Apple is now giving everyone the official in-depth look inside its new Apple Park campus, including details about the original design of the “Ring” building, images of the building’s construction and interiors, and a whole lot more.
Call it a behemoth mothership, or an architectural masterpiece — Apple’s new campus is a feast for one’s eyes. Surrounded by greenery, Apple, along with the architects and workers who helped bring the mothership to life, deftly meshed nature and architecture together. In fact, this was one of the original aims.
Apple Campus: A Spaceship Has Landed
According to an article by Wired, Steve Jobs wanted to build the campus to consolidate all his employees amid the company’s steep upswing. One of the original goals was to build a campus “where the border between nature and building would be blurred.” Jobs thought run-of-the-mill corporate buildings were “pretty boring.” He wanted the centerpiece to look “like a spaceship landed.”
We certainly got that spaceship.
Construction and updates about the campus stretched out over the years, with current Apple CEO Tim Cook calling the long-gestating Apple Park as the company’s “biggest project ever.”
Jobs originally envisioned a reimagined headquarters for Apple as far back as 2004, discussing it with Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer. But it wasn’t until 2009 when those plans grew legs, as Jobs hired architect Norman Foster, setting the vision in motion.
Beyond the sheer scale and beauty of the building, there was always the underpinning goal of boosting creativity — form follows function, as the classic mantra goes.
Originally, there were plans to design “pods” solely for fostering creative ideas, teamwork, and socializing. Jobs originally envisioned that many pods would be scattered across the site, and the concept was they’d serve as these gestating areas where you can work on something and then later move to another group of people in another pod. Hence, the practice of collaboration is promoted — walls would be broken down, sharing ideas would be encouraged. Most importantly, reaching someone to talk to would be as easy as moving to a different pod, no more hierarchal hurdles when it comes to creativity.
(Photo : Wired) A sketch by Norman Foster of the building’s evolution from propeller shape to circle.
This eventually led to the clover leaf design of the main building. But by June 2010, after many scratched sketches and discussions, the building’s design eventually became a circle. A ring, to be exact. No one takes credit over the decision, but it was clear that the design was inevitable.
“Steve dug it right away,” said architect Foster.
Inside The Ring
The Ring, or the Mothership. The centerpiece of Apple Park — pristine, gorgeous, colossal. It’s probably the longest stretch of glass you’ll ever see on a structure. Impressive as it may sound, however, Ive refrains from talking about it under steeped statistics and numbers.
“It’s frustrating to talk about this building in terms of absurd, large numbers. It makes for an impressive statistic, but you don’t live in an impressive statistic,” said Ive, who added that the scale of the building’s glass isn’t in itself an achievement.
“The achievement is to make a building where so many people can connect and collaborate and walk and talk.”
The rest of Wired’s article goes deep into the particulars of the Apple Park’s design, showing a full view of Apple’s trademark meticulous aggression with keeping everything detailed, perfect, and parallel to its ideals, and its design principles. No surprise there; Apple has always been a champion of great design, from its products to its stores and now, to its headquarters.
The lengthy article is definitely worth a read, since you can get an in-depth history of the Apple Park — construction successes, milestones, and struggles in tow. Give it a go if you want an intricate look at the many aspects of the campus’s construction, including staircases, ventilation, the giant glass sliding doors, the typefaces seen on the elevators, and much more.
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