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Apple's spaceship campus revealed


August 17, 2011

The sun rises over Apple's new campus

The sun rises over Apple's new campus

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With the success that Apple has achieved over the past decade, it's perhaps no surprise that it has outgrown its original "Infinite Loop" campus and is in need of a new flagship headquarters to bring the teams together under one roof. Since Steve Jobs will undoubtedly have been the driving force behind the building's conceptual design and hey, it's Apple, the architecture for the new campus is unlike anything else ever built. Indeed, Apple saw fit to engage London-based über-architect Sir Norman Foster and his team, a company known for its unashamedly modern, hi-tech and unique approaches to large buildings such as the Stanstead and Hong Kong airports, the American Air Museum, the Berlin Reichstag, the Dallas Opera House, The Smithsonian and part of the World Trade Center re-development. The statistics of the proposed building are staggering.

The diameter of the ring is 1,615 feet (492.25 meters), which makes it wider than the Pentagon. The circumference will be nearly a mile (1.6 km) and the planned office floor space is 2.8 million square feet (260,128.5 sq m) including a 300,000 square foot (27,870.9 sq m) research facility. That's enough space for 12-13,000 workers - in comparison, Infinite Loop houses only 3,500 engineers at present. There will also be space for their cars underneath the ring and in an additional low-rise structure, though Apple already runs 20 bio-fuel buses for its employees and intends to extend the initiative.

A separate 1,000-seater underground auditorium (for product announcements to the media, undoubtedly), fitness center and natural gas-burning power generation plant complete the plan. The campus will be self-sufficient for power, with the national grid acting only as a back-up. Apple, and Steve Jobs in particular, was stung by criticism of its green credentials from environmental groups some years ago, so you can be sure that a mix of state-of-the-art green technologies will be employed to control the building's environment ... something that Foster + Partners and the building engineers Arup reportedly have long experience in.

The 150-acre (60.7 hectare) site was mostly purchased from Hewlett Packard (Jobs' very first employer) and Apple intends to make almost 80 percent of the site into green landscape, with an extra 2,300 trees. No structure is over four stories high, and the use of glass and the extensive planting means the building should blend well into its surroundings, considering the size.

It should be stressed that at this time this is a planning application only. Steve Jobs, however, commended the plan to the Cupertino City Council in person, describing it as a "landed spacecraft" and "a shot at creating the best office building in the world." Later, Cupertino's Mayor Gilbert Wong remarked, "there is no chance we are saying no!" Apple is hoping to move on to the new campus in 2015.

About the Author
Vincent Rice Vincent Rice has been an audio-visual design consultant for almost 30 years including six years with Warner Brothers Cinemas. He has designed several large retail installations in London and a dozen major nightclubs across the world from Belfast to Brno to Beruit. An accomplished musician and 3D computer graphics artist, Vince also writes for AV Magazine in the U.K. and the Loudscreen digital signage blog. All articles by Vincent Rice

I take it inside the ring is where the night time ceremonies and incantations take place, away from the prying eyes of non-members of the apple \'family\'?

Facebook User

Where do I send my CV? Suppose I\'ve got 4 years to get moved over

I am a little surprised they didn\'t make an apple shape? I wonder if he install car charging points as well?

I can\'t quite make out the rocket boosters.


This building can\'t be that green because of the amount of glass it uses which is considered to be one of the least \'green\' building materials available.

I hope Steve Jobs enjoys his glass donut. Wouldn\'t it have made more sense to build the building in the shape of the Apple logo?

Also, I\'m pretty sure it will get build because Mr Jobs said he would simply relocate to another site and/or State if the council said no and take his workers with him.


Oztechi, modern building use polycarbonate and the like.. Great looking building by the way))

Renārs Grebežs

Pretty neat building way to go Apple!!


that\'s not a spaceship. The Romans and Greeks were building houses much like this over 2,000 years ago. It\'s just a villa. (a building built around a garden, and completely enclosing the garden.)

Like most of what Apple does, it is something that has already been done, with a couple of minor changes and a lot of hype to make the easily fooled believe it is new and innovative.


Crop circle?


Why not an Apple shaped building? Simply because when Apple goes down and under, who wants to buy and Apple shaped building. I guess the walls are made of iPads and the doors are huge Mac screens. And when Patent infringement police will come for a visit they will be given the run around round and round. It\'s also a safe shape to protect against a possible attack by 800.000 Chinese employees deciding to visit USA to meet the Boss and apply for a raise and better work environment or will it be a Apple Factory Robot attack? Mr. Foster.. I expected something way more innovating. Lucky the trees will hide the Circus Arena you sold to Apple

Vic Vicarious

I just want to know where they found the Zero point module to power it.

Tony Medlin

Looks like Jobs is trying to make his own little \"Mini-Pentagon.\"

Dave Andrews

If two pale skinned blond kids who speak in a monotone, named Tony and Tia show up...

Gregg Eshelman

Who cares about Apple; I\'m a PC!


What a bunch of suck ups you people are. This building is horrible!


there must be some transport envisioned, helicopters, trains, minbusses, segways, :-). s.

Søren Algreen-ussing

What it needs is a pair of counter rotating slidewalks. Have one counterclockwise on one floor and a clockwise one on another floor. Place touchscreens around so you can enter your destination and they\'ll tel you if it\'s closer to take the slidewalk on that floor or to go up or down to the one going the opposite direction.

If your destination is less than 1/8 the circumference away, it instead says \"Walk, you lazy bum!\". ;)

Perhaps this expensive boondoggle is why Steve Jobs is stepping down? It\'s been traditional for companies that spend lavishly on new corporate digs to go belly up due to financial mis-management.

Gregg Eshelman

Its a HALO!


Maybe Steve could throw some coin for some better digs for his third-world brothers and sisters who supply him cheap cheap labour and materials...

Jamie Palmer

It is an anti-pentagon.


Nice looking structure, but with all of those windows surrounded by trees, I bet Apple will be killing a lot of birds. Perhaps it would be better to keep a green field (300 m deep?) between the trees and the building.

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