Posts tagged with "Facebook":

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Facebook unveils views of latest Gehry-designed office expansion

Frank Gehry’s exuberant-landscape-meets-open-office phase is in full swing.  The 89-year-old architect and social media giant Facebook have unveiled select views of their recently completed MPK 21 project in Sunnyvale, California, a 523,000-square-foot addition to the company’s sprawling Northern California headquarters complex.  Built in only 18 months by Level 10 Construction, the green roof-topped slab office building is billed as an expansion of Gehry’s MPK 20 project that opened next door in 2016.  In a video announcing the completion of the offices, Gehry explains that with MPK 21, his office and the client sought to put into place lessons learned from the MPK 20 building. As a result, the new 3.6-acre green roof for MPK 21 spans multiple levels—instead of just one, as is the case for MPK 20—and becomes a central, planted courtyard at the heart of the complex studded with social and work-related spaces. The garden links rooftop, offices, and the neighboring buildings and also features over 200 trees, including over a dozen 40-foot-tall redwood trees, as well as a half-mile-long meandering pathway and an amphitheater.  Within, the complex is organized around a central spine that links open office areas, quiet workstations, dining facilities, and a 2,000-person digital meeting space. The complex contains 15 art installations that were developed in conjunction with an artist-in-residence program. The building also comes studded with environmentally-friendly bells and whistles, including a reclaimed water system designed to save about 17 million gallons annually, 175,000 square feet of fritted windows to protect migrating birds, and a 1.4-megawatt solar panel system that will generate almost 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity yearly. Plans call for completing a two-acre public park and plaza adjacent to the offices within the year with a forthcoming elevated bicycle bridge slated to span across the Bayfront Expressway heading to the site, as well. In conjunction with the project, Facebook says it has contributed $20 million in funding for affordable housing and rental assistance programs to local authorities while it works with regional partners to reopen the Dumbarton Transportation Corridor as a multi-nodal transitway to help alleviate some of the traffic congestion that is likely to occur due to the new offices.
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San Francisco considers banning employee cafeterias

To the chagrin of downtown delis, pizza joints, and taquerias everywhere, tech companies in San Francisco have found yet another treasured urban tradition to disrupt: lunch.  Specifically, in recent years, as San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood has been transformed by the arrival of sizable offices for Twitter, Uber, Google, and others, street life in the area has fizzled. The culprit, critics say, are the free lunches often provided by tech companies to their employees, one of the many perks used to lure new hires and build team morale. A potential side effect, however, is that office workers no longer go out to eat as often as in the past, and the shift is threatening to upend the livelihoods of businesses that have traditionally catered to the nine-to-five crowd. In response, San Francisco Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safaí have introduced a new city ordinance that would ban start-up style “employee cafeterias” from new office developments. The bill would aim to curb employers from providing free or tax-free food to their workers on a regular basis but would have no effect on the 51 cafeterias currently in operation across the city. Safaí told The San Francisco Chronicle that the ban was about instigating a cultural shift, adding, “This is about getting people out of their office, interacting with the community and adding to the vibrancy of the community.” In a statement, Peskin explained the motion would also hold companies accountable for the promises they made while pursuing approvals from the city. He said, "Many of these companies touted the boost their employees would have on our local economy, only to provide everything from round-the-clock gourmet catering to dry-cleaning on-site.” The measure, if passed, would be the second such initiative in the region, following a precedent set by nearby Mountain View. There, the municipality forbade Facebook from subsidizing employee meals as part of a recent expansion in a bid to get the tech company to engage economically with the local community.  Michael Kasperzak, the former Mountain View mayor who helped craft the 2014 ordinance told The Chronicle, “It really was geared more around trying to make sure we didn’t have 400,000 square feet of office space with people that never left the building.”

The initiative has not been expanded to include other businesses yet, but could potentially apply to a new 595,000-square-foot, tent-like headquarters Google, BIG, and Heatherwick Studio are planning in the city. There, designers have proactively included plans for publicly-accessible cafes and dining areas that would be shared with Google employees. 

