Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A Peek at the New Facebook Campus

technology/facebook-hq/facebook-hq-blog480.jpg" id="100000000978013" width="480" height="320" alt="Facebook's new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., has many quirky touches." />Jim Wilson/The New York TimesFacebook’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., has many quirky touches.

Who says Facebook doesn’t care about privacy?

Its new campus in Menlo Park, Calif., is dotted with phone booths, in case someone wants privacy while making a phone call. At Facebook, no one has their own office,not even the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg. They don’t even have cubicles. Everyone rat-tat-tats on their keyboards on rows of long tables and chairs.

Hence, the phone booths. They are real phone booths, with doors, like the kind Superman used to use to change into his tights. These are freshly painted industrial grey. The other retro touches include Mid-Century Modern chairs that reek of “Mad Men” cool and conference room walls that are painted the color of yellow No. 2 pencils.

Quaint, isn’t it? Pencils.

Conference rooms seem to be a big deal at Facebook. Some are named after Internet memes: Cool Story Bro is one. Rooms on the second floor meld a Star Wars theme with mixed drinks. My favorite: Whiskey on the Ewoks. (Mr. Zuckerberg will get his own conference room here in the new campus, just as he does in the existing company headquarters in Palo Alto.)

In the new space, which used to be Sun Microsystems old space, ceilings and walls have been punched out to expose duct and raw beams. Leftover carpet glue from the previous occupants has left a swirly pattern on the raw cement floors. And in keeping with the faux-proletarian feel of the place, the bar (yes, there is a bar) is stocked with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

technology/facebookhq2/facebookhq2-blog480.jpg" id="100000000978133" width="480" height="320" alt="Facebook's new headquarters in Sun's old headquarter has a rougher look." />Jim Wilson/The New York TimesFacebook’s new headquarters in Sun’s old headquarter has a rougher look.

Some walls have been covered with blackboard paint, encouraging employees to doodle and scar. Soon, the graffiti of David Choe, which marked the walls of the very first Facebook office in Palo Alto, will be transplanted to the new headquarters.

The 57-acre campus, built more than 15 years ago for Sun Microsystems, sits next to a six-lane highway, on the edge of a vast gorgeous marsh that is likely to draw the occasional pied-billed grebe and certainly goose droppings.

Speaking of faux, the campus will eventually mimic an old fashioned cityscape. In what is now a standard courtyard encircled by office buildings, Facebook plans to install a café, a burger stand, a noodle joint as well as a bike shop. Never mind this is in the middle of a sprawling suburb where life without a car is impractical if not impossible.

Facebook employees have begun to trickle in to the new space. The last of the bunch will move in by the end of the year. The mini-kitchens have been stocked with Cheerios and Red Bull — standard technology industry nourishment.

Facebook is nothing if not ambitious: It currently houses a little over 1,000 employees across two buildings in nearby Palo Alto. The new campus, with a footprint of over one million square feet, can house up to 7,000 people.

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