Apple's spaceship headquarters is so huge, so far-out, and so complex that it almost seems unrealistic. That is - until the chief architect pipes up, which he has, subsequently making the project seem more tangible and even more interesting than before.
Norman Foster, founder of British firm Foster+Partners, is known for his architectural work on the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank headquarters in Hong Kong, the Swiss Re tower in London, the Hearst Tower in New York, the Beijing International Airport, and more recently, Apple's spaceship, the latter of which he recently discussed in an interview with ArchRecord.
Pocket-lint has combed over the brief interview and paired it with some other little-known tidbits about Apple's office of the future, which is currently in development, and we've laid every thing out below alongside some mind-blowing renders that the City of Cupertino released last autumn.
Now you can successfully keep abreast with the construction project and simultaneously learn some interesting facts about Apple's upcoming epic headquarters.
1. Apple's spaceship headquarters is also known as Apple Campus or Apple Campus 2. It is nicknamed "spaceship" because it'll have a spaceship-like or donut-like design and house over 12,000 employees. In order to house so many employees, Apple's spaceship and new campus will take up a 2.8 million-square-foot area or a 176-acre area located on Hewlett Packard's former campus.
2. Foster revealed that Apple's new campus was originally planned for a smaller site, but then, when HP's campus became available, the "scale" of Apple's project changed. Construction (intended to be completed in mid-2015) will now most likely be completed in mid-2016. Additionally, along with delays, according to Wired, the budget has grown from less than $3 billion in 2011 to almost $5 billion in 2013.
3. Foster compared Apple's campus to a "typical university" with at least 16 or 17 buildings, though Apple's buildings will occupy the site "much more tightly". In fact, Foster's company finished demolishing HP's numerous buildings on site in February, and, he explained, Apple's campus will only cover 13 per cent of that site.
4. The spaceship is a four-story circular structure with giant walls of glass, which will enable employees to look out from both sides of the ring within the donut-shaped building. It will also feature the same glass staircases found in Apple stores around the globe. Peter Arbour, an architect for Seele, the company that makes those staircases, told Bloomberg: "It is something like six kilometres of glass".
5. Apart from the main spaceship building, Apple will construct a corporate fitness centre, auditorium, central plant, and several offices. The main building will cater to 12,000 employees, and there's a wellness centre or fitness centre that will respond to "the needs of the entire Apple community in Silicon Valley, which is 20,000-something," Foster added.
6. Apple Campus 2 "morphed into a circular building" so that it could enclose a private space in the middle that would double as a park, according to Foster. The middle park will replicate the original California landscape and "recapture the orchards of the past". Greenery will replace the tarmac, for instance, and jogging and bicycle trails will be prevalent.
7. It is known that Apple wants at least 80 per cent of the campus to boast roughly 7,000 trees - in an attempt to bring California back to Cupertino. Foster elaborated on this claim, explaining that Steve Jobs, Apple's late co-founder, reminisced about when he was young and California was "still the fruit bowl of the United States". It "was still orchards" then, Foster said.
8. Because the campus site is so huge, Foster said Apple has "very, very carefully considered" the proximity of adjacencies, enabling programmers, designers, marketing, retail, etc, to collaborate without spending much time commuting. The scale has also been broken down by social facilities like cafés, lobbies, entrances, all of which are connected by trails. More than a thousand bikes will be kept on site.
9. The new campus will supposedly be one of the most environmentally sustainable projects. Apple Insider claimed power for the facilities will come from an "on-site low carbon Central Plant". The structure's roof will be outfitted with solar panels, though a backup electrical supply will come from the Cupertino power grid.
10. And finally, there's alot going on underground. The campus' car parking lot will be buried, for instance, and the headquarters will be fitted with a 1,000- seat underground auditorium. This auditorium will allow Apple to hold presentations and keynotes instead of renting space in San Francisco for product launches.
Want to know more?
Check out this drone-flyover of the headquarter's construction site: