Apple Park originally looked like a penis and 5 other wild facts | Cult of Mac

Apple Park originally looked like a penis and 5 other wild facts


Apple hQ
Steve's original vision was a bit different than this.
Photo: Apple

Apple pulled back the curtain of its new spaceship campus in a new interview that highlights all sorts of crazy facts about what went into the new campus, including how it Steve Jobs originally wanted it to look like a penis.

Obviously, Penis Park got scraped in favor of Apple’s perfect circle. But the perfect campus might not have been a disaster if Steve Jobs’ hadn’t shown some early drawings to his son, according to Wired’s deep look into the campus that also reveals how Apple went out of its way to invent an all-new pizza box that keeps crusts fresh.

High-tech pizza boxes

apple pizza box
The entire container is singularly constructed from a single piece of material.
Photo: USPTO

To create a new pizza box, Apple turned to longtime Apple Café maestro Francesco Longoni. A patent for the pizza container was filed in 2010, even though the cafe still hasn’t opened yet.

Unlike traditional pizza boxes, Apple’s is circular and doesn’t have to be assembled before use. It features eight holes on the top to let steam out while still retaining most of the heat. The special boxes also feature nested ridges at the top so boxes can be stacked on top of each other.

Steve’s penis-shaped design

Before Apple and its architectural partners settled on the circle shaped campus, Steve Jobs wanted its shape to be more like a bloated clover-leaf. Over time Jobs realized it was a bad idea.

After his father showed him a drawing of the clover-shaped design, Jobs’ son Reed commented that the building would look like male genitalia from the air. Jobs relied the observation to the architects the next day, warning them, “You’re never going to be able to erase that vision from your mind.”

The cafe doors are yuuuuuuuge!

Apple Park Close up
Hundreds of trees are being planted at Apple HQ.
Photo: Apple

Apple wanted its cafe to be open to the weather on nice days. To accomplish the feat, it commissioned its favorite glass-maker to create two giant glass sliding doors that are bigger than what you’d find on an airplane hanger.

Each door is about 85 feet by 54 feet. Combined with the steel that frames the doors and the structural components, each leaf weights 440,000 pounds. Because Apple wanted minimal noise in its restaurant, all of the machinery that opens and closes the giant doors was put underground.

Jobs knew his wood

Stefan Behling, a Foster partner who became one of the project leads, recalls talking Steve Jobs about what he wanted individual work pods to look like. Jobs vision was so precise he knew everything down to the specific type of wood that should be used.

“He knew exactly what timber he wanted, but not just ‘I like oak’ or ‘I like maple.’ He knew it had to be quarter-­cut. It had to be cut in the winter, ideally in January, to have the least amount of sap and sugar content. We were all sitting there, architects with gray hair, going, ‘Holy shit!’”

Apple Park is earthquake-proof

apple campus 2

The new campus is located in one of the most seismically active areas of the U.S., so making sure it can withstand earthquakes over the next 100 years of planned used is critically important. To make the building more flexible, Apple mounted the Ring on huge steel base isolators that ensure the building can move up to 4.5 feet in any direction without losing its vital services.

Even the stone is special

Steve Jobs wanted the stone on the exterior of the Fitness & Wellness Center to look like the slabs at his favorite hotel in Yosemite. To pull of the look, Apple sourced its stone from a special quarry in Kansas and then distressed it like you a pair of jeans to give it a more rustic look.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.