Top Architect Frank Gehry Designs Forward-Thinking Menlo Park Facebook Campus
Facebook has its eye on the future, both with its social networking platform as well as with its forward-thinking Menlo Park campus designed by legendary Canadian architect, Frank Gehry.
The company owns 200 acres along the edge of the San Francisco Bay, having recently acquired two separate 60-acre parcels, one of which now houses the campus expansion dubbed “MPK-20”. A noteworthy milestone, MPK-20 is the first campus the 11-year old company has built from the ground up and is also included among the world’s largest single-room offices.
“From the start, Mark wanted a space that was unassuming, matter-of-fact and cost effective. He did not want it overly designed. It also had to be flexible to respond to the ever-changing nature of his business; one that facilitated collaboration and one that did not impose itself on their open and transparent culture. This is the building that we created for him. It is not a grand design statement and it has a toughness and a rawness that reminds me of the work I was doing in the early part of my career,” architect Gehry said in a statement regarding the new campus design.
Frank Gehry has been referred to as ‘the most important architect of our age’ by Vanity Fair. Considered among the most influential works of contemporary architecture, many of the buildings he designed, including his Santa Monica deconstructivist-style residence, the Guggenheim Museum in Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, are world-renowned tourist attractions.
The new Menlo Park MPK-20 campus has a simple, unassuming industrial design that efficiently integrates the current and future needs of the company as well as that of the environment and community. Described as a layered ‘sandwich’, the 430,000 square foot metal, glass and concrete structure utilizes land effectively by having parking beneath, workspace in the middle while being topped off with an impressive green roof.
“We always want to be a place where we’re offering cool new things in an environment where the most talented, best and brightest want to come work, and this building will reflect that,” said Facebook’s vice president of human resources, Lori Goler. “It’s open and transparent. It will be bright and creative. It gives us room to grow.”
With its park-like atmosphere that includes over 400 trees, drought-tolerant landscaping and a half-mile walking trail, the 9-acre rooftop green-space is the project’s signature feature. In addition to offering employees a place to relax, it will serve to insulate the entire building, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint by minimizing the need for heating and cooling.
The company has also noticeably altered its adjacent headquarters from what previous inhabitants, Sun Microsystems, initially shaped around software and hardware. Facebook has transformed the 1 Hacker Way campus into what looks very much like it’s original downtown Palo Alto home. The headquarters and the new MK-20 campus are connected via a 40-person people mover that transports employees between the two locations in under a minute.