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A Look Inside Apple’s New Campus (wired.com)
301 points by rbanffy on May 16, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 429 comments

“It’s an obsolete model that doesn’t address the work conditions of the future,” says Louise Mozingo, an urban design professor at UC Berkeley."

Everyone should note that Louise Mozingo has criticized the Apple campus from not having large open floor plans where employees can stare at each other across narrow tables and "collaborate" by yelling to one another over their co-workers heads.

She simply doesn't get how software developers work. When I made the case for individual one person offices to the CFO at a 100 person software company, we calculated the extra cost of one person offices over cubicles or a shared layout would increase our cost per engineer about 1/2 of 1%. In relation to the productivity benefits, that's immensely trivial.

We did it, and it worked great. And when engineers wanted to "collaborate", they'd go to each others offices without bothering anyone else! Amazing.

As I sit here, wearing 3M landscaping crew earmuffs over Bluetooth AirPod earphones, trying to concentrate in my "modern collaborative" workplace full of Tupperware percussionists, permanently hacking coughers, and endless mindless sports conversations, I kind of want to meet this "urban design professor" who thinks this was all a good idea and find out what kind of office she sits in.

It could be worse. Imagine sitting in an office full of artists and game designers, and a special TV to put music videos on, the whole day.

> She simply doesn't get how software developers work.

It's not just software developers.

A significant percentage of the population are or lean towards being introverted i.e. social interactions do not make them necessarily happier or more productive.

And experts have been saying that being creative requires some periods of interaction and some periods of solitude. Seems like office spaces should reflect that.

I work in a flexible seating or "activity-based" work space. I get to sit near HR from time to time. When reviewing user feedback about the work space I've heard them say, I quote, "That guy is an introvert, of course he'd say that..." while shaking their heads. When reviewing training and information session feedback "Introverts are less emotionally intelligent than we are, they're bound to react that way." Finally when reporting on work space feedback results they say the response is "overwhelmingly positive" but never quote figures or provide a breakdown of responses.

Extroverts control the office space and culture, as they tend to gravitate to the kinds of fields/departments that coordinate those aspects. Working from home is our only hope, as they seem to have an almost militant distaste for personalities that don't blend with their vision of how things should be.

I wish this were better accepted. You can list out the benefits of pair programming until the sun burns out, but, all things equal, I'm going to choose the job that comes without the soul-crushing anxiety of sharing a keyboard with another human being every day.

> introverted i.e. social interactions do not make them necessarily happier or more productive

Soon there will be more definitions of introversion than there are actual introverts.

Oh man, this would be a great idea at my work. I don't even show up anymore, except for meetings, so that I don't get distracted every other hour by people talking about inane topics.

> Everyone should note that Louise Mozingo has criticized the Apple campus...

The quote from the article appears to be related to Apple Park's lack of a childcare facility. (I assume they can easily remedy this.)

I can't find any of her criticism elsewhere. Mind sharing some links?

(edit: Found something from 2011. No mention of the interior space though. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/sep/10/entertainment/la-ca-...)

'For all the time and money sunk into the project, some in the architecture community question whether Apple has focused on the right ends. The campus is something of an exception to the trend of radically open offices aimed at fostering collaboration, said Louise Mozingo, a professor and chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at U.C. Berkeley. Its central office building – a massive ring of glass frequently likened to a spaceship – could be a challenge just to navigate, she noted.

"It's not about maximizing the productivity of the office space, it's about creating a symbolic center for this global company," she said"'


“Mainstream architectural trends are open office space to foster co-operation,” said Louise Mozingo, professor of landscape architecture and urban design in University of California, Berkeley, in an interview with Reuters. “At this point, Apple's new headquarters appears to be an alien.”


I suspect her quote from the new article has nothing to do with child-care, and was bastardized from her previous comments.

Thanks for these.

The second article quotes a Reuters article I can't find with Google. Honestly in the Reuters article you provided I can't tell if she's advocating for open offices or merely pointing out that Apple is going against the trend.

She does have strong criticism against the notion that Apple has built itself a kind of island away from the community around it, however. Which is fair, I think.

Thanks again for the links.

The lack of strongly advocating is a good point actually - any expert in a field should never strongly advocate for one thing or another when it comes to subjects like these (which depend on things like objectives and the people involved).

I would love to see Louise Mozingo's workspace. A brief google didn't turn up anything useful.

Are you suggesting that the parent took a quote out of context, in order to criticize a critic of the apple campus?

Obviously I didn't. Quotes provided.

This is great!

Too many companies are in the 1920's, where they want an open plan so bosses can stare at people while they work.

Preferably from a raised platform of sorts.

Standing desk and an apple box.

Work for an architecture firm. The lead partner specifically bought a new office just for this. All 100+ of us on the same floor vs our 7-8 person rooms we're currently in.

Also, new office building was expensive so raises were only given to adjust for inflation across the board.

Can I ask which company it was? I'm making a mental list of companies to try to interview with once I graduate, and having offices sounds amazing.

This was long ago I'm afraid, not sure if still in business.

Ah, That's ok. Thank you anyways!

The claim may well be manufactured from whole cloth

Which part?

What do find so fantastic about my story, that a CFO would think about team productivity in addition to costs? I will agree that CFO was a very rare and special bird.

increase of 0.5% for one person offices compared to cubicles sound highly unlikely, i don't think you can replace 2*2m cubicle with same size closed office for 0.5% increase in cost

Yea, it was a while ago, but I think we estimated the cost around $500 a year, and our average cost per developer at $100k per year.

IIRC we were paying around $20 per square foot, and the office sizes were small, like 8 by 8. So an extra 25 SF cost about $500 per year. You can make an office almost as small as a cubicle, the difference is you need space for a door to swing in, office walls are thicker than cubicle walls, and you need HVAC and power.

So there is extra expense in the build-out, but that's trivial over time if you are going to stay there a long while.

Edit: And even if you want 10 by 10 offices or my math is off, 1% a year is essentially trivial as well.

Its the same old Peopleware/Mythical Man month issues. Lets say you have 10 developers who each have an average throughput of X working as a team, but you need to double output. You double the size of the team, but get only 17X output because of the overhead of working together, so you add more developers until you end up with 25 devs providing 20X output.

What if instead you give everyone the latest fastest computers, individual offices, etc, and you make your devs 10% more productive? Now you only have increase the team size to 21 devs to get an output of 20x. Essentially you've saved 20% of your engineering payroll, over a half million dollars annually in todays dev costs, to achieve the same objective.

The costs of providing a good productive workspace is trivial in comparison to it's benefits, no matter how you measure it.

oh, i am all for efficiency and destroying cubicles, but my point was you can't just make walls of cubicle higher, put there door and call it office, office most have normal size, window, i think 3.5x3.5m is the minimum i could call room/office and that's like 3 times bigger than 2x2m cubicle (generous, world not be surprised even by smaller one), which makes it at 215$/m2 per year 1700$ additional cost per worker, not including building cost, but yeah you are right i guess, it's relatively negligible because you were in some extremely cheap place while paying devs quite reasonable salaries, so there is discrepancy

i just checked some prices and even in very cheap European capitals you would be looking into like 120$/m2, in bigger few times more


though after reading this it seem relatively cheap, seem actually cheaper than apartment, i am surprised people don't form together fake company to rent office spaces instead of apartments, they can get better deal with location and price, just kitchen and bathroom won't be so accessible

My numbers are from 25 years ago, so cost per SF for similar is probably $30+ a foot now, and engineer costs are much higher, but the percentages stay the same.

A 3.5 meter by 3.5 meter room is what many call a "two man" office. We had essentially 2.8m by 2.8m single persons, again you only need a minor more space than a cubicle. Doorway (which a cubicle needs too but not a swinging doorway) and mildly thicker walls. The ventilation goes through the ceiling, power in the walls.

You can't always have an exterior window in every office, but you can have interior glass. It's important to have enough natural light in the hallway so that the interior glass carries the natural light into the offices. You don't want long dark hallways that can only be lit by artificial light. Break up the hallway with an exterior window or an office with windows and interior glass.

Frankly even cubicles would be more welcome than the open office tech companies seem to love. I'd kill for any noise and visual distraction reduction.

Cost of employee not the cost of building.

I'm a software developer. I'd hate that.

I do some small amount of woodworking on the side of my main job, and as a result I have a large envelope CNC router in my garage. I occasionally post ads for craigslist looking for odd jobs.

About a year ago, I was approached via craigslist by a contractor working on this campus to help make some plywood parts for concrete forms that they couldn't figure out how to mark and measure on site with a jigsaw. They were to be used to make the main curved staircases in the entryway to that campus. I ended up cutting about a hundred different stair forms, and a bunch of templates for the various treads.

I love that I ended up contributing in some small way to this building.

That is really cool! Do you have any pics or design mockups of what you sent to apple? If you can share

It was a 3rd party contractor working on the campus, and since it was subcontracted to me, I'd rather not share who I worked for. I'm not sure they'd want it advertised that they were sourcing from CL. :)

http://imgur.com/a/222IM there some some basic photos I have from my phone, though. All of these were made out of fire retardant plywood.

