much attention to the outside, as well. The exterior takes into account the local architecture so that it fits in well with its surroundings. We’re planting a ton of trees on the grounds and more on the rooftop garden that spans the entire building. The raw, unfinished look of our buildings means that we can construct them quickly and with a big emphasis on being eco-friendly. Of course, we’ll maintain our current campus and use an underground tunnel to connect the two.
We plan to break ground on the new building in early 2013 and hope for a quick construction. When it’s completed, we hope it will provide a paradise workspace for the 3,400 engineers who will one day fill it.
Readers: Does it surprise you in the least that Facebook hired such a prominent architect to work on its headquarters expansion?