Last May of 2020, right in the teeth of Covid, I was on assignment to photograph the landscape design of the Facebook Campus in Menlo Park, CA. The roof of their building, 70 feet high, is a landscaped park with 9 acres of greenery. There are skylights on the roof that bring daylight into the cavernous, Frank Gehry designed interior, which opened in the spring of 2015. CMG, of San Francisco, was the landscape designer. Eerily enough, the entire FB workforce was absent due to the pandemic and the interior of Facebook was tomb silent.
A half mile trail winds throughout the rooftop, which has deciduous, evergreen and flowering trees, Gehry-designed teepees, private niches with lawn furniture overlooking a view of San Francisco bay, drought- tolerant grasses, artwork and hammocks. Hard to believe you’re on the top of a building, felt more like a stroll in the park to me. I utilized drone photography to capture some scenes along with still photography on the ground and had a leisurely afternoon to do it.
I admire landscape architects. The good ones adapt the synthesis of built and natural systems with human needs in mind. In other words, you can rest and breathe, chat and dream in a relaxing outdoor space, away from a screen.
As a commercial photographer for over 25 years, this was one of the most remarkable examples of landscape design I’ve encountered.