In 2004, when the legendary Steve Jobs was walking through Hyde Park in London, he got the inspiration for his company’s new headquarters. Apple’s former CEO decided to house his company in a new environment where the barrier between building and nature would seamlessly disappear. Yet, more than that, and much like his revolutionary iPhone, Jobs wanted to create the kind of campus that other companies would aspire for in decades to come.
Today, the final vision of the firm’s inimitable founder is almost ready. The new campus is officially named ‘Apple Park’. Before this was announced, the building was widely known as the ‘Spaceship Campus’ because of its flying-saucer-like design. It’s located on the former Hewlett Packard campus in Cupertino, California.
In February, Apple had announced that Apple Park will be ready for employees to begin occupying in April. The process has started. However, the task of moving more than 12,000 people will take over six months, say reports. The construction of the buildings and parklands is scheduled to continue through the summer. The large-scale building work is mostly done, though, say reports.
Envisioned by Jobs as a centre for creativity and collaboration, Apple Park is transforming miles of asphalt sprawl into a haven of green space in the heart of the Santa Clara Valley. The campus’ ring-shaped, 2.8-million-sq-ft main building is clad entirely in the world’s largest panels of curved glass.
One of the most important additions to the park is the ‘Steve Jobs Theater’, a 1,000-seat auditorium. It will no doubt be the site of the company’s future product launches—something Apple promised at its ‘Let us loop you in’ launch event in March 2016.
Jobs would have turned 62 years old on February 24. To honour his memory and his enduring influence on Apple and the world, the theatre at Apple Park was decided to be named Steve Jobs Theater, as per the company. Opening later this year, the entrance to the auditorium is a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder, 165 feet in diameter, supporting a metallic carbon-fibre roof. The Steve Jobs Theater is situated atop a hill—one of the highest points within Apple Park—overlooking meadows and the main building.
“Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, was quoted as saying by a press statement released by the company earlier this year. “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”
“Steve was exhilarated and inspired by the California landscape, by its light and its expansiveness. It was his favourite setting for thought. Apple Park captures his spirit uncannily well,” Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Jobs, was quoted as saying. “He would have flourished, as the people of Apple surely will, on this luminously-designed campus.”
Apple Park will also include a visitors’ centre with an Apple Store and café open to the public, a 100,000-sq-ft fitness centre for Apple employees and secure research and development facilities apart from the theater. The parklands offer two miles of walking and running paths for employees, plus an orchard, meadow and pond within the ring’s interior grounds.
Designed in collaboration with Foster+Partners, Apple Park replaces five million square feet of asphalt and concrete with grassy fields and over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees, and is powered by 100% renewable energy. With 17 megawatts of solar rooftop, Apple Park will run one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world. It is also the site of the world’s largest naturally ventilated building, projected to require no heating or air conditioning for nine months of the year.
Like with everything else that the company has come out with, Apple Park is an Apple product through and through. The company took great care to make design decisions, and create custom hardware, at many key points, from the massive glass sheets that required the building of a gigantic furnace to the toilets, handles on doors and the pizza boxes in the caféteria.