Facebook pushes ahead with plans for two new Gehry-designed buildings

Less than a fortnight after moving into its new Frank Gehry-designed California campus, Facebook has presented plans for two neighbouring office buildings by the Canadian architect.

According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the company has presented plans at Menlo Park City Hall to grow its presence in the California city with a pair of new office blocks. Also located along Bayfront Expressway, they will sit immediately west of the green-roofed building it moved into at the end of March.

Mimicking Gehry's first design, known as MPK 20, the additions are expected to feature large open-plan office space with parking underneath and expansive green roofs. Together, they will reportedly provide 90,000 square metres of floor space.

Facebook purchased the 25-hectare site from consumer electronics company TE Connectivity last year. Nine buildings will need to be demolished to make room for the new structures, and Facebook has also begun renovating another structure on the western edge of the site to create employee amenities, including a cafe and fitness centre.

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Photograph by the Silicon Valley Business Journal's Nathan Donato-Weinstein showing the plans Facebook has presented to the City of Menlo Park

The site will also feature a 20,000-square-metre public park between the buildings, as well as a network of pedestrian and cycle pathways intended to provide safer and more convenient access to surrounding communities and routes.

The news comes a day after company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed on his Facebook page that he initially turned down Gehry's offer to design a building for the company, because he thought it would cost too much.

"When we first announced we were adding a building to our campus, Frank Gehry reached out and asked to design it," he said. "But even though we all loved his architecture, we initially said no. We figured he would be very expensive and that would send the wrong signal about our culture."

The building was completed ahead of schedule and under budget – prompting Zuckerberg's decision to work with Gehry on more of Facebook's property development projects.

"It ended up costing us much less than any other major developments planned in Silicon Valley and taking way less time to build," Zuckerberg said.

Gehry was first appointed to the project in the summer of 2012, but was later asked to tone down his plans to make them more anonymous. In late 2013, he was also asked to design Facebook's offices in London and Dublin.