clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

16 Mindblowing Facts About Apple's Spaceship-Like HQ

New, 10 comments

Today Bloomberg Business Week runs a massive feature on Apple's forthcoming campus in Cupertino, Calif., which the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs described as "a little like a spaceship" when he unveiled them before the city council in 2011. It was Jobs' hope that the circular headquarters, totaling 2.8M square feet, become "the best office building in the world," as he put it. "I really do think architecture students will come here to see it." The original plans have Jobs' signature all over them—precision to the point where there needs to be a new definition of that word, innovation to the point where this doesn't even seem like a workspace—now, Apple executives are working with the architects at Foster + Partners to shave $1B off the estimated cost before actually breaking ground. That's not to say things aren't even more insane, of course. Here's a look at the latest roster of details:

16. The roof will hold 700,000 square feet of solar panels: "enough to generate 8 megawatts of power. (That's enough to power roughly 4,000 homes.)"

15. The campus will have 6,000 trees divided among 309 different species, plus 15 acres of "native Californian grassland."

14. Lots will happen underground, from the roads and garages to an auditorium for—what else?!—product demos.

13. The project, one estimated to cost $3B, will now cost nearly $5B. That's more than $1,500 a square foot.

12. The plan will accommodate 12,000 to 13,000 employees.

11. The structure will "generate all of his own electricity, relying on the grid only as a backup."

10. "Jobs insisted that the tiny gaps where walls and other surfaces come together be no more than 1/32 of an inch across, vs. the typical ? inch in most U.S. construction."

9. "All of the interior wood was to be harvested from a specific species of maple, and only the finer-quality 'heartwood'" at the center of the trees would be used, says one person briefed on the plan last year."

8. Jobs "wanted the whole place to look less like an office park and more like a nature refuge."

7. Apricot, olive, and apple orchards will fill the building's courtyard, along with an herb garden.

6. Windows will "automatically open or close to let in just the right amount of light, wind, and fresh air to maintain a comfortable temperature." In other worlds: Apple employees will never get into fights about the office being too hot or too cold.

5. "Jobs wanted no seam, gap, or paintbrush stroke showing; every wall, floor, and even ceiling is to be polished to a supernatural smoothness."

4. The glass exterior walls will be curved on-site in a factory in Germany, and shipped in. In total, there are six square kilometers of glass. "There's not a straight piece of glass in this building," Jobs once said.

3. Another prefab component will be "26-foot-long modules in various configurations—bathrooms, utility closets, and banks of offices complete with carpets and window treatments."

2. Floors will be made of terrazzo (a composite stone material) and "buffed to a sheen normally reserved for museums and high-end residences."

1. The ceilings will be made from polished concrete, which will be cast in molds on the floor and elevated into place so the "unsightly ruts where the scaffolding puts extra pressure on the surfaces" won't be visible—"a far more expensive approach that left one person involved in the project speechless."

· Inside Apple's Plans for Its Futuristic, $5 Billion Headquarters [Bloomberg Business Week via Gizmodo]