Apple's New Campus

The long-awaited vision of the late Steve Jobs has become a reality – and his legacy.
31 May, 2017
Steve Jobs foresaw a perfect circle that would one day serve as his company's home.
In 2011, shortly before his death, the founder and former CEO of Apple Inc. unveiled his vision for the company's new corporate headquarters. The execution of that vision, a study in precision and exacting detail, has taken years, but the tech company is ready to begin moving the first of some 12,000 employees into the new 175-acre Apple Campus in Cupertino.

The statistics are impressive. The diameter of the circular building is 1,521 feet (464 meters) and walking the circumference is more than 1.6 kilometers around, in a setting that is meant to seamlessly connect the built environment with the natural world around it. Part of Jobs' vision was to recreate the California he loved, with elements drawn from his experience on hiking trails near Stanford University or the woods and orchards of his youth, so the grounds and the inner garden will include 9,000 tree plantings.
The main building exterior – and much of the interior – is built entirely of curved glass manufactured in Germany. There are almost 900 of the curved panels covering the 2.8 million square foot building, some as large as 14 by 3.2 meters and installed with just a whisper of a seam.

Altogether, there are 1,600 panes of canopy glass, the 900 vertical glass panes, 510 panes of upper window "clerestory" glass and 126 glass panes used in skylights made by sedak, a company Apple has relied on to build retail stores in glass across the globe. Precisely angled glass fins shield the surfaces from sun and rain, and boost the overall sustainability of a building that also features 75,000 square meters in solar array on its roof. The building also boasts an innovative "breathable" concrete design for maximum airflow and temperature.
Employees arriving at the new headquarters pass through a soaring, triple-height portal of milled aluminium columns that are akin to the finish of Apple products themselves. Overseeing that design consistency in the building is Apple legend Jonathan Ive, whose commitment to Apple's stylistic elements is visible throughout the USD$5 billion facility. That includes even the milled aluminium door handles, which are integrated into the doors so that there are no unsightly bolts or screws.

This level of pristine aesthetic was trusted to Pritzker Prize winner Norman Foster, whose London-based Foster + Partners at one point had 250 people working on the project. In the first few years, that meant working with Jobs himself, but after his death it became a conversation with Ive, Apple environmental head Lisa Jackson, and other core team members who obsessed for hours over the right shade of white.
A second building, the Steve Jobs Theater, will serve as the venue for all future Apple product launches. It's also created in glass at ground level, a cylinder with no visible columns that leads to a subterranean auditorium with seating for 1,000 people. The most notable feature of the theater is its roof, a metallic carbon fiber alloy that's made of 44 identical radial panels about 21.3 meters long and 3.3 meters wide. Built by Premier Composite Technologies in Dubai, the 80-ton roof panels connect at a central core hub.

"Steve's vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come," says Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. Now, at last, it is.
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