What did you charge for the work? How long did it take for you to do this? Was the price higher or lower because it was for Apple?

I charge around $70/hour for that kind of work, which tends to be a mix of CAD, CAM, Setup, Lifting/moving crap, packaging, and cleanup. Usually 1 hour minimum. I charge more for work in MDF because of the mess and because the dust is harder to clean up/get rid of and it is heavier. More again for aluminum. If I need to make whole assemblies with glue, finishing, etc, I tend to just go fixed bid. It's not super scientific, and I have to turn down certain types of work due to garage constraints, etc. Most of the work I end up getting that follows through are from contractors wanting one-off cuts, jigs, or templates. I get 2x inquiries from people, but they usually don't want to follow through with actually paying money for things.

I didn't answer your full question - I didn't charge more based on the client. Just standard, and it took me ~8 hours of work. Turned out to be a great learning experience. (making those puzzle joints caused a revelation: .25" diameter bits are frequently, and irregularly, not .25". Most of mine end up being around .242" Once you compensate for that in CAD, things fit together nicely. )

Try switching from woodworking bits to metal working bits. An end mill will be 0.2500 with probably a minus tolerance of a tenth or two.

The wood bits might be undersized to accommodate tearing of the grain and sanding.

Thanks! The issue with metal working bits is # of flutes/flute geometry - the chips need to be too small to get a good finish, or the feed rate needs to be too high.

The "woodworking" bits I use are already pure carbide, high quality bits. my method these days has been to bore a small test hole into a piece of delrin with each new bit, and test that hole with a set of .001" increment pin gauges. Using that number has proven to be good enough for my purposes. Note that this problem is only present where the cutting diameter is nominally the same as the shank diameter. If I buy .5" shank bits with a .25" cutting diameter, they are perfect, but 2x the cost.

FWIW: I've ordered 0.25 and 0.5 inch wood bits from onsrud, harvey, vortex, etc,and the bits are right to my ability to measure them.

(IE i can measure them to be within 0.0005 of correct size easily, and better than that better tools on the uncoated bits i have).

I'm not sure who you are ordering from.

(as for feed rate too high to use other geometries not sure what IPM you can drive that thing at. I would expect you could easily do 300-400ipm, which seems more than enough. I can get a very smooth finish from metalworking bits with no problem)

Your rate sounds a bit low for such short and somewhat specialized gig in the bay area.

It's about right for what you'd pay to get something machined :)

Yeah, just about. It also has some "Craigslist discount". Sadly, there is much too large a gap between hobby and professional revenue to ever do this full time in the bay. Commercial rent and restrictions make it such that even as a sole proprietorship, you'd have trouble breaking even on 50k/year in recurring revenue, which is tough as a one man wood/metal shop with limited tools. Custom/spec work is better, but very irregular.


All of my cabinet shop friends basically have enough volume to keep 2+ spray finishers busy all-day every day, and are busy trying to get their per-sheet times from 5 minutes to less ;)

That's the low volume guys. The high volume guys are just completely automated from material handling to flat line finishing.

Outside of startup costs, complete automation of this stuff isn't usually that expensive (<200k of machines).

Single proprietors will never compete with the level of automation you can easily get in the bay area.

Oh now that's a lovely-looking machine! I love the way your width/x axis stepper is handled.

Did you build her yourself?

Shout out entirely to Cory at CNC router parts. They designed it, I assembled it. Their electronics are REALLY nicely done, too.

heh, thanks - I've been on their site in the past and not quite appreciated what it is they can offer.

Hardly any pictures "inside Apple's new campus"

Yeah, just a bunch of pictures of Jonathan Ive with 2-day stubble and dramatic lighting.

> "That was Steve’s original intention, to sort of blur that line between the inside and outside."

The elevator buttons were pretty cool.

What's cool are the wood and leather stools and medicine balls at the new SF Apple Store:


I would love to buy some of these but I cannot find where Apple sources them ...

Disappointed no pictures of the pods

There's a slideshow that includes pictures of the pods. They just chose to start with a nondescript picture of Tim Cook instead of pod guts.

I think this is one of the pods. It looks... tight. https://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/apple-galle...

It looks perfectly sized to me. Where it's lacking is personal storage space, but if the back wall slides open to provide storage, that's excellent. And the desk area doesn't seem deep enough.

The problem with the big glass wall is that peoples offices tend to be messy. They want lots of desk space to toss crap on. But you want lots of glass so it feels more open (while still giving people quiet work areas). If you can give them good enclosed storage options, then their offices should remain looking relatively neat.

I can't tell what I'm looking at with all the mirrored surfaces. Looks like the inside of a vegas hotel room.

There is indeed a picture of a "pod". It is a claustrophobic closet with glass doors. I have been in elevators I'd rather work in.

It's got a huge glass wall, how is that claustrophobic? It's far superior to an open floor plan.

I've built out office space for my 40 person engineering group before with individual one person offices. They had doors to shut and most had windows (but not all, all offices have interior space, and space being expensive need to be used), but all had some amount of glass to their hallways. And they all loved them. Apple's Pods are even better than what I was able to get.

You don't seem to understand how hard it is to get any company, even a tech company, to understand the value of one person offices for software development. Most of these decisions are made by operations, essentially the CFO. I was lucky enough to have a CFO who understood lowest cost options weren't always best, that productivity mattered far more.

But even when I convinced him, the building owner pushed back. They give you a certain budget for build-out, but they don't want you building out in a manner that can't be easily sublet if you leave. The building owner felt that larger offices and open space was far more flexible, new tenants would only have to buy cubes!

Apple's Pods seem to be at the forefront of maximizing individual productivity and work satisfaction. I'll bet you can't name any other large company that's made such a large commitment to personal work space.

Note that Louise Mozingo, the urban design professor at UC Berkeley has criticized Apple for the pods, because she thinks that the modern workspace should be an enormous shared space where people can "collaborate" by shouting at each other over their co-workers heads. That's the kind of design advice workspace planners are giving out today.

> I'll bet you can't name any other large company that's made such a large commitment to personal work space.

Pixar (whose HQ was designed by none other than Steve Jobs)


If you want work pods, these ones look a lot more friendly: http://www.matttaylor.com/public/work_pod_gallery.htm

Part of the reason I want a pod, is noise separation. I suppose you could modify these to close them off...

I'd wish they were a bit more futuristic than having 9000 parking spaces. Why not offer buses from where their employees live or other means of transportation? It's easy to say that most people drive, but that's only because everyone always make that the most convenient mode of transportation. With some effort something else could be even more convenient.

Apple is building 11,000 parking spaces not because it wants to but because Cupertino, the suburban city where the new headquarters is located, demands it. Cupertino has a requirement for every building.



From the linked article re Cupertino:

> For a fast-food restaurant, the city demands one space for every three seats; for a bowling alley, seven spaces per lane plus one for every worker.

I've read a bunch of articles about the negative externalities of minimum parking requirements, but haven't really seen one explore the why behind these rules. What does it matter to the city if a bowling alley doesn't have enough parking spaces? Wouldn't that just be bad for the bowling alley's business? If it's about ensuring the supply of street parking why not just install meters to make the city money when the bowling alley fails to build sufficient parking?

I'm usually the first to mock this kind of trite 'invisible hand' supply-and-demand explanation, but this really seems like something that would be very well left to the business to figure out.

So the customers of the popular bowling alley don't park in the parking lot of the neighboring businesses. It's forcing every business to play nice with their neighbors, rather than free-ride off of them.

Most mall parking lots are sized for the demand of the busiest day of the Christmas shopping season, and are consequently underused for most of the year.

Well then the next door business can either charge for parking and offer free parking validation after you buy something, or just have a tow truck waiting to tow people who park and don't enter the premises.

I'm not saying it's the right solution (I'm in favor of dynamic pricing of parking - google "Donald Shoup" for more info). But I got a degree in Urban Planning and that's what I learned was the rationale for municipal minimum parking requirements.

Keep in mind, the US had 200 million fewer people in 1945. More of America has been built since WWII than existed during it.

So, shift the burden to the business that actually paid to create enough parking for their customers?

Either that or keep building lots of parking, ensuring private cars are the only option. Choose your poison.

Not everyone wants to be in the parking-lot business.

I lived in a city that had a revival of its industrial area. There was no parking garage for the new bars and restaurants, so all visitors simply parked in the residents' neighborhoods. Quality of life drastically declined for those residents, and I ended up having to leave due to family members being unable to find parking in under 30 minutes in the evening.

Public transit in the city was underfunded so it was only realistic for certain commutes within the city.

I have no idea why suburban Cupertino would be worried about this risk; it sounds like an underhanded way to limit occupancy and capacity (you build a 1000-person office instead of 2000, because you had to have extra space for parking).

There was no parking garage for the new bars and restaurants, so all visitors simply parked in the residents' neighborhoods

This is a solved problem: Charge for parking and the shortage goes away. Meter technology is decades old and well understood. https://www.amazon.com/High-Cost-Free-Parking-Updated/dp/193...

When you become dictator, maybe that will be viable.

In the meantime, what sane city council member is going to tell residents they need to pay for parking in front of their own townhouses?

