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Facebook begins building ‘world’s least functional’ bridge

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Social media company takes out $303 million permit on Frank Gehry design

A rendering of a crooked bridge filled with people passing over a highway. Rendering courtesy of Gehry Partners

San Francisco-based remodeling site BuildZoom reports that Facebook has applied for a permit to begin construction on the latest phase of the Frank Gehry-designed addition to their campus.

Specifically, the permit request specifies “a new 464,712 square foot, four-story commercial structure to include [...] foundation system for the bridge connecting 1 Facebook Way Building 21 to 1 Facebook Way Building 22 and underground site utilities.”

The site values the requested permit at $303 million.

Facebook presented the original Gehry designs for the two additional buildings in 2015, described at the time as “Hobbit compounds” thanks to the green roofs and the way the landscape seemed planned to swallow the structures. Curbed SF called it “landscape architecture sandwich with a soft story of at-grade parking holding up a Middle Earth layer of office space, topped by a bed of greens on the living roof.”

The staggering, zig-zagging overpass was first conceived as a bike bridge, which Gizmodo called the “world’s least functional span,” noting that “hairpin curves are generally not conducive to a bunch of people traveling on two wheels” and grousing that when it comes to Gehry designs “function doesn’t actually matter.”

By 2017 the San Jose Mercury News was referring to the span as a “pedestrian crossing,” which would make more sense.

The Mercury also said that Facebook significantly altered the look of the second Gehry building and ditched the Hobbit vibe, reporting that “instead of a large one-story structure with rooftop spaces like buildings 20 and 21, Facebook now proposes to erect a four-story building,” which is precisely what they’re applying for now.