How a California real estate developer helped create Apple as we know it

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A classic promotional shot emphasizes the stylish open-plan living found in an Eichler home. Photo: Eichler
A vintage promotional shot emphasizes the stylish open-plan living found in an Eichler home. Photo: Eichler

With an innovative architectural style that brought elegant living to the masses, real estate developer Joseph Eichler left an indelible mark on California in the 1960s.

His beautifully simple blueprints also had an undeniable impact on Apple’s co-founders — although Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs took very different lessons from his work. Remarkably, Eichler’s design philosophy continues to shape Apple’s products, inside and out, to this day.

“I was very lucky to grow up in an Eichler,” Wozniak told Cult of Mac, referring to his family’s four-bedroom home in Sunnyvale, California. “It greatly influenced my liking of simplicity and open style. I like it whenever I see those attributes in any architecture.”

Step up to 10 incredible, Apple-worthy staircases

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The Apple Store on  Boylston Street in Boston boasts a remarkable spiral staircase. Photo: Joseph Thornton/Flickr CC
The Apple Store on Boylston Street in Boston boasts a remarkable spiral staircase. Photo: Joseph Thornton/Flickr CC

If you’ve ever walked into a flagship Apple Store unconvinced of the magic of Cupertino’s products, a wondrous curvy, glass staircase might have softened your psyche.

Apple’s retail outlets are almost as well known for award-winning architecture and eye-catching staircases as for the MacBooks, iPads and iPhones on sale. But Apple Stores aren’t the only places to make vertical trips seem like a magical journey.

7 beautiful workplaces that put yours to shame

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Buildings you wouldn't mind commuting to

If the first thing you do upon arriving at work every day is cast a sad look at the plain, monolithic block in which you spend almost a quarter of your week, you might be interested to know that some people work in places that are not only better-looking than your office, but actually downright beautiful.

These seven buildings all come courtesy of Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects. And some of them are even public buildings that you could visit, if only to pretend you got paid to go there every day.

Just don't start answering the phones while you're there. Receptionists kind of hate that.

Halifax Central Library (above)

This building opened this week and is Schmidt Hammer Lassen's latest project. Its four-giant-block construction might look like a set of hastily assembled LEGO boxes, but each section aligns with one of the adjoining building's streets. Additionally, the orange of the third layer matches the brick in surrounding buildings.

The library serves as a "multifunctional cultural hub with direct accessibility to the vibrant surrounding urban context of historic and new buildings, and the buzz of downtown," according to the firm's official website.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Urban Mountain

This project is still in the proposal stage, but it aims to expand an existing structure in Oslo by more than half while being more ecologically friendly.The patches of green on the outside of the building are part of this plan and also serve to make the structure's eco-responsibilty visible. Those spots are actually plants that are part of the air-intake system. The designers call them "lungs," and they are there to "clean, humidify and reduce the CO2-concentration of the incoming air for the comfort of the staff and visitors. "Other innovations include "solar chimneys" that channel heat into a rooftop greenhouse and a massive, 35,000 cubic-foot ice-storage area that contributes to the building's heating and cooling.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Nykredit HQ

The home of Danish financial-services company Nykredit in Copenhagen is a ten-story, transparent cube with a wide-open central atrium.Inside, the building has meeting rooms that hang in space like that prison cell where they kept Magneto in the first two X-Men films.So if you ever work there and find yourself stuck in a boring meeting, just imagine that you're only in that room because you're too badass for normal jail.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

The Crystal

It's actually possible to walk underneath this building in Copenhagen, Denmark, although I don't know if I could do it.It's an extension for Danish financial-services corporation Nykredit, and it is "designed to interact with their surroundings, offering a subtle connection between the formal architecture of the Glyptotek Museum of Ancient and Modern Art, and the waterfront area which forms the setting for the new building."

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Office Tower Warsaw

This 600-foot tall high-rise in Poland looks as much like a sculpture as it does a home for offices and financing, and it's both.It's made of three rectangular volumes and "offers a spatial coherence between roof and street level. The lobby at street level, with its spectacular shaped ceiling, corresponds with the sloping shapes of the rooftops." It even has solar panels built into its roofs and contains apparatus to harvest rainwater, therefore giving it a third duty as an engine of conservation.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

Groendalsvej

Aarhus, Denmark hosts this green-clad curiosity, which aims to be the first zero-energy office building in the country.Its construction includes about 96 percent of the material left over from the building that previously stood on this site, and its abundance of windows works to regulate temperature and maximize natural light.

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

City of Westminster College

It would probably be a bit scary to work on the top floor of this shifted building, but that doesn't mean it doesn't look amazing.City of Westminster College in London features open learning spaces and "appears as a clean-cut, modern building with a distinct Scandinavian heritage. The building’s simple geometric forms rotate around a terraced atrium, creating a unifying yet flexible organization."

Photo: Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects

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Apple wins supreme engineering award for glass lantern store in Turkey

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The glass lantern Apple Store at Zorlu Center in Istanbul. Photo: Apple

 

Apple has won another architectural award for the innovative glass engineering used to create its impossibly perfect glass lantern store in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Apple Store at the Zorlu Center in Turkey took home the Supreme award for structural engineering excellence from this year’s Structural Awards, and was also honored for its excellence in structural design for a retail building.

Why The New Spaceship Campus Is The Biggest Apple Product Ever Built

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Apple's spaceship campus as it will eventually appear.
Apple's spaceship campus as it will eventually appear.

This story first appeared in Cult of Mac Magazine 

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.