Share price be damned, Facebook is expanding. It's just announced that Guggenheim Museum architect Frank Gehry will design a 3,400 employee engineering office connected to its Menlo Park Headquarters by an underground tunnel. Engineers will hack away in one giant room, separated from the product and ads teams in the main campus. Construction will begin in early 2013
Zuckerberg described his new hacker paradise in a post to Facebook:
"I'm excited to work with Frank Gehry to design our new campus. The idea is to make the perfect engineering space: one giant room that fits thousands of people, all close enough to collaborate together. It will be the largest open floor plan in the world, but it will also have plenty of private, quiet spaces as well. The roof of the building will be a park that blends into the community with a long
walking trail, a field and lots of places to sit. From the outside it will appear as if you're looking at a hill in nature,"
Gehry previously designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA. He uses custom architecture software designed by his in-house team
The news comes just a month after Facebook opened its first international engineering office in London. This joined Facebook's 18 or so other international officies in Hyderabad, Tokyo, Auckland, and the international headquarters in Dublin. Facebook's offices in the states include engineering and ads hubs in Seattle, New York, and Austin, plus data centers in Oregon, North Carolina, and Virginia.
Facebook announced the Menlo Park headquarters now at 1 Hacker Way, formerly the Sun Microsystems campus, in February 2011. At the time it noted it had also purchased the 22 acre lot across the highway, with plans to fix it up when it needed the space. That time is fast approaching as ground will break on the construction of the west campus in a few months.
And while it might not be as nerdy as the 42-foot wide QR code on the top of the main campus, the idea of taking a stroll through a rooftop tree garden to help your brain work through a tough coding problem sounds pretty awesome.