Back in 2012, Mark Zuckerberg, had his choice of any architect on the planet to design Facebook’s new complex in Palo Alto (the former Sun Microsystems complex) and he went with perhaps today’s brightest starchitect: the polarizing Frank Gehry. In fact, I compared PFG (Polarizing Frank Gehry, stay with me here) to the polarizing Kobe Bryant a couple years ago when Zuckerberg made the announcement. Well, today, I get to see if my skepticism rises or falls after the first preview images are revealed of the Gehry-designed Facebook campus.
Gehry has a larger canvas to work with here — 435,000 square feet, spread across 22 acres (or by my metric, 433,300 square feet more than the Gowhere office). Consequently, he’s not solely designing his signature deconstructivist facades and instead we see the vast rooftop greenery as one of the campuses’ first highlights. It is hard to really see the details otherwise, but I come away that Gehry is not duplicating the crude curves and angles after this first glimpse. I also hope he stays away from titanium. Been there, done that, amirite?
My favorite of the new pictures?
This one below, that I pulled out of the gallery above, just so you can see how grand this model is. Wow. Nothing short of amazing.
Frank Gehry is as polarizing an architect to me as Kobe Bryant is to die-hard basketball fans. To put it simply, I have a love/hate relationship with his designs. I love his abstract shapes and use of materials (my favorites: the hometown’s Millennium Park and my 2nd hometown’s Weisman Art Museum), but ‘hate’ the relative box he stays in with both (albeit 8 Spruce Street was that step forward for me). Hate is too harsh of a word really; Gehry’s designs may not always spark my curiosity, but I appreciate the immense impact of his designs in architecture. And apparently, I’m not alone as 28-year-old Facebook CEO shares the same appreciation. He can better illustrate it with a check followed by multiple zeros that was most certainly given to Gehry to design the new addition to Facebook HQ in their Menlo Park, California dwelling.
The good folks at ArchDaily couldn’t have put it better:
Gone from the building will be Gehry’s flashy ways of manipulating sheets of metal, and the resulting superfluous sense of affluence often emitted from these grand structures. Rather, Gehry’s work for Facebook will offer an ”equalizier”, a massive one story warehouse measuring 420,000 sqf, to house the company’s future 2,800 engineers with the underlying intention of fostering a comfortable environment to allow Facebook to keep getting better.
More info and pics can be found via AD and we can expect to see construction begin in the spring of 2013. What do you think of the design given what you can see in the slideshow above?