Apple’s new headquarters, the brainchild of Steve Jobs himself, is now scheduled to open in 2016. The computing giant, which tops Fortune’s list of most admired companies again, said that the building should be ready in mid- 2016, according to an updated proposal it submitted to Cupertino, California, on November 14.
The building is expected to fulfil Jobs’ hopes, that it will “look like a spaceship landed.” The new proposal includes no major changes from the ambitious design that Mr. Jobs submitted to the city council in June 2011, four months before his death. While some alterations have been made to the landscaping plans, most of them are not “super-significant,” in the words of David Brandt, Cupertino’s city manager. He went on to add that the city had not requested any of the changes, adding, “I think they are just constantly trying to improve the project.”
Particularly, there will be no substantial changes to the main building. Although it won’t be particularly tall, at four stories, its large circular design will give it a floor area of 2.8m square feet, making it one of the largest buildings in the world. In keeping with the traditions of Silicon Valley’s major employers the building will be more campus than corporate HQ in many ways; there will be a company fitness centre, and cafe© and a 1, 000-seat auditorium, as well as offices and 300, 000 square feet of research and development facilities. The new building will have a circumference of nearly a mile, so the staff will need to be fit!
The building may have been dreamed up and approved by Steve Jobs but the group tasked with making it, and making it work, is headed by architect Sir Norman Foster. The famous design company will share the task of making Mr. Jobs’ “spaceship” a reality with ARUP North America and Kier and Wright engineers.
In a nod to Steve Jobs’ famous environmental concerns, the transport net around the site will mostly be underground, allowing the space above to remain green. The space in the centre of the building is set to be a circular park for the 13, 000 employees the building will house. The building and two smaller satellite builds will be lit and heated by an onsite power plant. Some of the power will come from the solar panels “more than 20, 000 of them” that will slate the roofs of the building. The main building, according to drawings shown to the city of Cupertino, will be dominated by glass and surrounded by native grasses and 7, 000 trees.
Mr. Jobs explained the reasoning behind the construction of the “spaceship” in a June 7, 2011 meeting of the Cupertino City Council. Mr. Jobs said that “Apple’s growing like a weed! and we’re renting buildings, not very good ones, at an ever-increasing radius.” He went on to add some information that might interest computer historians, or people with an eye for telling details of the market: the land Apple will use belonged to Hewlett Packard until two years ago, when Mr. Jobs bought it from the company, whose founders were his childhood heroes. Mr. Jobs said the proposed campus was “a pretty amazing building.”
Of course, it’s not just there to be amazing: those 300, 000 square feet of R&D space will be put to work developing next-generation technology, protected from industrial espionage by full perimeter security, and no doubt by some smart surveillance equipment hidden amongst the trees.