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

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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?”

[via RazorianFly]