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is due to take up its proposed ban later this year. 
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Chicagoans troll Anish Kapoor’s Bean in Facebook meme wars

In what is turning into a long-running war of Facebook memes, a handful of Chicagoans are producing Facebook events targeted at the Anish Kapoor–designed Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as The Bean. The events, which have attracted thousands of online RSVPs, range from the silly to the slightly obscene. One string of events seems to have started with Windex the Bean, which is scheduled for November 15. Following its creation, counter events were scheduled entitled Paint the Bean black so they can't Windex it, and Prime The Bean so they can paint it black. Yet another followed that was entitled Pour Paint Thinner On The Bean After They Paint It Black So We Can Windex in hopes of rebutting the others. More ridiculous events, unrelated to cleaning or painting the sculpture, include Flip the bean over so it gets an even tan line and Turn the Bean 90° So it Feels New Again. Another invites guests to Release The Bean into Lake Michigan and shout "You're free!" Speaking of being free, one event plans to Break open the bean to free the tiny man who lives inside. Playing off the "bean" nickname, two other events include Pour Spaghetti Sauce All Over The Bean, and of course Bake The Bean. While there is no sign that any of these events will happen in any way, if you are looking to Succumb to our collective existential dread outside the bean, there is an event for that, too.
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Facebook and OMA team up for Menlo Park master plan

Today social media giant Facebook announced it had tapped international firm OMA to master plan its Willow Campus, a mixed-use neighborhood that will be located next to the company's headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Shohei Shigematsu, the partner who helms OMA's New York office, will lead the design. “It’s exciting to collaborate with Facebook, whose innovation in networking and social media extends to urban ambitions for connectivity in the Bay Area," said Shigematsu in a release. "The Willow Campus masterplan creates a sense of place with diverse programming that responds to the needs of the Menlo Park community. The site has the potential to impact the future of regional transportation, housing, and environment." Facebook first moved to Menlo Park in 2011, with Frank Gehry designing a major 434,000-square-foot expansion a few years later. In terms of this latest round, said John Tenanes, Facebook's VP of global faculties and real estate, "our goal for the Willow Campus is to create an integrated, mixed-use village that will provide much needed services, housing, and transit solutions as well as office space. Part of our vision is to create a neighborhood center that provides long-needed community services. We plan to build 125,000 square feet of new retail space, including a grocery store, pharmacy, and additional community-facing retail." Housing and regional transportation will both figure prominently into this master plan. Tenanes said that this development will see 1,500 units of housing built, with 15 percent listed at below market rates. Having housing on site will hopefully reduce traffic, he continued, while also adding that "Willow Campus will be an opportunity to catalyze regional transit investment by providing planned density sufficient to support new east-west connections and a future transit center. We’re investing tens of millions of dollars to improve US101." (As Tenanes noted in the press release, this isn't Facebook's first foray into affordable housing.) Tenanes stated that Facebook and OMA will file a plan with the City of Menlo Park this month. From there, they will "begin more formal conversations with local government officials and community organizations over the course of the review process, which we expect to last approximately two years." He estimates construction will occur in several phases, with "the first to include the grocery, retail, housing and office completed in early 2021, and subsequent phases will take two years each to complete."
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Facebook to invest $20 million in affordable housing

After receiving criticism for displacing low-income residents in Silicon Valley, tech giant Facebook will invest $20 million in below-market-rate projects in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, California. Housing activists have long blamed Facebook for contributing to extreme income inequality in the area. This is not only because the corporation has displaced residents by expanding its headquarters campus, but also because of a seemingly well-meaning policy that offered bonuses to employees who lived near campus in Menlo Park rather than in San Francisco proper. Critics say this policy accelerated gentrification of the area and caused low-income tenants to be evicted in favor of the higher-earning Facebook employees. Of course, Facebook alone cannot be blamed for the Bay Area’s gentrification—Google, Apple, and hundreds of other heavy hitting technology firms and start-ups also call the area home. Plus, according to nonprofit group Public Advocates, the housing shortage in Silicon Valley has reportedly reached crisis levels, with the region building only 26 percent of the housing needed for lower-earning people. With Facebook’s new campus expansion, which entails adding 1.1 million new square feet to its current complex and plans to hire 6,5000 new employees over the next few years, community groups were concerned. In response, Facebook partnered with local activists and community groups, such as Youth United for Community Action, Faith in Action Bay Area, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, and Comité de Vecinos del Lado Oeste – East Palo Alto, as well as the local governments of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park to address the impact it will have on the Bay Area. Facebook is legally required to contribute $6.3 million to affordable housing thanks to development laws but does seem to be genuinely invested in the community. In addition to the $6.3 million required, another $12.2 million has been pledged to below-market-rate housing, $500,000 will go toward helping those displaced with legal and rental assistance, and $625,000 will go to job training in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). “Since shortly after Facebook was created, we’ve been part of Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. The region—this community—is our home,” said vice president of public policy and communications Elliot Schrage in a statement. “We want the region to remain strong and vibrant and continue a long tradition of helping to build technologies that transform the future and improve the lives of people around the world, and also in our extended neighborhood. We all need to work together to create new opportunities for housing, transportation and employment across the region. We’re committed to join with the community to help.”
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Gehry’s leaked plans for Facebook Seattle show a rooftop park with curving trails and fire pits

