US architecture great Frank Gehry and global social media mega-company Facebook will join forces to deliver a new state of the art campus for employees of the online giant.
While the combination may seem fitting given the highly iconic nature of Gehry’s work and the modern icon that Facebook has become, designing such a high-profile space is a definite first for the company, which has steered away from showy built spaces.
That low-key built nature promises to be completely shaken up with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg commissioning Gehry to develop a brand new West Campus to be located in Menlo Park as an extension to the company’s current corporate head office.
As seen in Google’s impressive Googleplex and the Apple Campus, major IT and online companies have set new standards when it comes to modern office design options, and Facebook’s West Campus is expected to be no different.
The overriding direction in which the architect has gone strongly reflects the communal nature of the Facebook brand, with all of the built spaces across the 22-acre site connected through a heavy and directed focus on pedestrian accessibility and bike paths.
Following the traditional company office layout, the 10-acre built space will follow the warehouse design of previous Facebook office spaces, with a flexible layout and multi-functional furniture allowing for a collaboration-focused working environment.
In true Facebook style, the facility will also be highly eco-friendly with an impressive array of green roofs and rooftop gardens filled with native, drought tolerant and zero-water reliant plants.
Planning approvals will begin midway through next year, with Menlo Park associate planner Rachel Grossman saying planning approvals could take up to 30 weeks. The company boasts that the new campus will offer plenty of benefits to the Menlo Park area, although Facebook spokesman Slater Tow states it is too early to clarify just what these benefits will be.
“We’re continuing our negotiations with the city as we develop our new campus, and we hope to reach an agreement that will be beneficial to both parties,” says Tow.
It seems clear that a development of this scale will offer massive industry stimulus, and with an extra 2,800 permanent jobs generated, it will certainly provide a much-needed economic boost for the area.