Frank Gehry’s Facebook HQ Wins Approval

© Gehry Partners LLP via Menlo Park City Council

A new smartphone isn’t the only news making headlines, as the social media giant has received the green light from the Menlo Park City Council to move forward with their headquarter’s expansion on the outskirts of San Francisco Bay, . The approved plans are a slightly toned down version of architect Frank Gehry’s original proposal, as the flamboyant butterfly-like wings which flared from each end of the 433,555-square-foot building have been removed.

“They felt some of those things were too flashy and not in keeping with the kind of the culture of Facebook, so they asked us to make it more anonymous,” stated Craig Webb, Gehry’s creative partner. “Frank (Gehry) was quite willing to tone down some of the expression of architecture in the building.”

After a 4-0 vote secured approval, Mayor Peter Ohtaki asked: “Where’s the ‘Like’ button?”

More after the break…

© Gehry Partners LLP via Menlo Park City Council

Departing from Gehry’s signature curves, the exceptionally long, 10-acre “room” will stretch across the 22-acre West Campus site and connect to the company’s current headquarters via an underground tunnel beneath the Bayfront Expressway. Upon completion, the white stucco structure will be camouflaged by lush landscaping and a dominate rooftop park. Ranging in height from 45 feet to 73 feet, the building will rise above surface-level parking and almost appear as a “hillside” from a distance.

Wired offered this interesting perspective on the design: “Facebook’s aversion to panache speaks to the company’s hacker ethos, which emphasizes functionality over form and, at its most insular, heads-down work over outside engagement and communication. In a way, Facebook’s “very anonymous” new building design is like Zuckerberg’s trademark outfit of gray hoodie, jeans and sneakers: an unassuming wrapper around a remarkably capable entity.”

© Gehry Partners LLP via Menlo Park City Council

See our previous coverage for additional project information. More documents related to the new building, including architectural plans, can be found here.

via WiredMercury NewsWorld Property Channel 

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Frank Gehry’s Facebook HQ Wins Approval" 04 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
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  • Andrew

    There is a difference between understated or “unassuming” and banal. This is just banal.

  • Steve

    I hate to sound so pessimistic, but to many of us who seek out competence and engineering precision, Frank Gehry buildings are like seeing a beauty pageant where one of the contestants is morbidly obese and has a severe facial deformity, and everyone pretends she belongs in the contest, and she actually wins sometimes. Yeah, it’s novel to make buildings that vaguely resemble trash. Nobody has done that before. But his buildings aren’t optimal for anything. They’re simply elitist structures for only those who can afford huge amounts of waste for visual ruses.

    • Anthony

      You’re certainly entitled to your opinion on what it looks like (I likened Gehry’s EMP in Seattle to a 30-car pile up) but, whether or not one likes what it looks like, if it’s intention is to be the ‘visual ruse’ … then the buildings generally do that. Which is to say; people who seek his buildings (clients or admirers) are looking for just that – an ‘occupiable’ and ‘usable’ piece of art. A signature sculpture that you live/work in – Gehry does that. He delivers what his clients (wealthy or otherwise) are seeking. They’re not all Bilbaos – but they’re definitely all Gehry.

    • Andrew

      @Steve. I live in Toronto & when the Daniel Libeskind addition to the ROM was built there was the same opposition & criticism to the finished product. Money has nothing to do with creativity. The critiques who dislike the bulding like Jack Diamond are building rectilinear structures that a first year architecture student could design. It’s a creative industry so why does different seem to offend people. Architects & the critics have to stop acting like a black person moved into the neighborhood when a building goes up & it doesn’t look like Mies ban der rohe designed it.

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  • ns

    When the project is of such importance and such big scale…it needs to address more than just narcissist intentions for being new or catchy..this master plans is extremely insensitive in language, spatially, as social connection, neither does it succeeds to be an icon.

  • Nub

    A project of such stature & scale needs some achievement should go beyond a narcissist intention of being weird and catchy. The project failed in architectural language, spatial /social connection, or any thing else..

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