Innovative architect Frank Gehry is designing a 10-acre, one-room building for Facebook West with pop-up pavilions and a glass-partitioned space in the middle for chief executive and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The new 420,000-square-foot building won't have private offices or cubicles but instead be open plan, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The project will begin early 2013.
It's hard to visualize an office a quarter-mile long with 26-foot-high ceilings, but Gehry assured reporters that would be the case. He will also organize the space into "neighborhoods" or work benches. The pop-up pavilions are called war rooms, while the glass-partitioned space at the center for Zuckerberg isn't called anything at all.
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“Mark said he wanted to be in the same room with all his engineers,” Gehry said. “I told him we could put the building up on stilts, park cars underneath and create a room as large as he wanted.”
There will be outdoor space, too -- include cafes serving sushi and barbecue (a Zuckerberg favorite) and a staircase to an unexpected lush rooftop garden. Paths will wind along the building and there will be skateboard ramps.
Gehry is known for gleaming metal palaces such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, so this design seems a little different for him. But Gehry said that a good designer is about knowing one's client.
“We’ve got to give them a system that’s not precious, that they can manipulate,” Gehry said. “We want it to work effortlessly . . . My goal is a kind of ephemeral connectivity that you can’t take a picture of.”
Gehry's vision is one he made with Zuckerberg, of a new kind of workplace that becomes an office only when people gather in one place. The idea is for the building to just house people who can create their own work space and gathering spots. A place to work where the muse takes you, if you will. Perhaps the new office will nurture that mentality, or perhaps it will just be a huge building that takes forever to walk from one end to the other.