Only nine months after its move to a brand new Menlo Park campus, Facebook is already expanding with the help of none other than architect, Frank Gehry.
Renowned for illusory buildings that appear to defy physics with complex shapes and spatial defiance in the Deconstructivism style, Gehry has been most well known for works including the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and the Dancing House in Prague.
While critics contend that Gehry’s works are ostentatious, his work has been commissioned by many major cities and corporations, making his buildings testaments of success to the places that erect them.
“[Gehry’s] cultural centres appear as sites of spectacular spectatorship, of touristic awe,” says art critic Hal Foster. “Such is the logic of many cultural centres today, designed, alongside theme parks and sports complexes, to assist in the corporate ‘revival’ of the city. Alas, so it has, and it is likely to come to your hometown soon.”
The Disney Concert Hall for one was an iconic status symbol commissioned by the city of Los Angeles, built with the help of Lillian Disney’s $50 million donation. But the construction became embroiled in controversy when the budget soared fivefold to $265 million.
With this in mind, Facebook’s new campus is more than just a new building. After its IPO, Facebook needs to expand to a building that will house 2,800 more employees. More importantly, a Gehry building will be monument to Facebook for having overcome the many milestones and obstacles, which Mark Zuckerberg likely recognized with his decision to contract Gehry.
Facebook has instructed Gehry to build a hub with its engineering culture in mind. The building will be comprised of one large room, resembling a warehouse wherein employees, like at Valve, will sit on desks that can be “quickly shuffled around as teams form and break apart around projects.” The building, sticking to its eco-friendly standards, will be surrounded and covered by trees on its rooftop garden. The two campuses will be connected by an underground tunnel.
Construction of the new Facebook building will begin in early 2013.