Where Our Overlords Work: The New Facebook HQ

In an episode of the genius show Broad City, Ilana, in all her youth-infused brilliance, declared that only old people use Facebook. This explains the constant stream of baby, marriage and home-buying news in my feed. And if the young folk look at Facebook as their parents’ social network (it is), then it should die with us. This seemed the natural progression to me—but apparently I’m just an out of touch old person.

Last week I was one of thousands who read about Facebook’s new Silicon Valley “campus”: a Frank Gehry masterpiece that says “we’re not going anywhere, ya dummy!”

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A scale model of Facebook’s West Campus in Menlo Park. (Facebook file photo)

In lieu of the new campus, I looked up Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth: $34,735,390,260. If you got cross-eyed with all the commas, that’s natural. The simplified number is $34+ billion. (Meanwhile, Facebook is worth $150 billion.) And then I read Time Magazine’s blurb on Zuckerberg as part of their poll Who Should Be on the 2015 TIME 100?. Here it is:

“Zuckerberg turned 30 this year and his company, Facebook, turned 10. The CEO has set new, ambitious goals, like connecting every human being to the Internet through a coalition of telecom and Web companies dubbed Internet.org.”

I’m thinking Minority Report, Hunger Games and Idiocracy, all rolled into one crazy meat wrap. The magnitude of these vague goals is both spine tingling and impressive—just like the new campus.

Facebook employees began moving in last week and have, apparently, been nothing but wowed. Of course, I’d expect nothing less from a Gehry design.

Here are the basics about the complex:

  • It includes over 430,000 square feet of space, can house 2,800 worker bees and is the largest open floor plan in the world.
  • The new address is (ugh) 1 Facebook Way and the complex is being dubbed MPK20, a nickname that requires a little decoding: Menlo Park + the total of all numbered Facebook buildings, which with the new complex = 20.
  • It is LEED gold certified.
  • The interior walls include 15 original murals. Check out Curbed’s piece on the complex for a sneak peak.
  • It features a 9-acre green roof created by CMG Landscape Architecture, which includes actual greenery (400+ trees, grass and a half-mile loop) and will both absorb heat and insulate the building, lowering energy costs. Accroding to source, it will also “serve as a haven for local and native birds, as the trees and plants are climate appropriate and native to [California]”.

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In a written statement, Gehry said “From the start, Mark [Zuckerberg] wanted a space that was unassuming, matter-of-fact and cost effective. He did not want it overly designed. It also had to be flexible to respond to the ever-changing nature of his business — one that facilitated collaboration and one that did not impose itself on their open and transparent culture. This is the building that we created for him.”

Meanwhile, I sit alone in my apartment on a dreary day, tapping on my laptop and occasionally starting at the wall.

One response to “Where Our Overlords Work: The New Facebook HQ

  1. Pingback: Becoming Critical Users of Digital Technologies – jakematthewsblog·

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