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Title: Facebook’s MPK20 Headquarters by Frank Gehry
Authors: Rühse, Viola
Keywords: Symbolic architecture
major tech firms
social networking service
Frank Gehry
open office plan
headquarter architecture
garage style
history of office buildings
Silicon Valley
Issue Date: 17-Oct-2017
Abstract: Facebook engaged renowned architect Frank Gehry for the design of a new headquarter building in Silicon Valley in 2012 that was completed in 2015. The 40,000 sqm large office building called MPK20 (short for Menlo Park building 20) demonstrates a special architectural restraint in contrast to the new conspicuous buildings of other major tech firms such as Apple or Google. Facebook’s MPK20 is even difficult to notice for external visitors because the architecture is almost entirely covered by a 3.6 ha roof garden and other park areas. Inside, there is a large open-plan office along with many unhidden tubes and cables. With such a “garage style”, the social networking service wants to foster an innovative start up atmosphere architecturally, even though it is a very well established company now. In my paper, it is analyzed in detail how the exterior architecture and interior design transfer the special corporate culture of Facebook that stylizes itself as a community of builders with a “hack attitude” and aims to set new working standards. It is revealing to take other buildings of Facebook, as well as other companies, the situation in Silicon Valley and the history of office buildings into account. Special attention is given to the symbolic architectural elements of MPK20 such as the rooftop park and the (currently) biggest open floor plan of the world. They intend to support a positive image of Facebook against the criticism raised in the last years and are also helpful for recruiting specialist staff.
Appears in Collections:1. Re:Trace Conference - Keynotes, Papers & Posters

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