These days it seems London’s former red-light district is the place to be, whether you’re a budding art student at Central Saint Martins – or perhaps even a Facebook employee. Developing into something of a tech hub, it has been reported that King’s Cross is set to be the new home of social-media giant Facebook, along side its good neighbour Google.
Apparently, Facebook is close to finalising a deal with King’s Cross Central, which is mainly owned by AustralianSuper pension fund. If it goes ahead, and reports are accurate, the company will occupy four buildings incorporating a mammoth 700,000 square-foot space, which would essentially triple Facebook’s existing footprint in the capital.
Facebook would be in good company – the proposed offices would be located close by the the Central Saint Martins art school on Granary Square, which is currently set in a 19th-century warehouse, plus Google has big plans for the area, with its own 11-storey ‘landscraper’ due to measure an incredible one million square feet, designed by heavyweight architects Thomas Heatherwick and Bjarke Ingels.
It has also been rumoured that world-renowned architect Frank Gehry could be brought in to design Facebook’s new headquarters, with sources saying that the LA-based architect has been asked to oversee the fit-out of two sustainable buildings designed by Bennetts Associates, which are due to be completed by next year. Gehry may also be a working on a standalone building at a nearby site, which would provide the majority of the space for the Internet company’s new offices.
This isn’t the first time that Facebook would have worked with Gehry. Back in 2015, the company hired Gehry to design its 430,000 square-foot headquarters in Menlo Park, California, which apparently has ‘the largest open floor plan in the world’, plus Gehry also designed its current 250,000 square-foot office in London’s Oxford Street.
Rather than a new home for existing Facebook employees, the new building has been described by a Times’ source as a potential ‘growth space’, which would allow the company to build on its existing presence in Europe.
In addition to works in London, it’s been suggested that Facebook is already set to expand its Silicon Valley campus, with plans for a mixed-use development submitted by OMA Architects. The New-York based practice was one of the key firms behind the redesign of London’s iconic Commonwealth building, which reopened as the Design Museum in November 2016.
If the plans get the go-ahead, Facebook’s King’s Cross redevelopment is due to be completed between 2020 and 2024. The area has already become a thriving creative quarter and has been completely transformed from a semi-derelict industrial area to one of the most sought-after locations for both established businesses and up-and-coming start-ups.