Last February, Facebook announced the company was moving its Seattle offices. The company has hired Frank Gehry to design its new Dexter Station space in the burgeoning South Lake Union neighborhood. Now, we the floor plans have been leaked, revealing more detail surrounding the always-amenity-rich tech offices. Last week, GeekWire obtained blueprints of the Gehry Partners–designed outdoor areas and a photo of a model of the interior. The plans show a rooftop park with a curving, looping trail (the younger cousin to the nine-acre park on Facebook's Building 20 in Menlo Park, also designed by Gehry). There's a fire pit, meeting and covered dining terraces, as well as a barbecue prep area, all spread over three rooftops. "The over-the-top amenities are the latest demonstration of the lengths to which Facebook and other tech companies are going to recruit and retain talent in an increasingly competitive market for top-notch software developers," wrote GeekWire. Facebook Seattle is currently working out of Metropolitan Park.  The company is expected to move into its new space by the middle of next year, and have enough room to grow to 2,000 employees. In 2010, they started with just two.
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Gehry, Gehry, Gehry: the architect’s retrospective opens at LACMA on September 13

With the entire hubbub over the L.A. River non-master plan, Gehry Partner’s new designs for Sunset Boulevard, a medal from the Getty, and critic Paul Goldberger’s hagiographic biography it’s easy to forget that a major retrospective simply entitled Frank Gehry opens LACMA on September 13. The exhibition originated at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and was curated by Frédéric Migayrou and Aurélien Lemonier, LACMA curators Stephanie Barron and Lauren Bergman curated the Los Angeles installment, which is designed by Gehry Partners. The Resnick Pavilion will be filled with over 60 projects, illustrated with dozens of models and drawings, from the 1960s onward. Several projects will be on view for the first time, including Facebook’s new campus and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s renovation. Touring the exhibition, the LA Times discovered a model of the Jazz Bakery, a non-profit music venue in search of a new home. Gehry’s pro-bono design for a site in Culver City includes 266-seat theater, a 60-seat black-box theater, and a West Coast jazz museum. According to LACMA, the exhibition tracks two threads of Gehry’s career: urbanism and digital technology. While the latter suggests a straightforward trajectory leading to CATIA Digital Project and Gehry Technologies, the first is more impressionistic, focusing on the architect’s use of everyday materials and his sensitivity to context to “create heterogeneous urban landscapes.” With conceptual themes in the exhibition such as “Composition | Assemblage,” “Conflict | Tension,” and “Unity | Singularity,” don’t expect much urban planning in the gallery. Gehry will be in conversation with Goldberger at LACMA’s Bing Theater on Sunday, September 13 at 2:00p.m. The event is free to the public, but tickets are required. More info on LACMA's website.
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As Facebook taps Gehry for two more buildings, take a peek inside the tech giant’s new Menlo Park offices

