Frank Gehry Is Designing Facebook's New Office Building And That's Sad

Frank Gehry, the genius architect who designed the Wall Disney Concert Hall or the curve perverted one-trick pony who litters beautiful cities with Toontown buildings because he can't draw a straight line anymore (depending on your perspective), is going to be designing Facebook's new engineering office building. You don't even need to know architecture to know Gehry, he's an icon. This is a good thing because it proves Facebook has taste. But a horrible thing because its taste is so generically terrible.

Look, having Gehry design your building isn't the worst thing in the world. He's done some great work, he's one of the most famous architects ever and people really "like" his stuff. Screw the vanilla boxes! Let's live in a world on mushrooms. But just because someone with a big name decides to design deranged buildings inspired by the aftermath of a Michael Bay movie, it doesn't mean you have to like them. Or that they're any good.

Saying Gehry designs "awesome" buildings is easy. His designs are so different (from the norm, not each other) that they force you to comment. But the young and scrappy Facebook -- the one who gave David Choe FB stock for tagging up its walls -- probably wouldn't have done this (they couldn't have afforded it, first of all) because it's just so damn typical of a big public company trying to fake cool. Asking Gehry to design their latest building is the classic no-taste-masked-as-taste, socially accepted anti-establishment move.

Here's what the building looks like. In the middle of Menlo Park, where Gehry doesn't exactly have to tango with historic buildings and mind a cityscape, it doesn't look half bad. It looks carefully restrained and not like steel and glass vomit. Trees on the roof! So green! Here's what Facebook has to say:

It will be a large, one room building that somewhat resembles a warehouse. Just like we do now, everyone will sit out in the open with desks that can be quickly shuffled around as teams form and break apart around projects. There will be cafes and lots of micro-kitchens with snacks so that you never have to go hungry. And we'll fill the building with break-away spaces with couches and whiteboards to make getting away from your desk easy.

Not sure you needed Gehry for that. [Facebook via TechCrunch]


    So funny! Especially when you realise 14 people in cheap rented office space would be massive overkill for the sort of half baked rubbish the Facebook guys code up. Hilarious!

      Looks like someone didn't get an interview at facebook. Awww... poor guy!

    "It will be a large, one room building that somewhat resembles a warehouse."
    Why not just... put them in a warehouse? Is that so hard? Do they really need a world-famous architect for that?

    Sounds like a joke, but Facebook is a joke itself and I cannot wait to see the day it is replaced by something else.

    What's really funny is people making negative comments about a project that is not theirs, that they are not paying for, and probably will never work in. Sure sure, saying "You have a face like a dolphin's butt" will be greeted with more chuckles than saying "You look nice today". Its human nature to laugh at the lower levels of humor, and yawn at genuinely kind comments. But this article is simply juvenile and unnecessary.

    I'm no Gehry apologist, and as you note, the building looks pretty good. Maybe you are the one getting hung up on the Gehry name, and should let the building speak for itself. That's true taste, rather than posturing. Remember, the coolest thing to do these days is criticize Gehry, not hire him.

    yes yes famous architect but how many toilets will there

    This will surely reassure all Facebook's IPO investors that their money is being put to good use.


    Casey. Are you drunk ? High ? Because that is one completely incoherent rant.

    First Gehry is a genius. Then he isn't. But he is too good to design this building. But yet he is no taste marked as taste. I mean which is it ?

    The bloke is also designing the new uts business building. It looks like a crumpled paper bag.

    It's a building designed by Dr Seuss!

    That Fb are working to "buy taste" with this move may be true. I disagree with your dismissal of Gehry's work. 

    The Condé Nast cafeteria was designed by Gehry. It seats about 200 people in a fairly compact space. Near capacity, there can be a hundred simultaneous discussions taking place.  The curved walls of glass and perforated metal make it possible to actually have these individual conversations. The accoustic quality of the room invites relaxed discussion. This is smart business. 

    I suffer from a medical condition known as "being old and deaf." In most open spaces -- cafeterias, conference rooms, restaurants -- I have problems working out the conversation through the background noise. Gehry's Times Square cafeteria deflects and dissipates this cacophony and makes lunch meetings and other conversations not just possible, but pleasant. I happen to be familiar with this work of Gehry's; it would be surprising to find his other works didn't also have similar qualities beyond purely visual aesthetics.

    What you call the sameness of his work, I'd consider his signature. It's apparent plenty of thoughtful, utilitarian design goes into creating these signatures.

    Like a Steely Dan track, you can generally recognize its creator quickly.  You may not like it, and you may consider it derrivative of earlier tracks. That doesn't take away from the amount of thought, skill and craft that's gone into its creation. 

    timing of this announcement is astoundingly tone-deaf

    I have had a similar feelings when a famous painter from my country had made a triangle and a dot during an exhibition and the visitors ("the elite connoiseurs") started to find meaning and the philosophy of entire world in that painting. The f***** idiots called that a master piece.

    When mozart farted it became a sonnet!

    I like Gehry's and his office's work, their projects are always interesting and well thought out. His recent apartment project in New York is innovative, but (yes old cliche, praise first then - but) he is an establishment Architect, or I guess one of the dozen 'Starchitects' out there. It would have been nice for them to chose a up and coming Architecture firm rather than one I have been reading praise about for 20 years. Firms like Rex, Fat or Big would have been a more progressive choice, they all have a proven track record, but are contemporaries of Facebook rather than a Father / Grandfather.

    Your analysis of Gehry is incredibly unfounded (unjustified in the text at least) considering how harsh it is. I am not saying that they are in the same league but I am sure people said the same thing about Gaudi. How about more analysis rather than name calling to get attention for a story?

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