Apple’s Spaceship Campus Doesn’t Impress One LA Times Critic

Apple’s Spaceship Campus Doesn’t Impress One LA Times Critic

Design proposals and pictures of Apple’s upcoming ‘spaceship campus’ have had us in awe over that jaw-dropping design and sheer magnificence, but as we learned last week, not everyone wants Apple’s spaceship campus to land. Over the weekend, LA Times’ architecture critic took a stab at ‘Apple Campus 2.’

Christopher Hawthorne revealed in the LA Times on Saturday that while Apple’s upcoming campus has “futuristic gleam,” Steve Jobs’ proposal for the new building “is practically bursting with contradictions.”

You can understand why the city, especially in this economy, would want to maintain the happiest of relationships with Apple, based in Cupertino on a parcel of land — known as the Infinite Loop campus — less than a mile west of the new headquarters. Still, had the members of the council been in an even slightly more inquisitive mood, there are a number of questions they might have asked Jobs about the forthcoming building, which will hold 12,000 Apple employees. The piece of architecture he was describing for them, after all, is practically bursting with contradictions.

Hawthorne adds that Steve’s presentation was “a doggedly old-fashioned proposal,” and likens it to that for the Pentagon building back in 1943:

Though the planned building has a futuristic gleam — Jobs told the council “it’s a little like a spaceship landed” — in many ways it is a doggedly old-fashioned proposal, recalling the 1943 Pentagon building as well as much of the suburban corporate architecture of the 1960s and ’70s. And though Apple has touted the new campus as green, its sprawling form and dependence on the car make a different argument.

Hawthorne then went on to say that the Cupertino council members should have asked Steve more questions about Apple’s proposal:

One question the council members might have asked Jobs is simple: Who’s your architect? Jobs likes to promote the notion that he is personally involved in designing virtually all of Apple’s buildings — including the impressive Apple retail stores that first opened in 2001 and were largely produced by the architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. In his appearance before the City Council he said Apple had “hired some great architects to work with — some of the best in the world, I think.” But he never mentioned the high-wattage name of Norman Foster or the London firm Foster + Partners, whose logo is stamped on the preliminary plans for the campus. (Those plans are available for download on Cupertino’s website, cupertino.org.)

Apple’s second Cupertino campus is set to be even bigger than the Pentagon, taking up a whopping 176 acres of land. It will accommodate an additional 13,000 employees with a 25,000 square-foot fitness center, a 1,000-seat auditorium, and nearly 11,000 parking spaces. However, it still won’t be big enough to house all of Apple’s employees by 2015, with reports that the company will need a third campus by then.

What do you think of Apple’s spaceship campus? Is it a futuristic work of genius, or “doggedly old-fashioned?”

Related
  • FriarNurgle

    Ummm… I think it’s a very nice piece of architecture. Regardless of the building, one should be impressed with the extent Apple is trying to make this a green project. 

  • baby_Twitty

    For fucking sake! Apple bought the land, let them build their campus. Its not like they’re building a nuclear site there!
     Idiots!

  • EmmaMitch561616590

    agree..

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HD TV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail priices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HD TV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for.
    I use BIDFiRsT. COM

  • ken147

    DON”T CARE ABOUT YOUR #$&@ IPAD 2!!!!!!!

  • DysonApps

    His only points are that City Council didn’t ask enough questions and Jobs didn’t divulge who the architect was even though he was never asked to? As he reminded the Council, Apple is Cupertino’s biggest tax payer. The building looks great, and it means boat-loads of cash in the City’s coffers. What’s not to like?

  • Bill Miliski

    If California doesn’t want the tax income they can put that right across the street from me here in CT..

  • prof_peabody

    For an Architectural criticism he doesn’t say much.  ”It’s like the Pentagon” is just repeated a few times.  Also how can a circle be “sprawling” and why is it “dependant on the car” more than any other building?  This all sounds like BS to me. 

  • Andy Murdock

    Christopher Hawthorne may have trouble reading the plans with his head stuck up his own butt.

