Social media giant Facebook has expanded its presence in Menlo Park, California. Designed by Frank Gehry and built in less than 18 months, the company’s newest building MPK 21 is a 524,000-square-foot sustainable office space that features a 3.6-acre rooftop garden with over 200 trees and a half-mile-long pathway. Facebook leadership wanted the new building, which sits on a formerly unoccupied industrial site, to have a limited impact on the surrounding environment. To that end, they worked with Gehry’s firm and general contractor Level 10 Construction to install a water reclamation system, approximately 175,000 square feet of fritted windows to protect the area’s birds, and a 1.4-megawatt photovoltaic array.
Inside the building, a single pathway runs from one end of the open workspace to the other. Along the path are five dining areas; 15 art installations, commissioned through the company’s Artist in Residence Program; and a 2,000-person event and meeting space. The office’s most distinctive features, however, are perhaps the “Town Square”—a covered atrium open to the outdoors that is filled with redwood trees—and the “Bowl”—an amphitheater-style courtyard that links the MPK 21 to another Gehry-designed project: the much smaller MPK 20.
In recent years, Facebook made a $20 million contribution to create affordable housing and tenant assistance. The company now plans to add a two-acre park with a public plaza and event space to its Menlo Park campus.