Give residents special permits which allow the to park for free. That's how it works here (Helsinki, Finland). Permit is not free, but cheap. It is for specific vehicle and the registered owner needs to live there. There permits are not per street, but the city is divided to several areas.

Resident parking, €20pm in Lyon, France, knowing that the public transport is excellent. I wish they would ban cars entirely in the 500,000ppl area, but you need a car from time to time, when you're pregnant, old, have a sprained ankle or back, need to carry an iMac around or to just get out for a hike in the countryside. Still, one-day pollution permits would be better than taxing only parking.

Everyone would jump on board if the city would just allocate the parking revenues to the home or building owners.

Where has this successfully been implemented?

There's a similar mechanism to what you proposed, resident-only parking permits. This pits the business owners against the residents. It also means that a resident can't have their friends come to visit without risking a ticket.

The knee-jerk HN-ism of quick fixes doesn't work here.

The only actual solution is the long-term dual-pronged approach: parking structures in the interim, while improving public transit coverage overall.

Japan, for one: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/08/the....

Washington State also makes some zoning decisions and targets some growth targets at the state level (see http://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?a..., although I can't find a better piece off the top of my head), which helps matters.

The only actual solution is the long-term dual-pronged approach: parking structures in the interim, while improving public transit coverage overall.

The actual solution is people paying for what they use, i.e. markets: If people want parking structures, they'll pay for them. I'd really suggest that you look at the link in the comment I posted above.

Please don't link-bomb me in order to "win". Explain, with citations.

Your Japan link is not applicable to this conversation (though I love that article, it comes up whenever NIMBY stuff is discussed on HN). I consider that arguing in bad faith.

Zoning isn't going to magically help residents get parking, nor is it going to provide a place for paying customers to put their cars while eating and drinking.

> They'll pay for them

Who? The customers would all love to pay for parking, but there wasn't a structure. You're arguing against some point you think I'm making but I'm not.

Many many cities in Europe.

People who live there can park for free, anyone else has to pay a meter.

This solves the issues.

1000 people need parking. There are 500 spaces. Paid parking doesn't solve the problem in this instance. The overall effect of paid parking isn't at issue.

Yes it does. Make it so expensive that overall only 500 people (including those who live there) can afford to park there.

Problem solved.

And that’s how my city got $1/min parking spots.

Which also cuts in half the number of customers for the businesses.

In urban planning, one has to be careful to solve the correct problem. The problem is not too many cars parked on a residential street. The problem is getting customers to businesses with minimal bad side effects.

Any "parking solution" that kills the businesses to fix the parking is not actually a solution.

> In urban planning, one has to be careful to solve the correct problem. The problem is not too many cars parked on a residential street. The problem is getting customers to businesses with minimal bad side effects.

The problem is getting people to different places, without them using too much space within the city. This means as little car usage as possible.

The example I mentioned – combined with cheap public transit – is very effective.

Cheap public transit is an actual solution.

Parking meters are just one way to get people to use it, and not a very good one: by the time people find out there are meters (when trying to park), it's too late to take the transit!

The money it cost to install meters would have been better spent on a marketing campaign to raise awareness of the transit option, or subsidizing the transit prices.

It's the problem here in LA. Designed for cars, lots of permit parking in some areas (usually more well-off ones with pull) and metered places. We're trying to catch up public transit with demand but unfortunately it still makes sense to have a car to get everywhere you need to go. Buses are stuck in the same traffic (no designated lanes) as you are, cycling can be done but is extremely dangerous, and the metro's current hub-and-spoke is useful if you're going downtown but the amount of stations is less than ideal (some stops more than a mile or so apart).

Modern parking meter systems are very cheap — especially because you just put up one ticket automat every 200m where you can pay with cash, phone, debit card, etc and get a little printed slip of paper saying date and time until when you can park, and then put that in your car.

Veeery cheap compared to actual meters.

And no, no marketing campaign or subsidy can be as effective as the parking costs. As long as parking isn't at least twice or thrice as expensive as transit no one will use transit. Its a serious issue IRL here. For a while they even did free transit, ads on every single billboard, bus and train, and still people rather parked for 10$ a 30min in the cuty, or even parked illegally.

Alternative as used in for example Rotterdam is to have a similar machine where you input your license plate. Then you don't need the ticket.

And this enables apps where you basically press [start parking] and [stop parking] and you won't even need to walk.

It won't kill businesses, it will move them. No business has the right to a specific location if it requires it's neighbors properties to.

First of all, public street parking, even in front of houses, is not "property."

Second, if urban planning is done properly, residential streets don't experience parking problems. That's the whole point of this thread.

And if urban planning is not done well, then it doesn't matter where businesses move--they'll still run into problems.

Oh, and if they all leave, then the neighbors will have a nice blighted block with empty buildings next door. Problem solved?

Parking meters do not magically create more parking spots. They create an incentive to use an alternative, but first there needs to be a good alternative.

> if urban planning is done properly, residential streets don't experience parking problems. That's the whole point of this thread.

If urban planning is done properly, there are no residential streets. Every street mixes residential, offices, and commercial properties.

Now you made it full circle to my original comment, "you can do this if you're a dictator. Otherwise, residents won't agree to pay for parking in front of their own homes."

No, I have not. The residents still get free parking, of course. If there’s more residents than parking spots, well, that sucks.

Resident only parking permits is nothing like private parking meters.

It's common in Europe. Residents get a special (yearly) discount. Road and sidewalk are not property of the house owner.

A few cities started making up parking requirements, and then others copied them. The way they decided how many parking spaces were needed was by looking at peak demand and then forcing all businesses to have enough parking to never run out. Since the ones making these decisions are local officials, copying another city’s regulation is easier than doing a serious study of real parking needs. Nobody ever thought very systemically about this until the whole thing had been in place throughout suburban America for years.

I've seen cities use these parking requirements to de facto give the zoning board more power over development. A downtown business might be required to have 10 parking spots but the city doesn't even want anyone to build parking lots so they will give an exception... after demanding changes to the design.

The theory is that street or public or other not-specific-to-this-business parking is a commons, and that absent regulation, everyone will try to maximize their share of the commons even to the detriment of all.

A bowling alley with no parking quickly stops being a bowling alley. The city has an interest in ensuring businesses remain in business so they can continue to collect taxes from them.

That's a copout.

Cupertino demands it because businesses have abused public streets before (e.g. relying on public parking for business purposes); if Apple had gone to Cupertino with an actual plan, they may have allowed fewer spaces, but since Apple didn't and just accepted the requirement it is because Apple has no plans to reduce it.

Agreed, the idea that Apple couldn't possibly have any influence over municipal policies is laughable. They just didn't try.

There were probably countlessly many things that Apple had to fight with the city over to get approval on, and there are only so many concessions that they can get. An exemption to the parking space requirement was probably not a very high priority to force through.

Some fights are simply more economical to not fight. Especially when going up against city regs and such. Not to mention that any changes made on Apple's behalf could very easily have unintended consequences down the road (such as parking spilling out of an undersized lot and into surrounding neighborhoods).

We usually hate when companies do this. Let's change the wording just a bit and see:

... the idea that Comcast couldn't possibly have any influence over municipal policies is laughable.

is Comcast one of the most famous companies in world having few hundred billion of cash available? since i am hardly familiar with them (ISP, carrier?) outside US i doubt that

it's like thinking Microsoft can't make things done in Redmond or Google in Palo alto

The point is we don't want companies to do this, so why expect that Apple should?

you don't want companies do what? stop building massive useless parking lots blocking local roads with thousands of cars instead of helping with local public transport, leaving nature untouched and easing the roads?

wow, you got me there, sure the other option would be much worse... let's strictly follow dumb rules instead of trying to change them for people benefit

Typically we don't like having companies manipulating municipal policies. This is how we end up in situations where we have one or two ISPs in a market. Or a situation where ATT and Google have to go to court for access to that pole. That was my point. It was not a dis on Apple or a desire for things to not change. We just need to tread carefully when allowing business to dictate municipal policy.

what has decreasing parking limits per employee (especially in middle of nowhere, so it's not like they are gonna park on nearby streets) to do with company being monopoly? somehow I fail to see there any relation, it might as well be company with 200 employees challenging dumb rule

it's not about business dictating rules, it's about 9000 parking spots for 12000 people, which sounds for someone from Europe completely insane

Like the other poster said, you're not even trying.

No, the poster is talking about influencing municipal policies.

You're not even trying.

and what's wrong with influencing municipal policies for good?

that's like saying that chain of nonsmoking restaurant is bad bad company if they try to push stricter local nonsmoking laws. that brand of electric vehicles is bad bad company if they try to push ban on old polluting cars. that bike company is bad bad for trying to influence city to build more roads

I fail to see what's wrong with anyone trying to influence local policies for better. Company is not some imaginative entity, in the end it's people after all.

