How Facebook's Stealthy New Headquarters Blends In

Facebook West CampusCan you see Facebook’s new house?

Photo: City of Menlo Park

Now we’ve got an even better idea of what Facebook’s new 2,800-person campus will look like.On Monday, Facebook real-estate director John Tenanes emailed plans to city officials in Menlo Park, Calif. We downloaded a copy.

The main impression: When it opens next year, you’ll barely know that a company that’s serving 1 billion users (give or take) works out of this space. The zig-zagging walls of the building, with trees on its green roof, will blend into the surroundings.

It’s almost as if CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked architect Frank Gehry to set the building’s privacy settings as high as possible.

Wait, is there a building here? From this view, you'll barely see it.

The location is across a local highway from the Ravenswood salt ponds, which are part of a wetlands restoration project.

From here, the building is a bit more visible.

A glimpse.

Here's a view from a local neighbourhood.

This plan—the current design concept—is very different from one submitted last October. It could change again before construction starts.

The most obvious feature will be the green roof, planted with trees, grass, and a garden.

The building will be essentially built on stilts over a parking garage. The original design had a five-story parking structure; this one is far less visually intrusive.

This colour-coded map tells you the most about Facebook's plans for employees. There's a looping racetrack designed to maximise interaction. The space will be open, but not overwhelming in scale.

Here's a closer look. In green are five cafeterias, one large, four smaller. Microkitchens are scattered throughout. The conference rooms are in orange. Yellow rooms are everything from mothers' rooms to IT help centres to shipping and copy facilities.

The green roof looks like it might be expensive, but it will actually save on heating and cooling costs. There's also a large roof plaza.

This cross section gives you an idea of the scale.

The roof shifts from flat to peaked—but again, this is not the final design. Gehry may have more surprises up his sleeve. And city officials may require changes.

This gives you an idea of how the new campus relates to the current one.

Facebook is hoping employees will walk or use bikes. There will also be a shuttle.

West Campus and East Campus will connect via a tunnel—bikes, pedestrians, and shuttles only.

Here's how the tunnel will operate.

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