While construction of its new campus is underway, Apple is having trouble accommodating its workforce in the Cupertino, California area.
Apple is now leasing a 290,000-square-foot office complex in Sunnyvale, an area north of Cupertino and just east of Mountain View. Up to 1,450 employees could be moved into the space, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Since it will be years before its massive “Campus 2’ is ready to be occupied, Apple continues to struggle not having enough space for its corporate workforce.
We never thought they’d do it, but Apple is splitting their stock 7-to-1—and on our newest CultCast, we discuss that and other surprising (and non-boring) notes from their recent financial call. Plus, the best way to get the Apple stuff you want at lower prices; OS X betas now available to all; Apple Maps spots Nessie; Apple celebrates Earth Day with some great new marketing; why we’re crazy about Apple Campus 2; and forget Ashton, how about Leonardo DiCaprio as the next Steve Jobs?
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A video detailing the creation of Apple Campus 2 was released this morning featuring glimpses of the Spaceship’s architectural achievements in natural ventilation, renewable energy, trees regrowth, and other revolutionary tech that’s will make it one of the best office buildings in the world.
The video also features interviews of the people behind the campus, like architect Norman Foster, who tells the story of how Steve Jobs recruited him for the job of building Apple Campus 2 and how the project didn’t start as a circular building but grew into that as the intensive project progressed.
Check out the video below, before Apple takes it down:
Architecture hasn’t really ever been considered too important in the brick and mortar-averse tech industry. It wasn’t all that long ago that digital utopians proclaimed physical geography dead altogether, with a vocal minority apparently pleased to leave the actual world behind them and embrace the cyberspace of William Gibson’s Neuromancer.
It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the technological breakthroughs of Silicon Valley have advanced almost inversely to the region’s architecture. In a brave new world of lush rolling hills and the always impressive San Francisco Bay, the most that the majority of companies have managed to come up with are drab industrial parks filled with two-story, cubicle-lined buildings.
Apple and the city of Cupertino have reached an agreement that will see the tech giant paying more taxes to the city as part of the deal for its new Apple Campus 2 project.
The new deal is up to receive final approval Tuesday night. If approved, Apple’s tax increase will actually come from a reduction in the percentage of the tax rebate the city gives Apple each year, according to a report from the LA Times.
Under its current deal with the Apple, the city of Cupertino gives back about 50% of the sales taxes it receives from Apple-related purchases. From now on that number will only be about 35% of sales taxes.
Here’s what Cupertino Mayor Orrin Mahoney had to say about the new tax agreement:
Apple’s glass and steel mothership isn’t scheduled to land in Cupertino until 2016, but we’ve already seen plenty of renders of what Apple Campus 2 will look like from the outside. We covered all the fine details of Apple Campus 2 in the last issue of Cult of Mac Magazine, but some new renders have been released giving us our first glimpses inside the mothership.
After digging through the latest Apple Campus 2 filings, Kyle Vanhemert at Wired found some unseen renderings that show what it will be like to work at Apple Campus 2, including new details on the underground theater, Transit Center, parking garage, visitors center, pavilion and much more.
Did you know that the new Apple Campus 2 “spaceship” is wider across than the Empire State Building is tall? It’s going to cost 60 times more than the Pentagon did back in 1943, too. Heck, you’ll be able to cram up to 35 jetliners full of passengers in its rounded confines without breaking a sweat.
We thought it would be great, then, to take a look at some of the details of the new campus, set to finish construction in 2016.
It’s big. Like, Pentagon big.
The proposed Apple Campus 2 is huge. Apple plans to put a 100,000-square-foot fitness center, 11,000 parking spaces, 2,000 bike parking spaces, 2.8 million square feet of office space, and a 100,000-square-foot lab. Oh, and a restaurant. All of this in four stories, housing 12,000 employees.
The Pentagon, in contrast, which itself was completed in 1943, has 3.7 million square feet of office space, is seven floors tall, and houses 25,000 people.
A lot of krill, and a lot of oil, really.
The Apple Campus 2 will have a 1,522 foot diameter, which means the Empire State Building could comfortably lie down somewhere inside its massive circular footprint. Heck, a T1-class Supertanker could fit in there, as well, with its 1,246 foot length, and you’d have to get somewhere around seven or eight blue whales–the largest known mammal on Earth–just to get across half of the diameter of the new Apple Campus. That’s a lot of krill.
I’d pick sunny California, too.
The spaceship campus has plans to hold 12,000 employees within it’s solar-panel-using, green technology hallowed halls, which would fill something like 160 double-decker buses, or 35 Boeing 747 jets. The Apple folks will have it easier, as they’ll at least be able to get nice food there, and a much less foggy view in Cupertino than in London.
Beam me up, Ivey.
Of course, no look at anything tech-related is complete without a comparison to a fictional starship, and since we’ve been calling this the spaceship campus since Steve Jobs unveiled the design two years ago, it seemed fitting to see how it stacks up against the USS Enterprise. Unfortunately for trekkies, the new Apple Campus 2 has a diameter quite a bit larger than the original Gene Roddenberry creation.
Nice salaries, folks.