Stop being deliberately obtuse. We don't want companies using their leverage to change city regulations, even if it's something we agree with.

why not? you rather suffer out of principle? what difference does it make if it's company or local citizen chalenging stupid rule? I fail to see difference if it's something majority will benefit from

We don't want it to become accepted that a company uses its weight to change city ordinances it doesn't like. Because more often than not, it'll end up doing so in a way we don't like.

municipal administration can always disagree, it's not blank check if you agree once for good of the people with company, not sure what's so difficut to understand about it, but maybe it's ingrained in american heads from your judicial system based on precedents (AFAIK)

it doesn't even need to be exception, you can change rules for everyone if it's good idea, no mater who is proposing change

I do think they have tried few times, and probably many times with this project too but it doesn't always go well.

In Bay Area any new development faces all kinds of criticism from the city & residents. Most of the world would love to have all the tech companies in the backyard but in Bay Area they are more treated with contempt.

In someways I'm even surprised they managed to build this mostly in a way they wanted.

Well it's not that clear. If, for example, Cupertino provide things like bike lanes, or public transportation, then it's not solely Apple's fault here. Maybe if the population density were to be increased (IE, removing restrictive zoning laws), they would reduce the need for people to use personal transportation.

That's the problem with these kind of engagements. Companies and cities generally don't care to work together on something like this. When they do, however, it usually results in something pretty good.

And if the average Apple employee could actually afford to live in Cupertino.

Has Apple ever said that they don't want to create all the parking spaces they're creating? Isn't it in their interest as an employer to provide ample parking for their employees?

No. Cars makes 15% of your employees angry in the morning because it's a passive-agressive activity; It makes them more expensive because they need a better car to demonstrate social status; It makes them lose time because decreasing the density of the city makes picking the kids from school a multi-mile epic; and it literally gives them cancer. Did I mention obesity?

A proper urbanist would have put the HQ on top of a hub of subway or tram lines, and you bet the managers' houses would be sorted by rank along the stations, the cleaning contractor being at the last station, as opposed to the current situation (richest farthest in the outback).

Of course, if you want happy productive employees within walking distance of their office, you don't build a centralized 15,000-job building with no residential area intersticed, so whoever signed off for such a building wouldn't understand walking distances, tram lines or subways.

And would certainly die from cancer.

Because regardless of the reasons why, most of their engineers are going to drive. And not being able to find a parking spot would put many of them in a crappy mood, which would hurt productivity.

Yes, it would be great if people didn't have to drive. But we don't live in that world yet, and it would be foolish and stupid to impose that on your employees.

Has Apple ever said that they don't want to create all the parking spaces they're creating? Isn't it in their interest as an employer to provide ample parking for their employees?

Requirements are made to be made exceptions for and Apple had $5b of leverage. They probably just wanted the parking.

Yeah. A simple donation to the local municipality would have gotten this requirement waived. I once heard of a company getting past height restrictions by simply buying the town a few new firetrucks.

The equipment loadout of the local fire service is often a factor in building height limits. For example there are building heights below which a fire service does not need ladder trucks but at a certain point, public safety demands ladder trucks be available.

Even if a fire service has ladder trucks, the existing ladder trucks may be berthed outside the area served by the local fire station and therefore the fire service cannot provide an appropriate response time and needs another ladder truck. Because ladder trucks are big, this may mean that the local fire station needs to be expanded to house the ladder truck.

Providing a ladder truck and possibly funds may, in some cases, remove the reasons for the height restrictions...with the premise that height restrictions are occasionally the result of careful consideration rather than or in addition to nimbyism.

Intel did that for their Folsom campus.

In what way is this "donation" not a bribe? Just because it goes to the government at large vs. an individual?

I guess the difference is that a bribe would go to an individual. As in - an individual would then be doing something that is in conflict with what the organization he's working for would otherwise do.

If you just "bribe" the organization, there's no conflict of interest. "We want to build this" "we dont want you to" "heres some money" "ok".

Its a bit like negotiating with the CEO vs. bribing a lone DBA about getting access to proprietary data.

A bribe is secret and typically illegal. This type of exception to the rule would be completely public and could be debated, discussed, voted on, etc.

Wait, you're saying that Apple wanted to be able to provide it's employees with a place to park while they're at work? That's crazy.

Because the postwar suburban land use of the surrounding area is designed exclusively around automobiles and makes it nearly impossible and extremely unpleasant to walk for transportation, a prerequisite of functional mass transit.

Silicon Valley has chosen to preserve its form of single-family suburban sprawl forever, at the cost of any human with a reasonable income being able to move there.

Not forever; the old parts of 'silicon valley' have been being turned under and rebuilt taller. Look north and east of the intersection of 237 & Mathilda Ave.

The south SF bay(and most of the bay, really) is similar to Chicago in the run up to the Civil War; it's expanded out as much as possible, the only direction left is up. The gentrifying is pricing families out of the area; you can measure progress with BART, and how it's snaking it's way into the heart of the south bay.

Except Chicago in the runup to the Civil War had population growth of 274% in a decade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago

Well over 10x what Silicon Valley has experienced during another world-historical boom: http://siliconvalleyindicators.org/special-reports/populatio...

It's a bit of damned if they don't and damned if they do. FB, GOOG get flack for their shuttle busses plus if you get there later in the day parking in MTV is dicey.

At least if you wanna drive, you can, if you wanna ride the bike, no one's stopping you.

Yea, I don't get it. Office parking is supposedly bad, but when GOOG sends around buses to reduce congestion/parking issues, they are bad as well?

Except that the land use of Silicon Valley makes cycling dangerous and distances often too large to be practical for many.

True to some degree. But that only underscores why Apple was right to build more rather than fewer stalls.

You're underestimating how much people love their cars. I formerly worked at Microsoft (the Redmond campus), which bends over backwards and does pretty much everything possible to keep people from driving to work. They have company shuttle buses, they give you a free card for public transit (and Seattle's is pretty good, compared to the Bay Area's), they pay you a bonus for using carpools/vanpools, and they have bike storage and showers and pay for bike expenses. They still need acres of parking garages, which are full every day. People like driving, and there's only so much the company can do about it.

It's not like these people are being irrational. If driving is faster, then these folks will do so. Given the property prices in the Seattle area, they are probably as close as possible to work as their budget will allow. They're probably at the edge of their tolerable commute as it is.

Maybe as self interested individuals they aren't being irrational, but collectively as a civilization, it's irrational. The early proponents of the mechanized garden city were naive, and we've carried on perpetuating that naivete for 80 years now, because that's just the way we do it. What a mess. If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

It's totally rational. Mass transit provides transport from points A to points B, C, and maybe D. Cars provide transportation to anywhere from anywhere. You regard this as irrational because you don't value individual liberty.

Could cars be more environmentally sound? Yes and we are on our way to making that happen.

If you conveniently ignore all the negative side effects of cars and sprawl that accomodates them, and start not from first principles but with the clusterfuck we currently inhabit, then I guess over-reliance on cars enhances individual liberty for a privileged few. With less cars you can take the bus, the train, a bike, or you can walk. You can do it whether you're rich or poor, or too old or too young to drive. With cars, you get to drive or else fuck you, and fuck your grandchildren too. Nothing about that fits into my model for individual liberty, quite the opposite.

Sprawl is allowing another person the freedom to have a yard. But sure, we can shave a few seconds off your commute by forcing everyone into tiny apartments in this massive country with massive amounts of open space.

I live in a state that appropriately funds it's freeways, so we don't have a cluster fuck. I seldom ever have to drive below 75 on the freeway.

Maybe one policy for an urban area doesn't fit for a rural area, and vice versa. Maybe... life is complicated and there's no intellectually easy solution for everything.

(directed at both Fricken and valuearb)

There is always an easy solution. The hard part is finding an easy solution that's not wrong.

For example, having people pay directly for their road and mass transit use is an excellent easy solution, the hard part is addressing air pollution externalities. So toll roads, private mass transit and carbon/pollution caps/market.

Is requiring every adult to spend thousands of dollars a year to fully engage in society and strictly limiting how property owners use their land to maximize ease of driving your definition of 'individual liberty'?

I'm anti-land use planning without compensation, so no.

If you want to inexpensively "fully engage" in society, go head and live in an apartment downtown or on a bus/train line. But don't restrict my ability to raise my kids in a home with a yard.

Does legalizing apartment buildings 'restrict' your ability to raise your kids in a home with a yard? Because it's illegal to build apartment buildings on the vast majority of land in nearly every American city— that's the exclusive reason why so much urban land consists of nothing but single-family homes in this country. Seattle is an example: http://i1.wp.com/www.myballard.com/wp-content/uploads/seattl...

Do you think 70 years of federal subsidies and social engineering designed to put (initially white) middle class families in single-family homes is a state of nature?

There is always a big political fight in my city when new apartments are proposed. These apartments would be immensely profitable for the developer, but impose externalities on the city and it's residents. Should we have to accept more congestion and traffic jams in a city that has little, when there is thousands of acres of open land that can be built on less than 10 miles away?

Explain how I'm supposed to carry groceries for a family of five on a bus or train. Please. How's a mother with a small child supposed to carry groceries home?

Apple does offer all sorts of alternate commute options: Coaches that run all over the Bay Area, shuttles for the south bay, shuttle service to Caltrain/ACE, carpool arrangements. There even are multiple shuttle service to connect the various Apple buildings in Cupertino. Ultimately, much of the South Bay is not very walkable (I lived there for one year without a car, and 7 years without a driver's license of my own), so it's hard to compete with cars, but I'm pretty sure a large percentage of our SF/Santa Cruz commuters, if not the majority of them, are not taking their own cars.

