Mark Zuckerberg, who was five years old when Frank Gehry, FAIA, was named the 1989 Pritzker Prize Laureate, has selected the 83-year-old architect to design a new building for 2,800 Facebook engineers across a highway from the company’s current campus in Menlo Park, California. The new Facebook West building, to be built by spring 2015 on top of a parking structure, will be large by any measure: a warehouse-like 430,000 square feet or about 10 acres, and a quarter mile from end to end. Clerestories and skylights will allow natural light into the vast interior. The single-story building will be topped by a green roof dotted with trees, with areas to meet outside and ramps for skateboarders to quickly ride from the roof to the ground. An underground tunnel will connect the old campus to the new.
In a post on Facebook, the company’s Environmental Design Manager, Everett Katigbak, says of the new interior, “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.” Facebook employees will each have about 150 square feet of individual workspace.
The newly expanded campus will provide some essential services and amenities typical in a city setting such as a dry cleaner, gym, doctor’s office, and eateries. However, the design intends to minimize outside influences and will house Facebook employees only. The absence of interactive community establishments like bars, markets, or barbershops and a lack of leasing opportunities available in traditional business parks further the site’s exclusivity.
Zuckerberg posted on Facebook, “I’m excited to work with Frank Gehry to design our new campus. The idea is to make the perfect engineering space: One giant room that fits thousands of people, all close enough to collaborate together. It will be the largest open floor plan in the world but it will have plenty of private, quiet spaces, as well. The roof will be a park that blends into the community with a long walking trail, a field, and lots of places to sit. From the outside, it will appear as if you’re looking at a hill in nature.”
Groundbreaking for the Gehry building is expected within months.