The start-up culture of Silicon Valley, nurtured in a variety of ad-hoc spaces, has spawned a trendy, DIY-style of interior architecture. Facebook’s first ground-up office building, which opened its doors at the end of March, attempts to recreate that converted-warehouse ethos on a grand corporate scale. Designed by Frank Gehry, the 430,000-square-foot building has an endearing gawkiness, a mashed-up quality that doesn’t read “office.” Announcing its recent opening on his personal Facebook page, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “The building itself is pretty simple and isn’t fancy. That’s on purpose. We want our space to feel like a work in progress.”
Located on the edge of the San Francisco Bay alongside a major expressway, the building is very visible to commuters. While Facebook has not yet released official images of the prosaically named MPK20 (building No. 20 in the suburban town of Menlo Park), snapshots on social media show its lofty interiors (the company claims it is the world’s largest open-plan office) with exposed concrete and plywood elements, art-installation interludes, and multiple glass-walled lobbies. At lunchtime, some of the 2,800 occupants can be seen riding pale-blue company bikes between the old campus and the new building, as well as hiking up the dozen or so exterior staircases to the 9-acre rooftop park.