> Why not offer buses from where their employees live or other means of transportation?

Apple, like many other big Bay Area tech companies, has dozens of buses and shuttles that ship people around daily (even all the way up to places like Berkeley).

It was probably a city requirement to have that parking space.

Most of their employees prefer to drive themselves to work. Trying to force that to change is not their agenda.

Apple does have buses.

No offense but I hear this a lot "Why not public transportation?" Well, why not a car if people wanted to have a car? With Tesla and new E.V.s hitting the market, the primary reason (pollution) is gone.

Cars take a lot of space though in the form of roads and parking lots.

If space was really that much of an issue, they would be using stacked parking lots like they do in NY.

I assume on the Apple campus most of the parking is multi-level & underground. In that case, what's the issue?

Negative externalities of car use are the issue. Cars take up so much space on the road that they congest the roads and slow down other traffic.

Cupertino and Apple are doing nothing to change this status quo. With the status quo maintained, car use is mandatory for Apple workers in Cupertino and traffic will continue to increase.

Bay area taxpayers can look forward to paying more for new road expansion projects to attempt (and fail) to alleviate congestion.

Ok, so Apple makes zero parking spaces. Now what? Are they supposed to single-handedly solve everything dealing with transportation? If they built their HQ in downtown San Francisco, then someone else would be complaining about that. You really can't win.

So? Car owners will pay that bill from car taxes, parking tickets, etc... Why does that bother you?

The idea that roads and related infrastructure is paid entirely or even largely from taxes on road users is a huge myth that persists in a large number of western nations. In most of them, car owners merely contribute to the cost of roads via the taxes you mention, the bulk of the monies to pay road related costs still comes from other sources unrelated to roads or cars at all. Last I read on the subject, in the USA the breakdown was supposedly closer to 50% road related taxes, 50% general taxation paying for roads. I'm not that bothered personally, but I can absolutely understand why this might bother some - car owners are effectively subsidized by all tax payers to a large extent.

While this is true, in most cases, public transportation is funded at an even lower rate by fares / fees and more by general taxes.

In that case, I might agree with you. But the parent poster was not complaining about that. You should also be aware that roads are being used for transportation (public or of goods); which practically most people use (though this might mean just direct taxation of these means).

those taxes don't really resolve congested roads

Oh, you know, drivers kill over a million people are year. But you are right, why is that a problem?

Driving is the single most dangerous thing most people will do at any time. It is a ridiculous, barbaric thing to do.

730,000 people die in the US every year. Only 35,000 are killed in car accidents. Individually it wouldn't rank in the top ten causes of death.

Auto fatalities per million miles driven have dropped by 95% since the 1920s, 86% since 1950, and over 50% since the 1980s.

If people don't drive, all those million miles of transport will be taken up by Buses, Trains, Bikes, Walking, etc, all of which have their own death rates per million miles. It's unlikely the death rate will decline in any noticeable way even if we banned cars.

And we are on the verge of eliminating the vast majority of accidents, not just self driving cars, but even simpler existing mechanisms such as automatic brakes and lane change monitors will make massive reductions in accident rates as they continue to become more common.

Depending on how you bin it, motor vehicle accidents are one of the largest causes of death, particularly of younger adults [0].

> we are on the verge of eliminating the vast majority of accidents

That is purely speculative; in fact motor vehicle accident deaths are going up, not down, in the past couple years [1].

[0] https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/accidental-injury.htm

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/business/highway-traffic-...

Less than 1 out of every 20 deaths are from traffic accidents. It's higher for young adults mainly because young adults have a near zero death rate.

We had a spike in 2015 & 2016, and one in 2012, and every other year over the last decade the death rate has declined. The article you linked to emphasized the increase in deaths, and downplayed the increased number of miles driven, which is misleading. Deaths per mile only increased 3%.

And we've seen these spikes before, about one or two per decade and they don't change long term trends. In 1961-63 they spiked 6% per mile driven and 4% in 1965-66, since then death rates have declined 80%.

2015 was the 5th safest year ever for US auto travel. It's death per million miles was 1.12, in the 2000-2009 the death rate averaged 1.41 per million miles, meaning they've still declined 20% over the last decade, even with the recent spike.

Self driving cars aren't very speculative any more, it's not a question of if, just when. But automatic braking systems and lane safety systems exist today. Honda offers "Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS™)" as an option on most of it's cars already.


Honda also offers a collision warning feature, lane keeping assist system, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control with low speed follow. All of these systems exist today, and are offered by most manufacturers as options. They haven't had a big impact yet because they are options, and haven't been offered for very long so they are on a minuscule portion of the cars on the road.

But as their costs drop, just like ABS and other safety features, they will become standard equipment and after another decade or so it will be difficult to find a car that doesn't have them.

If people walked or biked, one would however save hundreds of thousands of lives because of lifestyle issues.

If people stopped eating red meat...

You can always find ways to save lives by making living suck more.

With electric cars the pollution is just elsewhere. And asphalt dust is a major hazard in most big cities.

Btw, my argument was that people want a car because that's what has been made the most convenient. I think the correlation is that way.

Fast, on-demand, point-to-point transportation in the company of your choice, with the option of hauling more stuff than you can carry on your person, will always be attractive. If the cars drive themselves, that would be ideal. I'd say let's figure out a way to let everyone use that system. The Boring Company is a start. It seems to me in the currently ascending culture that a good person is expected to show a dislike for cars. Maybe for the vehicles of the future to be accepted their name needs to change. Pods? Apple could make a version.

Its employees live all over the South Bay. I don't see how you'd provide bus service that services thousands of residents over hundreds of square miles. Most people would still need to drive, and perhaps even people serviced by Apple buses would still choose to drive. I know I would.

Apple already offers busses to their current campus, and I can't imagine those would go away when they move.

Still, not being able to find a parking spot in the morning is going to irritate a lot of people, and tank productivity.

> I'd wish they were a bit more futuristic than having 9000 parking spaces.

Apple might argue that their futuristic parking garage is the future - https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/technology/apple-self-dri...

luckily, that could be converted later on. But it is a good point.

Beautiful building.

I wonder though - for those who read the article and have worked in both suburban environments and urban ones - would you rather work in the amazing Apple spaceship in the suburbs, or a normal office building in a city-center?

For me, I think I'd still prefer a short commute and the density of stuff that comes with being downtown.

I haven't been to Cupertino in many years, but from what I can see on maps and aerial/satellite images it looks like it hasn't changed a lot since I lived there.

My recollection is that "suburbs" is not really a good description. Suburbs bring to mind mostly residential neighborhoods with a few big shopping centers here and there, and not much within reasonable walking or biking range. Places where you find yourself often saying "I'll pick that up next time I'm in the city".

What it felt like to me was more like if you took several small towns and pushed them all close to each other. I could for the most part get around on my bike, but would occasionally want to go to something too far away (e.g., up to Stanford's bookstore for the annual Springer-Verlag sale).

Because it was like a bunch of small towns pushed together, with a layer of residential neighborhoods between them, there were almost always routes for biking between where I was and where the little pocket of density I wanted to be was that would mostly go through those very low traffic residential neighborhoods, so it felt much more safe and relaxing than biking in a major city.

(Wow. I just checked rent at the place I used to live. It was called the Villa Serra Apartments then, but is now called the Markham Apartments. I was paying $750/month for a 750 sq. foot apartment in 1991. Now they want between $3100 and $3800/month. Inflation alone would make $750 in 1991 about $1400 today. That's about 2.4% per year. To go from $750 to $3500 would be about 6.1% per year. Ouch!)

Your recollection is pretty accurate for today, but it's even denser in all the little towns - almost every single vacant lot is now built up on the main thoroughfares, saw them getting built up over the last fifteen years.

Closer to Apple the two exits on 280 backup all the way down the onramp from about 8 to 10 every weekday morning. Still bikeable but have to be very alert when on the main streets in the bike lanes.

Your description of "several small towns pushed together" basically describes much of northern New Jersey. I used to live there. It was not safe for cycling. The place really was a bunch of small towns, that all ended up growing into one big mass, with little downtown areas with shops, surrounded by residential areas. The problem is that growth was never planned for, so the road system is a mess, and small little 1-lane roads actually serve as the main thoroughfares to get between all these little towns in many places. So there's very few places where it's actually safe to ride a bike if you're trying to actually get anywhere. Riding around a little housing development might be fine, but if you want to go from township A to township B, you're going to be on a very narrow road with a lot of fast-moving cars that are in a big hurry. Worse, cars don't stay in their lanes at all: any time someone is turning left on one of these narrow roads, cars will simply go around them on the shoulder (which AFAICT is perfectly legal there) to avoid waiting and blocking traffic. If you're riding on that shoulder, that's a great way to get hit.

I'd rather work from home, and have done for decades.

I'm not convinced it's a beautiful building. It's a very careful building, trying to be a temple and - IMO - failing.

What's missing? Randomness. Playfulness. Quirkiness. Fun. Colour. Warmth.

