The largest open floor plan in the world

| August 29, 2012 | 0 Comments

Given that last year’s dramatic market recovery was driven by large deals, I shouldn’t be too surprised to find myself writing about new proposed corporate campuses twice in as many days.

Word that Facebook has hired legendary architect Frank Gehry to design their proposed new Menlo Park building has garnered some excitement on the Peninsula.   An article about the design, described by Facebook as an “engineers paradise” that was circulating around Colliers this morning made some interesting comparisons, and is worth a quick read.   I think that most in the tech world will see Gehry’s vision of the “largest open floor plan in the world” as well suited for the current Silicon Valley collaborative ethos.  I personally like the low-slung design that emphasizes open space, particularly given the sites proximity to the Bay.   Given how nicely Facebook has managed to transform ‘Sun Quentin’ into a showcase high tech campus, I’m pretty optimistic that they’ll pull off something impressive here as well.

Wait a minute.  My colleague Don Reimann makes an excellent point.  “This reminds me of Philippe Kahn’s 465,000 SF HQ for Borland International in Scotts Valley.  Borland is long gone, the building is still there, and the owner now can’t give it away.  Larger projects like this must be divisible with unique identities for each division or they’ll sit empty for eons should the original user ever wish to relocate, or not need the space at all”.  Unique isn’t necessarily a good thing  (I’m also reminded of Silicon Graphics very cool but maybe too unique building at the entrance to Shoreline Park that was taken over a decade ago by perhaps the only user at the time who could make sense of it, the Computer History Museum).   I personally don’t think Facebook is going away any time soon, but if their facility needs drastically change over time, will this building fit the market then?

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