August 27, 2012
Facebook’s Flashy New Gehry-Designed Campus
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Just because your company´s stock is struggling doesn´t mean you can´t have nice things. After all, everyone wants to hear a story about going down with the Titanic: No one cares about going down with some no-name trade ship.
For instance, Facebook has revealed their plans to build a massive annex to their existing Menlo Park campus. This new “hangar-like” building is expected to boast a suspiciously consequential 420,000 square feet footprint, all under one roof. This new building will also be accessible to the existing campus via underground tunnel, a la Disneyland.
Another Disney connection: This new office building will be designed by Frank Gehry, the same architect who designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, as well as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Stata Center at MIT. Facebook said they will present these plans to city officials today.
This ten-acre facility will hold 2,800 engineers once it´s complete and is expected to be the “largest open-plan office in the world,” according to Zuck´s Facebook post.
“The roof of the building 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,” concludes CEO Zuckerberg.
Everett Katigbak, Facebook´s environmental designer also proclaimed his excitement, saying: "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.”
According to Katigbak, the new offices will be similar to Facebook´s current office layout, giving engineers and team members the ability to sit in the open, allowing desks to be moved and shifted as new teams assemble or disassemble. The new, 420,000 square foot campus will also provide engineers with plenty of munchies throughout the day, as well as couches and “break-away spaces” to give team members a chance to just, you know, chill and think about stuff.
This new, Gehry-designed campus will be located just across the street from their current digs, and while Facebook has yet to say just how much they´ll be spending on this new, lavish campus, they have said it´s comparable to other office-parks in the area.
While there will be plenty of wide open space in this newly proposed campus, there will still be spaces available for meetings just before product launches. These “war rooms” will pop up just before big announcements to give teams a chance to work together in a close space. A wooden stair case within a tall, glass tube will lead to a rich, rooftop garden where Facebookers can go to “escape.”
One important element of these new plans is just how open everything is.
“Mark said he wanted to be in the same room with all his engineers,” said Gehry in an interview with Bloomberg.
“I told him we could put the building up on stilts, park cars underneath and create a room as large as he wanted.”
“We´ve got to give them a system that´s not precious, that they can manipulate,” continued Gehry.
“We want it to work effortlessly. My goal is a kind of ephemeral connectivity that you can´t take a picture of.”
While this new campus will no doubt be a beautiful sight to behold, Facebook´s timing may need some work. Currently, shares of FB stock are sitting at a low $19.29, nearly half of its first day value. No matter how beautiful their new building may be, it´s not likely to boost the value of their stock.