Individuality. Art.

At Pixar, everyone was encouraged to personalise their work space in a creative way.

I can't imagine that happening here, because it would be a mortal wound to the purity.

My guess is that it will feel very subtly oppressive rather than delightfully liberating. It'll be a quietly productive environment, in a slightly manic way, but it's hard to be creative when everything and everyone around you has the same company standard officially-approved look and feel.

> At Pixar, everyone was encouraged to personalise their work space in a creative way.

Ehhh? When I interviewed at Pixar it was mostly cubicles, some with two or three people in each cubicle area (higher ups would have nice offices that looked in on the cubicle areas, though).

"What's missing? Randomness. Playfulness. Quirkiness. Fun. Colour. Warmth."

That was my take-away as well. It struck me as a monument to just how gosh-darn clever Steve Jobs and Apple are, rather than a place at which the ordinary rank-and-file would want to work.

You missed the part where elevators have automated squirt guns they spray you with if you only choose to go a single floor. Playful enough?

yep, it looks really awful like something from 80s almost in par with commie architecture, these guys wasting money apparently never heard of Zaha Hadid and likes

common, it's just massive boring circle, even Pentagon building is more original, there are only two things making this building interesting - size, Apple HQ

make it ten times smaller and put there unknown company and nobody would bother to read about it

They spent the money and effort on making it functional so that employees can best enjoy their time there.

Zaha Hadid designs beautiful but dysfunctional buildings.

enjoy time in those prison cubicles? they would better off let them work from home than in this prison environment

nice design from outside doesn't mean it can't be practical inside

We have one picture of the pods. You prefer to believe they are in windowless prison halls, I prefer to believe that most will have adequate natural light from windows. We'll soon find out who is right about that.

If Apple was Facebook or most modern web companies, the extra expensive of pods would have been spared to cram employees to stare at each other across tables in massive noisy rooms, usually with adequate natural light.

In this case Apple clearly is putting employees and their productivity first. At least they didn't choose Bella Hadid to design it, or god knows how much more impractical the inside would have been.


Hadid is the most overrated architect in modern times.

Foster trumps her easily judging by his works.

Reminds me of the working environment in GATTACA

It's only a short commute if you lived downtown, right?. The company I work for is moving from the suburbs to downtown. I live in what is considered "in town" but not quite urban.

Honestly it's easier for me to commute out to the suburbs since I am going the opposite flow of traffic. Even though I will use the train to commute downtown it will be longer. Same if I decide to drive, downtown office is half the distance but will take double the time.

    would you rather work in the amazing Apple spaceship in the suburbs,
    or a normal office building in a city-center?
I would rather work in any building in the suburbs than any building in a city center. I love being able to get in my car and arrive at work in 10 minutes. Very few public transportation systems can beat that. It also means that I can live in an area where I can drive to and park at restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Live is easier with a car in a suburban area is easier than without one in an urban area.

Trick question: unless you were already a multi-millionaire you wouldn't be able to drive to the Apple spaceship in under 45 minutes.

This is completely untrue. I am most certainly not a multi-millionare and, according to Google Maps, I can drive from my apartment to Apple Park in 13 minutes. I can also get to eBay in 10 and Netflix in 11.

I love suburbs. They get lots of hate here but I'd take one over a city in a heartbeat. I like doing things that require garages and back yards and sheds.

And rarely being bothered by noise from my neighbors.

What are you talking about? Every time I've lived in a suburb, I've had neighbors with incessantly barking dogs. Suburbs have been some of the noisiest places I've ever been between all the stupid dogs, the constant noise of lawn mowers and leaf blowers, and all the idiots with noisy motorcycles and big trucks and modified compact cars.

I'll take an occasional dog bark or lawn mower noise (usually during the day time) instead of traffic noise, sirens, yelling, loud music, wondering if my car will be vandalized, etc. And aren't modified compact cars more of an urban thing? Mostly SUVs and minivans around here.

It wasn't occasional dog barking, it was constant, going on for hours.

Add to that one neighbor who had a stupid pit bull that got out a lot, and bit two people.

On top of that, at one place I had neighbors across the street who had some stupid friends who drove up every day to pick up someone and honked their horn until that person came out of the house.

No, modified compact cars are a suburban thing. It's hard for a young person to modify their car when they don't have a garage. You can't modify your car with some POS muffler in a high-rise.

My girlfriend lives in a high-rise in a city. While there are occasional sirens and the regular sound of the subway train, there's no real traffic noise (not close enough to the freeway for that, this is pretty low-traffic residential), and certainly no yelling or loud music, and with the parking being in a parking garage with keycard access there's no worry about car vandalism either. I don't see any shitty modified compact cars there either. Overall, she seems to have less annoying noise than I had to deal with in my suburban homes that I used to live in. I'll take train noise over barking dogs any time. I don't know what the problem is with so many Americans that they just love the sound of dogs barking their heads off for hours and hours. But I only have seen this in suburbs and rural areas, never cities.

I see all the barking dog-lovers are out in force modding me down.

With so many people working there, I'll be like working in a small(-ish) town. I don't know if the article mentioned it or not, but I would expect that a company of that level would provide some perks, like free snacks. To an employee, it would be like a short stroll to grab a bagel, or whatever people in that region like to eat, with the exception of it being free. One could get used to it, I bet...

Apple makes employees pay for the company cafeteria.

Ok, on a certain economic level it does make sense to not offer free food for thousands of people. I would expect, however, that a decent meal would not cost as much as it would in a downtown restaurant/café. Are there any infos on prices and food quality?

The food is quite good (better than Google's, by my taste, though reasonable people may disagree), and partially subsidized. Lunch runs you ~$8-12 (typical casual lunch prices for the Bay Area, but with better quality).

Also many of the individual orgs within Apple do have free snacks for their teams; it's not a campus-wide thing.

working from home is my favorite. I currently have this option for the majority of each week and take advantage of it. if not given the choice the shorter the commute the better.

as with many, my work location changed long after I settled happily where I am at and seems to only move further away.

beautiful building? meh, it's just extremely boring massive ring designed by some megalomaniac without any imagination, it's shame since Apple products have usually decent design but this is shameful mediocrity

this is beautiful building which looks cool and like actual 2017, not that Apple thing which looks like something from 80s http://www.archdaily.com/778933/harbin-opera-house-mad-archi...


The Harbin looks incredibly wasteful of space.

beautiful building, that's what i was responding to

this might be efficient but it's extremely boring not worth articles

As a person who can't stand air-conditioned air, I'd love to work in a building that breathes. That, and all the other considerations that went into designing this masterpiece make it seem like it would be the most pleasurable corporate environment to work in, period.

That said, my ideal workplace would be something like a studio apartment about 6-8 floors above ground, in a temperate climate, with good natural air circulation. In close proximity to the city centre with good food variety, or even better - with a kitchen and the time to cook for myself.

Which means they better make that office in the suburbs extra appealing. Like this one is.

One of the more interesting things to watch over the years in the Bay Area was the construction of the 'signature' headquarters for tech companies. It has been interesting because there is a grand history of companies building these edifices to themselves, and then dying. Commonly cited examples are Sun (currently occupied by Facebook), SGI (currently occupied by Google), and Tandem (occupied by Ebay). A number of people also thought that of Apple at its One Infinite Loop HQ in Cupertino and subsequent fall from grace under a series of CEOs. So far Apple had dodged that bullet :-).

Driving past it over the last few years, I try to imagine 50, 100, or maybe 500 years in the future. Will it still be an amazing building or will it be Cupertino's Coliseum ?

This is exactly the sort of thing I would do if money were no object, so I can't criticize them in any way. This must have been an incredibly fun project to work on.

I'm glad to see this comment, because i was feeling kind of snarky after reading the article, and it does sound like they went overboard in a lot of silly ways. But you're absolutely right: if I had a bazillion dollars in the bank i'd probably do the same.

"And, of course, the final version is designed to be integrated into the doorframe—heaven forbid you would bolt something on in Apple’s headquarters."

Just like water/electricity hidden in concrete beams I wonder how much of a nightmare maintenance of the building is gonna become? A simple door handle breaking already means replacing the whole door.

I guess it's just in line with their usual product philosophy, just gonna be a tad bit difficult to source a completely new $5 Billion ring if some part of this one breaks.

5B for 13k employees - that's ~$384,000 in construction costs per head, operating and maintenance expenses are perhaps 5% of that annually (maybe more!) - taken together this is an office building that's costing apple ~$3500/head/mo . It's a beautiful office, but seriously?

Avg apple cash comp is what, 12500/mo? 3500 is almost 30% of that!

You are missing the point. It's only an office because apple is a company. That could have been the great pyramids, saint sophia or notre dame.

Your calculations are off because you don't realize that while a lot of servants are enjoying their life in the castle, it's been built for the royal family and its court.

Yup. It's a status symbol that happens to be an office space.

Couldn't tell if you are being sarcastic, so excuse me for answering like you're not.

