Steve Jobs seeks approval for new Apple Campus [video]

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In December of 2010, it was revealed that Apple Computer purchased a 98-acre campus from Hewlett-Packard in Cupertino, which is adjacent to 50 acres the company purchased in 2006, and which is just a few blocks from its main campus on Infinite Loop. It was reported that acclaimed British architect Norman Foster would be designing the new Apple campus and that environmental issues would be a key aspect of the design.

What that report didn’t say is that the campus would look like a spaceship!

Proposed new Apple campus

Steve Jobs went to the Cupertino city council to get approval to build the new campus, which will be an addition to the already existing campus and not a replacement. It will be a 4-story building capable of holding 12,000 employees and could be completed by 2015. Jobs said the current campus holds about 2,800 employees, but the company has 12,000 employees in the area. “Apple is growing like a weed,” Jobs told the City Council. “It’s clear we need to build a new campus.” He described the proposed design by comparing it to a spaceship landing as he showed artist renderings.

“Think about that, that’s rather odd, 12,000 people in one building,” Jobs told the council. “We’ve seen these office parks with lots of buildings–and they get pretty boring pretty fast. So we’d like to do something better than that.”

“It’s a bit like a spaceship landed,” Jobs said of the four-story building’s design while showing the council artist renderings.

“There’s not a straight piece of glass in this building; it’s all curved,” he said, citing the company’s experience creating innovative Apple Stores around the world. “We know how to build the biggest pieces of glass for architectural use.”

Apple’s design calls for the campus to be 80% landscape with 6,000 trees, including apricot trees which used to grow in the area. Most of the vehicle parking would be located under the building and landscape. The on-campus energy center using natural gas will be its primary source of power and would use the power grid as a backup. Other features include an auditorium for presentations and an R&D center. Steve Jobs said the site is currently 20% landscape checkered with parking lots and with the new Apple campus would increase landscape by 350%, visible parking would decrease by 90%, and the building footprint would decrease by 30%.

To see Steve Jobs talk about the new Apple campus design and answer questions, watch this 21-minute video.

Via [CNET and MacRumors]

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  • Donald

    It is pretty stunning and I guessed Sir Norman Foster right off. But he has become a "big idea" architect and sometimes they are pretty self contained. If it were my building (and it's not) I would have a couple concerns with this design:

    1. How does my company grow? How do you add to something like this?

    2. If you are bringing people together to physically interact, how do you do that when your first and second appointments are on opposite sides of the ring?

  • Erica Marceau

    If the folks on the council weren't such morons maybe these are the questions they would have asked, instead of trying to get free wi-fi for the city.

    I don't have the official answers but these are my thoughts on what they could be.

    Maybe Apple will buy more land elsewhere and build another campus. Possibly even in another state and considering how hostile California is to businesses and how high the taxes are I would think it's a good idea to have another state to move to. I don't know why Apple hasn't done this already but maybe they have a lot of connections there.

    Anyway, Steve himself said that the way other campuses expand is by building additional buildings and he described that as ugly. This goes into your second point. This method of expanding is just as cumbersome to get around as having a really big circle. Any design of putting as many people in a small area has advantages and disadvantages. A high-rise means people will need to use elevators and I don't think Steve wants his campus to have a lot of high-rises as his needs for more room increases. I'd say taking an elevator to the ground floor, walking to another building, and taking an elevator up is more of a bother than walking around a circle. Maybe they'll have carts to zip you around like airports. :-) Or you could just walk outside and go directly to the opposite side of the circle. It's a good excuse to go outside regardless.

    Plus, since most of the land is going to be orchards and grass I think Steve didn't want to just make an apple campus but bring back some of what the area had before the cities expanded and turned everything green into concrete. Bringing back the apricot orchards makes me think Steve wants that to be as much of his legacy as the actual apple campus. Maybe Steve doesn't want to expand beyond the one building just to keep it as green and fresh as possible. If more room is needed they'll expand elsewhere.

    Plus, there's always video conferencing.

  • Steve Wagner

    I dislike large circular buildings like this. It is difficult to figure out where you are in the facility.

    Have you ever visited UC Irvine? A very nice campus on the whole. I've been there many times, and it is difficult to remember where you are on the campus circular plan.

  • Erica Marceau

    They will need to have signs up to show where you are and if they number the rooms like a clock then it would be easier to visualize where you are. Of course they'd have to have the floor number as well.

    Still I can see that having to rely on signs to know where you are in a building can be quite disorienting. It reminds me of the Yogi Berra saying, "Wherever you go there you are."

    I wonder if Steve Jobs took this into consideration.