Facebook asks Gehry to design
"more anonymous" headquarters

| 16 comments

Facebook asks Gehry to design "more anonymous" headquarters

News: Facebook asked Frank Gehry to "tone down" his original plans for its new Silicon Valley campus, according to a partner at the architect's firm.

Early proposals for the campus, which was given the go-ahead by Menlo Park City Council last week, envisioned a bold, curving facade reminiscent of well-known Gehry buildings such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

"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," said Craig Webb, a partner at Gehry's practice.

"Frank was quite willing to tone down some of the expression of architecture in the building," he told the Mercury News, explaining that they plan to disguise the white stucco building with a rooftop garden: "Our intent is that it almost becomes like a hillside, with the landscape really taking the forefront."

Facebook asks Gehry to design "more anonymous" headquarters

According to one Facebook employee, the 40,000-square-metre building will house 2,800 engineers in a single warehouse-like room.

"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," said Facebook's environmental design manager Everett Katigbak in a blog post.

"The exterior takes into account the local architecture so that it fits in well with its surroundings. We’re planting a ton of trees on the grounds and more on the rooftop garden that spans the entire building," he added.

An underground tunnel will connect the Gehry-designed building with Facebook's existing campus over the road.

Facebook asks Gehry to design "more anonymous" headquarters

Gehry was brought in to design the campus last summer, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stating at the time that he wanted an office with "the largest open floor plan in the world".

The social networking site's former Palo Alto headquarters was completed by San Francisco firm Studio O+A in 2009.

Facebook isn't the only Californian technology company expanding into larger headquarters currently, with construction now underway on Apple's ring-shaped campus in Cupertino designed by Foster + Partners, while Google recently revealed plans for a 100,000-square-metre campus in San Francisco Bay.

Images are by Gehry Partners LLP.

  • aleks

    Hehe, Facebook… OMG. C’mon FoG, you can choose better!

  • daniel

    “Make it more anonymous”? Why are you hiring Gehry, exactly?

  • recon::decon

    So, you wanted a building that blends in and yet you hired a designer whose signature project coined the phrase “Bilbao Effect” – basically saying, we want people to know we can afford to spend a lot of money, but we want people to think we are just regular people.

    • Nagia

      Couldn’t agree more!

  • Mattia

    How’s that for a culture of innovation? Typical Silicon Valley timidness. Maybe they should have gone with Renzo Piano?

  • Concerned Citizen

    What? Expecting an arrogant architect to actually listen to his clients?

  • dvda

    Frank should pack up his hot glue guns and bounce. I hear Gensler has some revolutionary ideas for a box with flexible partitions and design within reach furnishings.

  • Lohen Grinn

    Hilarious! Should’ve hired an “anonymous” architect then — but then of course they would have lost the Silicon Valley game of Top [Architect] Trumps.

  • salvatore

    I don’t think design needs to be more anonymous. It just needs to be BETTER!

  • Stefan

    For everyone who hasn’t noticed: with regards to how Facebook has treated its customers, isn’t it ironic that Facebook wants to have a more ANONYMOUS headquarters?

  • Kenneth Smythe

    The excitement generated by this redesign will not have anybody wetting their pants. Facebook and the city want faceless architecture and that is what they will have. The fact that Gehry’s firm has not quit the job probably indicates that significant projects are now hard to come by.

  • ovidiu

    Couldn't be more obvious that Facebook just wants to wear the Gehry medal.

    • Gary Walmsley

      Exactly.

  • http://www.theenglisheye.com Mr J

    Why they picked Gehry if they wanted anonymity would make an interesting discussion all by itself.

    Like the roof, but hope they can ditch or relocate those pylons.

  • ovidiu

    Gehry designing "anonymous" is like Koolhaas designing free-form.

  • katiefan

    What a load of crap! Facebook culture “anonymous”? They have no respect for our privacy!