It doesn't match the artistic quality and cultural significance of st sophia or the pyramids, not even close. It's just a big glass and steel office space surrounded by a park. Sure the shape is not common, it's gonna have a few high-tech gimmicks and it carries the whole "apple" aesthetic, but it's rather blunt and feels generic (at least for me). Don't get me wrong, it's still a great project for what it is, just not the kind of project that you can call a monument a couple of centuries later

> It doesn't match the artistic quality and cultural significance of st sophia or the pyramids

That's what you think of it. But again, it's not been building for you. It's been built for the rich people at the top of Apple. It's massive. It's designed like an apple product. It fits their purpose of symbolism, the success of design and money, a place to put all their collections of brains for show.

What you think of it, your taste, or any feeling you can have about it is completely insignificant to them. They have the exactly the pony they want. It represents exactly what they want it to, like said monument represented exactly what the people that paid for it wanted it to.

it's just massive boring circle and i can show you immediately dozen more interesting buildings

now pyramids at the time of construction were massive engineering, this is just dumb boring building

"Massive" being the key word here.

I can show you a dozen more interesting looking phones than an iPhone, but an iPhone is still an iPhone.

Except it makes more sense to depreciate over the useful life of the building (standard: 50 years) which brings you to a more reasonable ~$8k/year/employee cost of building use.

Tim Cook has explicitly called it a 100 year bet.

If Apple is still a thing in 30 years do you think this will still be a cool place to be?

Apple will almost certainly still be a thing in 30 years. While it's hard to predict anything about fashion that far into the future, there are lots of buildings that are 30 or more years old that are cool places to be.

That's the beautiful thing about depreciation, it doesn't really matter. Depreciation is just a way to see how costs are being allocated over time, more realistically. It allows you to predict how much you have left to recoup on capex projects.

The real question (if you believe Apple will close down) is do you believe anyone will be interested in occupying the office space? Remember, the office could house more than one tenet. Or maybe they choose to offload the property in a sale.

It's the same principle I use when negotiating gym rental contracts: Schools aren't using their gyms all the time. They have downtime, i.e., they're undersubscribed, so they offer hours for rent at marginal cost.

> standard: 50 years

According to this study[0] 50 years is the maximum lifespan of a commercial building, not the standard. Over 50% of demolished steel commercial buildings were under 25 years old.

[0] PDF: http://cwc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/DurabilityService_L...

There's zero chance that building doesn't last 50 years, whether it's still being used by Apple 50 years from now or not.

That isn't what the study I linked to says. Did you read it?

Yea, that's not much of a study. The authors didn't have enough data to really understand why buildings were getting demolished before 50 years. Defining them as "wood", "concrete" and "steel" is far too broad of categories, for one.

A steel warehouse that was put up with the lowest cost bid is easy to demolish and rebuild with better, newer materials/technologies after 40 years or so. A state of the art office building is not.

How old is the Empire State Building? Do you think it's getting demolished any time soon?

Do you really think building construction techniques and materials of 50 years ago are comparable to the techniques and materials used today, especially on the Apple Campus?

5%? $250,000,000 a year to maintain a building? I don't know anything about building maintenance costs, but a quarter of a billion dollars a year seems a little excessive. How do you arrive at that figure?

Seems high. For residential real estate, you usually estimate 1% of a home's cost. So for the campus it would be $50M per year, which wouldn't surprise me in the least.

A lot of that would be energy costs as well, which the new building will have for much cheaper with the solar panels on the roof.

Maintenance and operating. It's not far off.

> 5B for 13k employees - that's ~$384,000 in construction costs per head

The building will cater for many more than that number of employees over its lifetime.

Remember that they're in one of the sunniest places in the US (at least during the summer) and are supposedly 100% self-contained renewable energy.

Energy costs are typically, and by far, the lion's share of the operating costs of a major building like this.

There is a difference between sunny and hot. Cupertino has plenty of sunshine, but is not hot so doesn't require a ton of energy for cooling (the building doesn't even have AC!). If they were able to pull this off in say, Phoenix, it would be a lot more of a cost savings.

> Jobs hated air-conditioning and especially loathed fans. (He vigilantly tried to keep them out of his computers.) But he also didn’t want people opening windows, so he insisted on natural ventilation, a building that breathes just like the people who work inside it.

The article mentioned in-floor heating/cooling hydronic loops.

Interesting. Still, the sunshine to energy need ratio in Cupertino seems to support low energy costs.

Redwood City, just to the north, is famous for having the "best climate in the world" by WW2 era gov't test.

If what he did at Pixar is any guide, in theory the return on this investment isn't comparable to typical buildings.

? Steve Jobs from beyond the grave?

Average Apple comp at HQ has to be a lot higher than that

from the company's point of view it's not a cash spend on employee benefits (the way bonus pay would be) but rather investment into a capital asset. the building itself retains a large amount of value over time, and under the right circumstances might even appreciate in value.

It might appreciate in value, but you would still need someone willing to pay $5B+ for it.

I am wondering why I find it kind of odd that it doesn't have a childcare center.

I was talking with a friend about this, that works at a big SV company that is known for high comp. Why don't they have a child care facility? Surely they can afford it!

His response was - paraphrasing - "What happens if someone quits, or is fired? In SV/SF, waits for child care facilities can easily take 6-12 months. If someone is terminated from our company, the last thing we want for them to do is have a crisis about where their children are going to go."

I believe they have a stipend, but I'm not sure about that.

Of course, I can't say if this is Apple's rationale, but it wouldn't surprise me if that had something to do with it.

Seems like a bullshit excuse that's using the illusion of empathy (which is some extra infuriating bullshit). I'd much rather the option of on-site daycare and dealing with the fallout of leaving a job myself.

I'd rather not have my kids under the control of my company.

Then don't. Corporate childcare isn't mandatory... just because you don't like it doesn't mean it isn't incredibly valuable to other working parents.

I've considered employers I wouldn't have otherwise considered because the thought of on-site child care is incredibly appealing.

Child care is a competitive business that can almost always be provided better and cheaper elsewhere. So it's much better to use stipends to subsidize employee child care.

Having child care is also an expensive distraction and liability for management. Do you want to deal with employee complaints over childcare hours, personnel, facilities, etc, or do you want to spend your time thinking about how to better sell product and keep employee's employed? What happens when an employee accuses a child-care worker of hurting their child?

This is all a bunch of weird handwringing...

>Child care is a competitive business that can almost always be provided better and cheaper elsewhere. So it's much better to use stipends to subsidize employee child care.

Child care facilities aim for profit like any other business, and a corporate add-on doesn't need to seek profitability (and even if they did, assuming it's on-site the operational overhead is ultimately lower). So how exactly would outside facilities compete with that?

>Having child care is also an expensive distraction and liability for management

Having children is an expensive distraction whether or not your company is involved. If something happens at a remote daycare, your employee will leave the building to manage that. If there's a child-care gap that doesn't align with work schedules, your employee will take time off to deal with that.

>What happens when an employee accuses a child-care worker of hurting their child?

What happens when an employee accuses another employee of hurting them?

>or do you want to spend your time thinking about how to better sell product and keep employee's employed

I want to spend my time making a good product and making my employees lives easier so they can do their best work.

>Making something non-profit doesn't make it efficient. If your business is child-care, it's your job to know the cheapest/best way to comply with regs, build child-care locations to meet market demands, hire child-care staff, enforce appropriate rules and procedures, etc, etc, etc.

You hire someone for this

>Running a software company doesn't give you any of those skills. Someone specializing in the business of child-care should be able to wipe the floor with anything your software company puts up in it's spare time.

Same hire as above

>Children are a distraction, I know. But having the management of the company involved in making decisions about how your kids are being cared for is a distraction from their core duties. By definition they are going to be slightly worse at sales, marketing, development, etc because they have to spend time on childcare.

Seriously, hire like one person.

>Having childcare only benefits a few employees for a few years of their lives. There is nothing wrong with having company childcare, I'm playing the devils advocate a bit here, but there is also nothing wrong with saying the outside world will be better at serving this need and just offering a stipend to help parents with the cost.

I'm talking about companies with hundreds of employees in the same building... like Apple, who has built a massively enormous HQ without childcare. An issue that likely impacts dozens, if not hundreds, of their employees at this location.

I think you greatly over-estimate the ease of hiring someone to run child-care for your company.

Are they skilled at it? You don't know, their resume looked good to you, but your expertise is elsewhere.

Are their policies correct? Again, you don't know.

Are your liabilities reasonably covered? Who knows?

And you still have to manage that person on a day to day basis. You have to be able to fire them if they screw up, you have to know whats going on in their department.

You can educate yourself, but again you won't become an expert and that's time you could spend building your business.

Even for Apple, and Tim Cook, it's easier to rely on the competitive market to provide child-care. The best of all worlds would be to rent space to a child-care provider, and bid out the service to get the best child-care possible. There are still issues, such as you don't want the low bidder, and you have to do research to pick the best bidder. But at least you aren't running it day to day.

These are all problems involved with hiring anyone for any position... or even using any daycare. These aren't uniquely difficult problems for any reasonably large company, not to mention one of the most profitable companies in existence.

You're making a mountain out of a mole hill. Steve Jobs wanted to make this building "breathable" and paid to come up with a custom solution and your bemoaning the logistics of hiring competent child care providers.

