Facebook released new photography and a video revealing Gehry’s extension of its Menlo Park campus in Palo Alto, California, yesterday, 4 September 2018.
Called MPK 21, the building is an addition to the social media company’s existing Gehry-designed building, MPK 20 – which opened in 2015. In the short film, the Canadian architect Frank Gehry, 89, says the first project helped him inform the second, and create one big building suited to Facebook’s working lifestyle.
“All the things we learned doing building 20, prepared us for 21,” he says. “We were getting lessons in Facebook culture, and we’re making a new kind of architecture within that culture.”
Completed in under 18 months, the new building connects to MPK 20 via a sunken garden called The Bowl. Wrapped with staggered seating levels interspersed with tropical planting, it provides one of a number of flexible workspaces for employees.
Among the main differences between the two buildings is MPK 21’s irregular, sawtooth roof, which is designed to bring plenty of natural light inside.
A central courtyard in the middle of the new structure forms the “town square” of the workplace, complete restaurants, amenities and redwood trees.
Continuing this urban planning theme, is the the core circulation that runs through the centre of the building like a main street, providing access to five different dining options and 15 art installations commissioned by Facebook’s Artist in Residence Program.
The route will also lead to the events space, which is not yet complete. It will contain 2,000 seats for the Facebook to host large-scale activities.
Other elements of the campus that are yet to be complete include a pedestrian and bike pathway that will be elevated over over the Bayfront Expressway, and an 8,000 square-metre park.
“I feel like we’re not turning our back on the neighbourhood, we’re talking to the architecture of the neighbourhood, so it feels like it belongs here,” says Gehry.
His design includes a number of sustainable and environmental features, like a water recycling system, photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, and an abundance of glass to reduce the use of artificial lighting. The campus has been designed to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification.
In late 2013, Gehry was also asked to design its offices in London and Dublin, and earlier this year, he completed the Manhattan offices for Instagram – an image-sharing platform also owned by Facebook.
“I love being an architect,” says Gehry. “It’s a pain in the ass sometimes but every once in a while you meet clients like Facebook and great things happen.”
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