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Steve Jobs Presents His Ideas For A New Apple Campus (techcrunch.com)
427 points by sahillavingia on June 8, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 216 comments

Only Steve could glue me to the screen for 20 mins to watch a city council meeting.

It's like listening to PT Barnum read the J Peterman catalog.

I laughed when he projected the estimated percent increase in trees. I hope this filters into future presentations. "We're here to announce the iPhone 5, but first...we've been really, really happy with the growth of our tree population here at Apple."

Lots of apricot trees... perhaps the odd McIntosh Apple? [1]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McIntosh_%28apple%29

I grew up in Ontario, where McIntosh are king (and deliciously awesome!). I was surprised, when I moved, that a lot of people didn't know that the MacIntosh computer was actually named after this apple (trademark, or something, prevented them from using "McIntosh")

It was probably the trademark for McIntosh amplifiers (http://www.mcintoshlabs.com/us/Pages/Home.aspx).

"Macintosh" was also chosen because it's acronym-proof

Still doesn't stop people from writing MAC instead of Mac; its an abbreviation, not an acronym!

Things like these help separate the clueless from those you should pay attention to. It's a Good Thing.

Also, McDonald's like to sue people for using Mc-, kinda like Apple likes to sue people for using i-.

The power of leading your presentation with a story.

Exactly. I recommend reading Resonate by Nancy Duarte (from the company that did Al Gore's slides).

I work in a small office park located quite similarly on a grassy field locked entirely by some freeways and other large roads, though the buildings here are cheap and ugly, but even if they weren't, it'd still totally suck. It's isolated, not a part of the city, essentially, it's just a large parking lot (most of which is below the ground, but that doesn't really change anything).

It's quite disappointing. Maybe it's a marvel of architecture, but indeed it's a failure of urbanism (which, I believe, is much more important). It's 2011 and we're still building things while thinking in predefined square lots separated by roads? Such a shame.

I worked at a place in Santa Monica called the Water Garden and it did seem isolated. And seeing cities like NYC and Taipei and even downtown Ann Arbor, I realize the benefits of new urbanism. However, I wonder if there is a new model emerging here in next generation corporate work centers.

Buildings will get so large that they are act as their own cities, creating space that can be returned to ecological use. Such buildings would be so large as to need their own rail systems.

But the problem is living spaces being separate from working spaces. I do hope that buildings like this get closely integrated into mass transportation. Not every couple work at the same place with their kids at the corporate school. If public transportation is not very intelligently integrated, the desolation of the parking lots that this beautiful building replaces will continue in the social dimension. From the presentation it seems as if this will be addressed by buses.

Not to laugh too much, because I agree with you, but...

You do realize that what you're positing (giant work buildings, close together, with all needed facilities nearby and lots of intra- and extra- transit access to nearby housing) is what most of us call an "urban downtown area", right?

You don't need to invent this. People already figured it out.

Y, I do! That companies seeking an isolated, concentrated workforce somehow vibes with new urbanism is a big stretch. Worse, I am biased by the aesthetic and technical qualities of this building concept, and it overwhelms practical considerations. This is exactly how so many planners bought into modernist architecture.

That sounds a LOT like what Walt Disney wanted EPCOT to be originally.

I often wish someone had taken his real dream (a closely knit city of work, living, and play areas that always worked towards the future rather than a lame [by comparison to what it should have been] theme park) and run with it.

"But the problem is living spaces being separate from working spaces."

Some companies have closely integrated living and working. Foxconn is one such company.

(some have suggested that Foxconn employee depression problems may be partly due to the employees living away from their friends and families, often at a considerable distance)

Naughty Dog?

The video game studio "Naughty Dog" has office there.

Isolation and centralization is useful for the corporation; they have more control over physical security, can manage it so employees tend to interact only with other employees, and it costs a lot less to have space for 12,000 employees off the interstate than to have them downtown (if Silicon Valley towns even have "downtowns;" I know far-flung Miami exurbs usually don't.)

Palo Alto and Mountain View have real places; the rest is pretty much all miserable sprawl. I miss working in downtown Palo Alto.

Cupertino "downtown" is a joke (I used to work there)... it's basically the intersection of two large streets (Stevens Creek at De Anza).

Likewise Sunnyvale and Santa Clara are quite anemic, but Los Gatos, Saratoga and even Los Altos aren't bad. MV and PA are great places to dine.

Cupertino is the only town I've worked in that never had a downtown.

Cupertino did have a downtown along Stevens Creek and De Anza, but the area changed significantly in the 1950s and 60s when streets were widened and DeAnza College was built. Cupertino certainly doesn't have much of a downtown now.

Santa Clara has a downtown?

Sunnyvale didn't really until they started building a clone of Santana Row that went belly up with the housing crash. Well I guess Historic Murphy Avenue sort of counted.

Apple should just make an underground Cupertino downtown at that site.

As a former Apple employee I cannot disagree more. Everyone at the mothership needs more sunlight, not less.

I can't even remember how many days I got to work when the sun was coming up and left as it was setting, or after it set. It was like a perpetual winter.

Well, that's probably why this building is made with glass all over. Sunlight for everyone.