Making something non-profit doesn't make it efficient. If your business is child-care, it's your job to know the cheapest/best way to comply with regs, build child-care locations to meet market demands, hire child-care staff, enforce appropriate rules and procedures, etc, etc, etc.

Running a software company doesn't give you any of those skills. Someone specializing in the business of child-care should be able to wipe the floor with anything your software company puts up in it's spare time.

Children are a distraction, I know. But having the management of the company involved in making decisions about how your kids are being cared for is a distraction from their core duties. By definition they are going to be slightly worse at sales, marketing, development, etc because they have to spend time on childcare.

Having childcare only benefits a few employees for a few years of their lives. There is nothing wrong with having company childcare, I'm playing the devils advocate a bit here, but there is also nothing wrong with saying the outside world will be better at serving this need and just offering a stipend to help parents with the cost.

This is a classic HN conversation, a bunch of people trying to reason about something off the top of their head from their own personal experience.

Childcare in businesses is a solved problem. Thousands of businesses do it, as do many government agencies. Here in DC there are in-business childcare centers at places like the Smithsonian, Holocaust Museum, FDA, World Bank, HHS, etc. Heck the public middle school in my neighborhood has an attached childcare center for the teachers' kids.

Patagonia, one of the most-admired businesses in the world, has a huge childcare center on campus, and encourages other businesses to do the same thing.

Whether or not to offer on-premise childcare is a choice every business can make for itself, but let's not pretend it's some risky idea that is hard to work out.

I agree entirely. It's really weird to pinpoint this as some complex logistical problem. Apple creates intentional supply chains that are large enough to impact international economies — as a 'problem' this is like a fart in the wind.

Of course it's completely up to a company to do this. my point, and likely OP's point is that it seems like a glaring omission from an otherwise feature-rich campus.

Same reason companies shouldn't provide healthcare. Macroeconomics is complicated.

Why can't there be onsite third-party childcare? The problem here is the concept of a surburban "company town" office, instead of having an office building integrated into the wider community.

If all companies had childcare that wouldn't be an issue...

In the case of firing, are they unable to take care of the child themselves at home?

I understand that on-site childcare wouldn't work for everyone, but it could work for some, and be a benefit to them.

Other companies DO provide it.

There's a on-site cafeteria, correct? Do they worry how people will get lunch if they quit/fired? Reservations in SV/SF can easily take 6-12 months. /s

> In the case of firing, are they unable to take care of the child themselves at home?

Yes, they are unable because that would hinder them from getting another job.

> I understand that on-site childcare wouldn't work for everyone, but it could work for some, and be a benefit to them. > Other companies DO provide it.

Whats the difference between a daycare at your work or at a separate daycare building?

> Yes, they are unable because that would hinder them from getting another job.

They, ultimately, have the responsibility to take care of their children, rather than always handing them off to a someone else - correct?

If these jobs are so incompatible with raising children, what's the point of trying to raise children? Does it now seem wise why they companies of these jobs could provide childcare for the benefit of these employees?

SV sounds like Hell on Earth.

If your child is not yet attending school, and you don't have a spouse/partner/grandparents to watch them during the day, then YES, that situation is quite literally incompatible with holding a job. That is in no way unique to Silicon Valley.

It sounds like really you're critiquing parents in general for sending kids to daycare.

> Whats the difference between a daycare at your work or at a separate daycare building?

Lower cost and fewer logistical issues I would imagine.

You've just removed a 10~45 minute round trip commute to that separate building. That's twice a day every day, and if the kid gets sick or injured.

That's a good point I didn't think of actually. Forgot about the extra commute time to/from the daycare.

Childcare is competitive and there are already a range of nearby options.

It's much harder to estimate the demand of a child care center than that of a gym or a cafeteria. Not every employee will become a parent and those who do so will only have one or two children in the lifetime.

On top of that, some would prefer an outside child care service, specially if the position has a lot of traveling involved (can your partner or caregiver bring the kid to campus when you are not there?) Even if you decide to do it. ¿How many people should you hire? ¿What happens when the employee is fired or quits? (it's hard to find a daycare center in short time), add insurance, etc...

The way most companies solve this is by subsidizing the daycare facility of you're choosing or allowing for remote work some days of the week. It's more efficient.

That being said, not sure what the policy at Apple is right now.

> It's much harder to estimate the demand of a child care center than that of a gym or a cafeteria. Not every employee will become a parent and those who do so will only have one or two children in the lifetime.

not every employee (most?) is interested in gym, so why provide gym? you can make survey or research to estimate what size of childcare you will need

> On top of that, some would prefer an outside child care service, specially if the position has a lot of traveling involved (can your partner or caregiver bring the kid to campus when you are not there?) Even if you decide to do it. ¿How many people should you hire? ¿What happens when the employee is fired or quits? (it's hard to find a daycare center in short time), add insurance, etc...

just put in contract childcare ends same time as contract, simple as that, it's just bullshit excuse not provide option hiding it behind caring about well-being of employee

> just put in contract childcare ends same time as contract, simple as that, it's just bullshit excuse not provide option hiding it behind caring about well-being of employee

Not an excuse. Just one of the many logistics problems involved. What happens when you have to stay longer than childcare is open, etc...

Yeah, these problems also happen with third party child care but that's the point. It might be wiser and more efficient to subsidize an external option that to build an internal one. Not only for the company, for the employee as well.

as you said all of these can be applied also in 3rd party child care, so it's BS excuse, you just do same wthing as you would do with 3rd party, but most of the time can take of benefit having child care right where you work

nobody rational is so insane to expect different services from child care just because it's provided by employer, but sure it is convenient for parent

I have to work late, why isn't child care open after 5? I'm forced to go all the way down there, get my kid, and then drag them back up to my office and they won't let me work!

My child has a bump on their head, I'm positive they didn't have it before I dropped them, I demand a firing!

Why isn't the company offering healthy snacks to my kids?

I chose not to have kids because I think it's better for our future not to overpopulate this planet. But why can't I leave my Shitzu there? He's never hurt anyone!!!!

It's not that hard, (1) as long as the company doesn't promise that all employees get access (just like parking)so demand is always greater than supply, and (2) new children are announced with 6-12 month lead time

It's so expensive and such a huge distraction, and you can't even offer it to most employees? How is that worth it?

It is rather odd.

Is it? The large corporation I work for doesn't have an onsite childcare center. Instead we offer discounts for child care elsewhere, near the office, but not in. For a company as private and secretive as Apple, why even expose themselves to the risk of having people walking around a campus that they don't need to be if they can meet the need elsewhere, offsite?


I've worked at a Fortune 100 HQ with childcare. It was segmented and the kids/workers never entered the main building.

Apple will have cleaners, maintenance, food service, etc all over the place. It's not like it'll be a hermetically sealed place.

> For a company as private and secretive as Apple, why even expose themselves to the risk of having people walking around a campus that they don't need to be if they can meet the need elsewhere, offsite?

Yes, those toddlers would probably stumble on Jony Ive's secret development studio! In reality the campus also has "a visitors center with an Apple Store and cafe open to the public". That means full sized adults walking around!


I don't work for a big company. Every morning I take my daughter to daycare before going to work. Although not far from where we live (2 km), I still need to drive in the opposite direction. This means an extra ~20 minutes per morning. That's just the trip. Add to it the lack of parking spaces and rapidly decreasing chance of finding one after a certain time point. Not to mention that I need wake up a 3 year old at an unreasonably early hour for any child... Having an on-site childcare center would make a lot of things more simple and pleasant for my entire family.

Why should the company spend millions a year on a perk you can take advantage of that I can't? And let's not assume you can take advantage of it, given there will be a waiting list.

Why do people want a return to the "company town" model just to save a few minutes?

It does not have to be free. Just being able to bring my child and, later in the day, take then from where I work (or close by) would be as close to perfect as possible. I would happily pay, even 100%, if the company would facilitate an on-site daycare.

In regard to saving "a few minutes", I don't know how you (or other people) feel about it, but I'd happily spend more time with my child.

Right, companies should have no perks, because none of them are enjoyed by everyone. This includes healthcare and cafeteria.

> Why should the company spend millions a year on a perk you can take advantage of that I can't?

You can absolutely take advantage of it, by raising a child.

I have two, but I'm not taking them to my employers childcare. I took them to a good childcare that I picked out competitively. And now they are in school. Company perks shouldn't be enjoyable by only a tiny minority of the company at any one time.

Well that's how all company perks are. Company gyms aren't large enough for literally all their employees to use at once, or even frequently interspaced over a single day.

Apart from coffee machines, and maybe food service... no physical location perk is capable of handling the entire staff.

... but I don't drink coffee, so get rid of the coffee machine!

I think it would be great dog food for Apple. Growing up with Apple II's/II GS's/Macs, the amount of educational software I used was astounding. I think my path to becoming an artist/programmer started while playing with Logo in the 5th grade.

Show me how the kids of Apple benefit from this, "Insanely Great" technology.

Because most people leave Apple before they have kids

Children are messy and un-Apple-like. Can you imagine an Apple-themed childcare center?

I'm trying to imagine one now, with snooty little kids in black turtlenecks.

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