In 5 clicks: the mentality behind Apple's spaceship campus

In 5 clicks: the mentality behind Apple's spaceship campus

Summary: In five pictures and an interview with the designer of Apple's new headquarters, we understand the reasoning behind the spaceship.


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  • Thousands of employees in one building

    In a revealing interview with founder and chairman of Foster + Partners, Norman Foster, Architectural Record discussed the latest project, a new headquarters for Apple fondly referred to by late co-founder Steve Jobs as a "spaceship."

    Slated for launch in 2016 at the earliest, Apple's new headquarters will be constructed in in Cupertino, California. Jobs originally submitted an application for the build in 2011 and the project was approved in 2013.

    The architecture firm taking on the spaceship is responsible for projects of every size, including London's "Gherkin," the Swiss Re tower and the Hearst Tower, New York, as well as Terminal 3 in Beijing International Airport.

    Apple's design is meant to house roughly 12,000 employees, and the headquarters will cover almost 3 million square feet of floor area and a circumference of nearly one mile, with renderings for the design include eco-friendly elements as well as jogging and bike trails -- making the use of space important. 

    Images credit: Foster + Partners

  • Why the ring?

    According to the architect, the ring evolved as the original, smaller site was abolished in favor of the new, which originally served as a base for Hewlett-Packard. 

    Once the scale changed, Jobs wished to include vast, open spaces -- as they reminded him of Stanford University's campus. By building around the perimeter of a site and using segments to create an enclosure, private spaces could be inserted in to the middle, which is going to include bicycle and jogging trails as well as orchards.

    However, if you want to use large amounts of land in this way, transport has to be catered for seperately. As a result, car parks have found themselves underground within the Apple headquarter renderings.

    Tarmac "will be replaced with greenery."

    "Remember, the main building caters to 12,000 people, but the wellness center -- the fitness center -- is probably responding to the needs of the entire Apple community in Silicon Valley, which is 20,000-something," Foster said.

    "Also, another building on the site is the presentation center, which will allow Apple to do the kind of things like product launches that otherwise would require space in San Francisco or wherever. And, a bit like the airport, where you have one building -- although it is in itself quite large -- it is essentially compact."

Topic: Apple

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  • getting to bob's office

    I really like this building, think its pretty damn cool. Only if you have to get to the other side, you have to travel the entire circle, no shortcuts. Who know, they have teleport stations in there for travel for all we know.
  • Interesting! Missing other facts.

    I like the cordoned off interior ring. Talk about SAFE from outside predators!
    Then an addition of an air inflated Soft Skin dome.
  • I love the line 70% of

    its power from solar and natural gas. 1% of that 70 will be solar, the rest will be generators running off of natural gas. Smart of them to stay off the grid, though, since the massive environmental regulations of California are already resulting in rolling brownouts throughout southern California.
    • You're forgetting about that shoddy retro-fit at San Onofre

      That resulted in the entire power plant being taken permanently off-line, 20 years early. San Onofre produced 20% of So Cal's power when it operated, and losing it is the cause of whatever "rolling brownouts" they're seeing.