The city of Cupertino itself, home not only to Apple founders Woz and Jobs but also author Raymond Carver and actor Aaron Eckhart, only has around five times the population as will work in the Apple Campus 2. Interestingly, the median income of Cupertino-based Apple employees is a bit lower than that of Cupertino in general, but perhaps that’s just a function of how much larger the city is than the building. Which, to be honest, doesn’t seem to be that much of a news item. It is, however, funny that a .27 square mile building can cause the kind of traffic jams that the city of 11.26 square miles seems to be mostly worried about.
Apple is still moving forward to build its $5 billion, 176-acre campus Cupertino “spaceship” Campus 2 headquarters, expected to open in three years.
Critics have been attacking it since Steve Jobs first proposed it to the Cupertino City Council.
And since that poignant moment, which was Jobs’s last public appearance, the campus project has evolved and changed and, as I write this, the old HP buildings on the property are being demolished.
Here’s what we know about the spaceship campus so far, and also what the critics have been saying.
The property will be capable of holding 14,200 employees. Some 12,000 of those will be in the circular mothership building, and the rest in 600,000 square feet of office, research and development buildings along one of the adjacent streets. Due to ballooning costs, the extraneous buildings have been delayed for phase 2 of the project, to come later. So the initial project will include only the giant bagel and supporting infrastructure at a cost currently estimated at $5 billion.
The spaceship building will be four stories high, but continue underground. The radius of the underground portion will be much wider than the visible above-ground part. In fact, so much of the campus, parking, underground tunnels and facilities will be underground that trucks will be removing soil 24/7 for six months in order to make space for these structures.
The main building will be a marvel of innovation in heat and energy. The roof will hold 700,000 square feet of roof-mounted solar panels. That energy source, plus a natural gas facility, will provide most of the campus’s electricity. Combined with solar and wind contracts, the building will achieve a net zero energy state, meaning that it will consume the same amount that it produces.
Because the building’s exterior walls will be all glass, a crazy computerized temperature control system will open and close giant shutters and windows. “Solatubes” will pipe sunlight throughout the structure to reduce the need for electric lights.
The campus will have a four-story garage that’s massively larger than the largest parking structure in the city of San Francisco — the one at Moscone Center where Apple will stop holding announcements in favor of an underground 1,000-seat amphitheater at the new campus. The total campus will support 10,980 parking spaces.
The giant spaceship building was originally white. It has since been upgraded to black (no “gold” or “champagne” option has yet been proposed).
As Jobs emphasized at his City Council product announcement, the building will feature a historically unprecedented use of glass. The building will have nearly 4 miles of curved glass, manufactured and bent in Germany, then shipped to California in 40-feet by 26-feet sheets. These panes are being manufactured with a very sophisticated process that cold-bends them and laminates them to prevent clouding.
In the City Council rollout, Jobs said: “It’s a circle, and so it’s curved all the way around. As you know if you build things, this is not the cheapest way to build something. There’s not a straight piece of glass on this building, it’s all curved. And we’ve used our experience in making retail buildings all over the world now, and we know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use.”
What the Critics Are Saying
The New Yorker suggested Apple’s plans are a sign of “imperial hubris,” a “twenty-first-century version of the Pentagon.”
These neatly summarize the criticism. Basically, what they’re saying is that it’s too awesome, too far-reaching, too ambitious and too expensive. It would be better to build another set of cookie-cutter boring buildings that blight the Silicon Valley landscape.
To these critics I say: You’re wrong.
Why the Critics Need To Calm Down
The critics on this project are dead wrong, and for four reasons.
1. Utopia fuels genius. By creating a breathtaking architectural wonder, Apple will inspire its employees. You know, the people who are the sole source of everything that Apple imagines and builds. One good example of this phenomenon is Google, which smartly creates corporate campuses that are equal parts playground, Disneyland and City of Tomorrow.
2. Utopia builds the brand. Apple is an aspirational brand. Apple’s amazing spaceship HQ will become part of the iconic nature of the Apple brand, driving sales just by its very existence. When Apple announces new products, the invited press will gape at the wonder of it all, and this will ignite their worshipful gushing over whatever Apple announces. And good press is good business.
3. The new campus honors Steve Jobs. The spaceship campus was Jobs’s last vision for the company, one meant to last. While his direction and input into the iPad will quickly fade away, to be replaced by democratic decision-making and possibly a slouch toward mediocrity, the campus will serve as a reminder of the uncompromising visionary who made Apple what it is today. Who would deny this to Jobs, really — especially investors, whose wallets are burdened by the man’s vision. Besides, if you don’t want to be involved in a visionary company, sell your Apple stock and buy Exxon Mobile.
4. A visionary campus attracts top talent. It’s really hard to recruit and retain top engineering and design talent in Silicon Valley. Apple’s HQ will provide one additional incentive for the best people to stay with Apple.
Apple’s Campus 2 budget has ballooned from $3 billion to $5 billion and, guess what? It will probably grow to as high as $10 billion.
This is a company with $150 billion in cash, all of it generated by the executives and employees, many of whom will work at this campus. The new campus is good for Apple’s business, good for the environment and good for Silicon Valley.
It’s time for the critics of Apple’s spaceship Campus 2 to pipe down and marvel at Steve Jobs’s last breathtaking visionary gift.