A low-key Facebook building? In Gehry’s hands, Zuckerberg has it both ways

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A low-key Facebook building? In Gehry's hands, Zuckerberg has it both ways
A pedestrian ramp snakes along the north side of Facebook's new Frank Gehry-designed building in Menlo Park, Calif., leading to the rooftop garden
A low-key Facebook building? In Gehry's hands, Zuckerberg has it both ways
A pedestrian ramp snakes along the north side of Facebook’s new Frank Gehry-designed building in Menlo Park, Calif., leading to the rooftop garden

There are a couple of ways to explain how Frank Gehry came to design a very large but surprisingly plain-spoken building for Facebook in Silicon Valley.

The first is that the 86-year-old Gehry and Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 31-year-old founder, bonded over a shared appreciation of informal, unpretentious design: The tech magnate whose hooded sweatshirts have become a personal brand found common ground with the architect who won early recognition for making furniture out of cardboard.

After visiting Gehry’s warehouse-like offices on Beatrice Street on the Westside of Los Angeles, Zuckerberg told the architect he wanted essentially the same thing, if at a far bigger scale, for Facebook.

The second has less to do with design taste and more to do with, well, a social network. According to Gehry, his good friend Bobby Shriver — nephew of John F. Kennedy and brother-in-law of Arnold Schwarzenegger — suggested to his friend, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, that the architect and the tech company might make a good match. []

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