  • AustinBaze

    Not much of a critique, nor much of a critic. I read the full piece in the LA Times and it is architectural junk food–fills the page but lacks substance. He seems to be wishing that Cupertino and the Silicon Valley would suddenly embrace high density vertical development of mixed use buildings that would encourage a more livable “downtown” and the use of public transportation, citing work on “pastoral campuses” as an example of the alternative.

    So I guess Apple’s beautiful, LEED certified, landscape-preserving, green space-maintaining, transformation of an underutilized parcel is to blame for Cupertino’s failure to be a typical city with a typically dense downtown. Or maybe it’s because Jobs had the nerve to neglect to mention the name of the “prestigious architectural firm” whose name appears all over the plans he submitted and which he was never asked.

    Pee in the wind much?

  • Site7000

    I think it looks doggedly futuristic. Jobs is surely waiting until the unveiling to reveal that it will also have “one more thing” — a clear dome enclosing the entire thing. If would look kind of like a giant terrarium or, wait for it, a walled garden. 

  • XH

    I like the new campus…despite the fact that driving may take time…what about making iRes? That is – buildings where the employees live. Even though it is costly, it can cut down the cost of transportation significantly, and be even more, “green.” Besides, I like the futuristic, space-ship, Atlantean design of the campus…and a third campus? Tell me when they get there.

  • JeffHarris030

    I think it looks doggedly futuristic. Jobs is surely waiting until the unveiling to reveal that it will also have “one more thing” — a clear dome enclosing the entire thing…

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37″ HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for. I use http://bit.ly/grab2032

  • macgizmo

    I fail to see why this even got coverage here. The original article is completely void of substance. I couldn’t find any “contradictions” bursting out of the proposal (which I’ve read completely). Dependent on the car? WTF does that mean. People will drive to work, just as anywhere else.

    This is a pure case of link-bait. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see it publicized here.

  • Custom

    Tired of reading those ads….get lost please….please.

  • Howie Isaacks

    Is this LA Times critic going to make the decision on this?  Probably not.  It’s really irrelevant what this guy thinks.  

  • Howie Isaacks

    Make sure you flag these A-holes!

  • TheMacAdvocate

    I find it amusing that Los Angeles has the stones to harbor an architecture critic. You’ve got plenty of work in your own backyard there, Chris.

  • MrKevinSD

    I still think this design was inspired by futurist/social
    engineer Jacque Fresco. While the times critic may be correct in the fact that
    this and many other similar designs did originate during the 60’s. However, what he
    fails to comprehend and mention is that no one ever had the balls to attempt something
    so radical due to cost. (Rounded Glass being one very expensive component of
    many).

    To say that this complex will still largely rely on cars
    shows just how ignorant the times critic is. This design is circular for the occupants
    of the structure. – I hope they build it just for the fact that they will
    increase the amount of vegetation on the parcel of land that they purchased
    partly because of the design of the building.

  • Len Williams

    This article is ridiculous. Where’s the critique? Where are the contradictions? There are no points brought up at all except for the one that people will have to drive to work–duh! What’s different from driving to any other job? Mr. Bell: If you do an article based on someone else’s article, please read it over and see if your headline matches/is relevant to your text. Your article promises to tell me about the LA architect and his disagreements with the new design, then gives no disagreements.

  • Stuart Otterson

    “One question the council members might have asked Jobs is simple: Who’s your architect? Jobs likes to promote the notion that he is personally involved in designing virtually all of Apple’s buildings — including the impressive Apple retail stores that first opened in 2001 and were largely produced by the architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. In his appearance before the City Council he said Apple had “hired some great architects to work with — some of the best in the world, I think.” But he never mentioned the high-wattage name of Norman Foster or the London firm Foster + Partners, whose logo is stamped on the preliminary plans for the campus. (Those plans are available for download on Cupertino’s website, cupertino.org.)”

    It seems to me Mr Hawthorne is struggling to make a valid critique here and if anything answers his own question. If the Foster + Partners logo is stamped on the plans submitted to the Cupertino council for review, than it would serve to figure they didn’t need to ask the question since it’s in the paper itself. Mr Hawthorne seems to be making himself look foolish.

  • David Lee

    Build it.  It looks cool!

  • Gerry Doire

    Build it and shut the fuck up!

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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