When Facebook started to plan the Facebook West building, a 433,555-square-foot complex across the road from its current headquarters, the company was looking for anonymity. So they employed the always understated, subtle, visually legible, little known architect of humble homes Frank Gehry.
The company won a 4-0 vote of approval from the Menlo Park city council to proceed with the campus expansion. Ever the beacon of gaudy style, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was not interested in outlandish embellishments on his buildings. Gehry’s partner Craig Webb detailed some of Facebook’s aesthetic requests.
“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. Frank (Gehry) was quite willing to tone down some of the expression of architecture in the building.”
From above, the designs for the Facebook West campus appear to be a raised platform of earth, due to an extensive rooftop garden. The designs for Facebook West as of September reveal a series of verdant walkways for inspirational jaunts, large boxy windows for gazing into the real world, and slouching white stucco buildings obscured by dangling flora. Judging from the height of the trees in the rooftop garden rendering, one might expect roots to dangle into the offices below.
In September of 2012, Craig noted:
“Facebook told us they wanted a building that’s very anonymous, a building that blends into the neighborhood, that doesn’t call a lot of attention to themselves.”
But of course. We know just the man for that!
[Wired, Renderings via Gehry Partners LLP via Menlo Park City Council]
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Zoë Schlanger is Frontpage Editor at TPM. Zoë was a TPM intern in 2011, and prior to returning here she was editor in chief of NYU Local, the alternative independent student news site at NYU. Zoë has interned at places like the Nation, InsideClimate News, The Rachel Maddow Show and Gothamist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.