Facebook has allowed precious few people to see its new Frank Gehry–designed headquarters in Menlo Park, California. One of the lucky scribes was architecture critic James Russell, reporting for the Wall Street Journal. He raved about the hangar-like building's massive ceiling heights, clustered "neighborhoods," lack of hierarchy, and oodles of natural light. Another glimpse of the 434,000, single-floor space, which will eventually hold 2,800 employees, was from The Guardian, which actually posted a picture of the new space by none other than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself. “The building itself is pretty simple and isn’t fancy,” Zuckerberg told the Guardian. “That’s on purpose. We want our space to feel like a work in progress. When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much left there is to be done in our mission to connect the world." The Guardian noted that Facebook has just submitted plans for two more buildings next door, also by Gehry, with a floor area of roughly a million square feet. The scheme, also includes a community nicknamed "Zee Town," built for 10,000 employees on 200 acres. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Facebook bought a 56-acre campus once belonging to Prologis south of their current campus in February, so their expansion seems to be just beginning. More pictures of the new offices below.
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On View> Architecture students to fill Museum of Contemporary Art St. Louis with plastic bubble clouds

Graduate students at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts of Washington University in St. Louis are bringing to life a cloud of plastic bubbles in a show they're designing, building, and calling ACCUMULUS—a portmanteau of the words 'Accumulation, Cummulus, and Us.' 10426677_941348985875809_5475127656180084907_n Led by lecturers Jason Butz and Lavender Tessmer, the students will exhibit their work at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis starting June 5. “Exploring the forms and behavior that can be produced through processes of accumulation and aggregation, the studio tests the pairing of hand-scaled assembly of small parts with larger-scale fabrication and use of material,” reads the exhibition statement the group posted on Facebook. The graduate architecture students in the studio are: Jay Bassett, Jeffrey Lee, Chun Liu, Alex Melvin, Boxun Hu, Qian Huang, John Patangan, Joseph Vizurraga, Yue Zhang, and Ling Feng Zhang.
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You Like Us! You Really Like Us! AN’s Facebook Community Surpasses 500,000 Followers

  facebook Earlier this afternoon, The Architect's Newspaper gained our 500,000th Facebook friend, a major milestone in our growth. For an independently owned publication that started as a local print tabloid, the expansion of our readership in print, online, and through social media in the United States and around the world has been thrilling to watch. We're so grateful for your support. But more importantly, we are happy to be a part of increasing the public's awareness of architecture, design, planning, urbanism, and landscape architecture. That's what keeps us working so hard every day. For those of you who can't get enough AN, consider following and sharing us on social media: Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Thanks again for your interest and support!
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Gehry Gets Another Like: Architect Hired to Design Two International Facebook Offices

Facebook has chosen architect Frank Gehry to design the interiors of its relocated and expanded international offices in London and Dublin. This commission comes just a few weeks after Gehry was hired with Foster + Partners for the London Battersea Power Station redevelopment, his first project in the United Kingdom capital. The new Gehry-designed offices in the Irish and UK capital cities will provide current staff with double the square footage and allow for an increase in hired employees. Facebook London will move its headquarters to occupy three floors of 10 Brock Street. The Regent’s Place building gives Gehry 86,000 square feet of space for office design. This move will also situate the company in the same building as social media rival Twitter and only a short distance away from Google’s headquarters at King’s Cross. In Dublin, Facebook’s new digs will provide up to 1,000 employees with 114,000 square feet of office space in Grand Canal Square. Gehry began designing for the social media company last year when he was hired to create a new Menlo Park campus in California's Silicon Valley. More recently, he continued work for the brand in a redesign of engineering team offices in New York City's Astor Place.
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Facebook’s Latest App: Housing in Menlo Park

Facebook is planning to move from the virtual to the physical world with its latest venture: a 394-unit infill housing development known as Anton Menlo. The company is collaborating (in an advisory role) with California developer St. Anton Partners and architecture firm KTGY on the project, located on 10 acres of former industrial land near Marsh Road in Menlo Park. The development is within walking distance of Facebook’s headquarters and new West Campus. The $120 million development will include 35 studio apartments, 208 one-bedrooms, 139 two-bedroom apartments, and 12 three-bedroom apartments.  Fifty-three of the units are reserved for low-income applicants, and Facebook's funding will cover the gap between market and reduced rent for 15 of these apartments, per an agreement between the company and the City of Menlo Park. All of the apartments will be open to the general public. Proposed transit-oriented developments include the extension of a local bike path to the new housing, plus improved pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks. Residents will also have access to an on-site bicycle repair shop and bike storage. Anton Menlo has passed zoning approval and is currently under design review by the City of Menlo Park. Construction, which will last approximately 24 months, will begin this fall.