Mike Isaac

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Facebook to Build Swanky, Gehry-Designed New Digs

If half of choosing where to work is about the pay, the other half is about the perks. And in the Valley, there are few bigger perks than having a cool place to work.

Facebook wants to win that war. The company has enlisted celebrated architect Frank Gehry to work on an expansion to its Menlo Park campus, a fancy warehouse-style building replete with snack bars, couches and micro-kitchens galore. As the plans currently stand, the new addition would house more than 3,400 new engineers, which is approximately the amount of people Facebook currently employs.

In an eco-friendly thrust, Gehry will work hand-in-hand with Facebook environmental design manager Everett Katigbak to produce a green vision of a campus expansion. The building will include many freshly planted trees, as well as an expansive rooftop garden that encompasses the entire top of the building. (As an aside, I wrote on Katigbak in his previous position at Facebook, when he and designer Ben Barry were spearheading Facebook’s in-house screenprinting studio — the Analog Research Lab — which makes up the myriad posters that cover the company’s walls. Everett seems to be movin’ on up.)

Gehry’s oeuvre includes the Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A. and the Guggenheim in Spain — perfect, Katigbak writes, for the aesthetic Facebook is going for: A giant, open-air warehouse with shuffle-able furniture and whiteboard walls. (Though honestly, that seems fairly rank-and-file for Silicon Valley, not necessarily something requiring aid from a big name like Gehry.)

Whatever the case, it’s Facebook keeping up with the Joneses of the world — Twitter most recently moved into a gorgeous new building in the Central Market district of San Francisco, while Pinterest is in the process of moving its operation up to San Francisco from its former Palo Alto offices. And of course, there’s moving out from under the shadow of Google and Apple, the two tech titans with some of the fanciest offices in all of the Valley.

Facebook plans to break ground next year on the new addition, which will connect via underground tunnel to the company’s existing Menlo Park campus.

Photo: Frank Gehry/Gehry Partners

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik