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12 Facts Norman Foster Just Revealed About Apple's HQ

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Four months after a crop of renderings for Norman Foster's bonkers plans for Apple's HQ caused a tizzy in the architecture/tech spheres, the starchitect sat down with Architectural Record to discuss (among other things) how exactly his design will implement Steve Jobs' wish for "no seam, gap, or paintbrush stroke showing; every wall, floor, and even ceiling is to be polished to a supernatural smoothness." Below, 12 juicy bits of new information about "the mothership"—plus another look at all the sun-soaked glass pavilions and orchards to rise up in Cupertino, Calif.
12. Foster considers his 2.8M-square-foot ring to be a "compact" building, using a "typical university" as a comparison: "Traditionally, you're probably talking at least 16 or 17 buildings. The Apple building will occupy the site much more tightly than what was there."

11. The site used to house a Hewlett-Packard HQ, whose buildings were demolished "just in the last month."

10. Apple's HQ will cover 13 percent of the site. The some 24 buildings that made up the Hewlett-Packard campus covered "much more" of the 176 acres.

9. Steve Jobs used Stanford's campus as something of a springboard. "The reference point for Steve was always the large space on the Stanford campus—the Main Quad—which Steve knew intimately. Also, he would reminisce about the time when he was young, and California was still the fruit bowl of the United States. It was still orchards."

8. Norman Foster, on the other hand, looked to London: "You can get high density by building around the perimeter of a site, as in the squares of London. And in the case of a London square, you create a mini-park in the center. So a series of organic segments in the early studies started to form enclosures, all of which were in turn related to the scale of the Stanford campus."

7. The courtyard is meant to "visually banish" cars and replicate the California orchards of old. Foster describes it as "essentially a park that would replicate the original California landscape." Here "tarmac would be replaced by greenery, and car parks by jogging and bicycle trails."

6. How many bicycles will be accommodated? "More than a thousand" bikes will be kept on campus, Foster says.

5. The main building will provide workspace for 12,000, but the "wellness center" (read: gym) will be open to the 20,000-plus Apple employees in the Silicon Valley.

4. Programmers, designers, marketing people, and designers will all be based here, and Foster says "the proximity, the adjacencies are very, very carefully considered."

3. The huge building is "broken down by cafés and lobbies and entrances."

2. There will be "four-story-high glass walls, which can literally move sideways and just open up into the landscape. So the social facilities break down the scale."

1. The car park will be built under verdant lawn so that "You won't look out of your window and see row after row of parked cars." How considerate.

Renderings, below:


· Asking Mr. Big [Architectural Record via Gizmodo]
· Finally, At Long Last, Renderings for Apple's Spaceship HQ [Curbed National]
· All Norman Foster coverage [Curbed National]