Frank Gehry is probably a permanent fixture on Facebook’s payroll now.
If the new Menlo Park flagship office is a forerunner of what’s to come in Seattle, we’re in for nothing short of surprise. Whether that’s good or bad yet remains to be seen.
Under the headline, “High Line or Hobbit Walmart,” SF Curbed pointed out that “the Observer opined that Facebook had basically hired Frank Gehry to build Mark Zuckerberg a hobbit hole in Palo Alto (read: Menlo Park).” Remember, Gehry also designed Seattle’s music and pop culture museum, Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project. The building is still one of the most universally reviled pieces of architecture out there.
And while it’s fun to take pot shots at the legendary architect, he is also responsible for the Louis Vuitton Foundation’s new building in Paris, which is incredible and one of the most important pieces of new architecture out there. Seriously, it’s gorgeous.
The Menlo Park flagship building can house up to 2,800 employees, all under an open plan. Facebook invited Instagrammers yesterday to photograph it. You can see some of the pictures on Fast Co. here. Honestly, it’s hard to hate, especially with that nine-acre park on the rooftop. Most employees would kill for an outdoor workspace like that.
Facebook also unveiled their Gehry-designed New York offices last fall. His work really complemented the existing structure (full disclosure: I used to work in that same building). A classic, old-school boxy department store, the Facebook offices took advantage of the big windows and walls, splashing colorful art and chill-out areas throughout, while respecting the marble staircases and other old-school features of the building.
As we reported last month, Facebook has some big plans for the 2,000-some employees it will house at the Dexter Station building. The company has leased 274,000 square feet, with the option to add another 62,000 square feet. The Gehry-designed space will be ready for Facebook employees by early 2016, according to Paul Carduner, the Facebook Seattle site lead.
What does Gehry have planned for Seattle? One thing’s for certain — it will be fun as hell to watch.