Facebook | Classic Campus

Menlo Park, CA

In contrast with conventional campus landscapes, the distinctly urban design of this campus is a simple framework for user generated content and change.

Set along a post-industrial edge between Bayfront Expressway and the salt marshes, this campus was built in the early 1990’s and is comprised of eight office buildings enclosing a shared interior courtyard. At this time, CMG began working with Facebook to help re-envision the central space. One of the key challenges was understanding the company culture and how to translate core values of openness and transparency into the project. Functionality, directness, and utility were all explored and led to ideas about enhancing street life within the courtyard space.

The design approach takes advantage of the climate in connecting the workspace to the outdoors and applies a series of urban design principles to focus on the social life of public spaces. Buildings act as gateways, filtering people arriving from the parking lots into lobbies, through the workspace, and out to the courtyard. Building facades were adapted to be more porous with multiple doorways that open internally onto a lively, quarter-mile pedestrian street. The space links program and facilitates employee interaction as people move along a narrow but generous space. This infrastructure allows activation and encourages change through accrual over time. Maker spaces and pop-up shops rotate periodically along the building frontage – adhering to the ethos that nothing is fixed, everything is impermanent and subject to reinvention. A robust food program helps build and aggregate community by encouraging social exchange and gathering. As a workplace, the courtyard serves Facebook’s need for attraction, retention, and productivity.