San Mateo and Burlingame aren't too bad, and San Carlos has a surprisingly good downtown.

Oh, I wasn't thinking of places that far north as part of Silicon Valley. Didn't mean to exclude them.

That's sad to hear. I really love living in a Place.

I just think it's interesting that this building is the 180 degree total opposite of what Jobs built at Pixar HQ.

large parts of the us are still quite spoilt in terms of available land resources. in order to preserve the beautiful landscape of california it would be more reasonable to build more densly populated office areas. apple is just doing that, by increasing employee numbers to 12000 (or close to that). yet it´s a far cry compared to the density we deal with in the greater zurich area, let alone some asian cities.

A bit of Silly Valley lore: Go graph "Company builds a new campus" against "Company stock falls like a rock."

Atari, 1983.

Apple, 1991.

Sun (both times, I forget the years).

SGI, 1990s.

Various other companies (I forget which, it's been a while). It's like the hubris builds up to the point where the company is in a natural position to say, "Hey, we need a new campus," and the Gods decide that a little humiliation is in order as well . . .

The causation goes the other way around though. Companies with precipitous stock drops are virtually always ones that had rapid growth leading up to the fall. Companies experiencing rapid growth generally need more space, and are more likely to "build a new campus" as a way to get that space.

Steve Blank has wrote about "Curse of a new building" http://steveblank.com/2009/05/15/supermac-war-story-11-the-c...

Is Seattle different? Amazon 2011?

Does Microsoft's 20-year-long campus expansion count?

What about all the other companies that built new campuses and their stock didn't fall?

Correlation does not imply causation.

Also: Borland, mid-1990s.

VMware, 2007-2008ish

I don't know, I worked in a campus with a huge courtyard in the middle, though smaller than this, and it was mostly wasted unused space. I think it actually makes different parts of the company feel more isolated from each other because the other side of the building is so far way, the middle almost feels like an intimidating wilderness that you stay away from. If instead you have multiple smaller buildings connected by meandering paths it gives a campus a friendlier feeling.

I suspect the middle courtyard will have a lot of features not shown in the design, including meandering pathways, benches and lawns for laptop jockeys, full wifi coverage, and maybe even an outdoor cafe (or two, or three).

It's the job of a landscape architect to create an environment that is both inviting for those walking outside, and serene for those looking out the window. Somehow I doubt they'll screw it up. (Even if they did, it's comparatively cheap to fix compared to bad architecture.)

With so many employees, I suspect it will be very well utilised, particularly on warm sunny days.

I second this, don't forget Jobs' experience with "creative" spaces like the offices of Pixar.

It reminds me of the Pentagon, which has the same sort of stuff along with food vendors. It was pretty busy at lunch time and seemed to be a popular place to have a walk and talk meeting.

And the worlds most dangerous hot dog stand. (torn down in 2006 IIRC)

I've worked as a contractor at apple and that interior courtyard can't be reached without having a working badge. Outsiders have to get a temp badge and be escorted.

When you're inside, everyone you encounter will be an Apple employee or contractor and not random people off the street. Which could be a problem for Apple, because there are tons of tourists that come by to have their picture taken. You really don't want these people bugging your employees.

And the cafe is completely open to the courtyard with no badging. You can't have an open campus and have the cafe open to the outside without a controlled outdoor space.

And it adds to the whole idea that this is an exclusive group of people. Which I always felt working there as a contractor. You're in but you're not as in as other people. I'm sure this is a very deliberate thing and it does work on many people.

Anyway, I've always wanted a house where you be in nature but be just as secure as you are in your house. I was in one house where the interior courtyard had trees and all the walls were glass inside. It was awesome. Sleeping outside would be just as safe as sleeping inside, except for the stray ninja attacks, of course.

The only location on the main campus that I think the general public is allowed into without a badge is the company store at IL1, although if you go inside you quickly realize that there is no way into the rest of the IL complex from there. Gives you an interesting perspective on the mentality of how Apple wants to interact with the public.

I, too, worked as a contractor at Apple for a while and it was a little depressing how few people actually used the interior courtyard. Occasionally I would have my coffee out there to enjoy the sunshine, take some notes and people watch, but mostly it was an empty space that collected dead leaves and dust. My impression of the cafes in every building is that they were slightly subsidized to encourage employees to take their coffee break without leaving (which has the added benefit of avoiding potential leaks). Every aspect of life at Apple is highly controlled (to a degree, some areas less than others), so it isn't surprising that this extends to the cafeterias, stores, cafes, parking and even the printers.

Apple style - one monolithic building designed down to the square foot.

Google style - a motley assortment of buildings spread out over a large campus, some of which are better than others.

Has Apple found a way to make the sun shine from the North? Otherwise I think there will be rooms that are better than others in the round spaceship, too.

Maybe there's "One more thing…" about it, and the whole thing rotates.

You know, I wouldn't be entirely surprised, either.

Or maybe some giant half-silvered mirrors north of the building, facing south, which only come out of their underground silos around noon +/- 4 hours.

On the other hand: no privileged corner offices.

No, but the building's thick enough that there will be three types of offices: outside, inside and no-windows-at-all.

Who knows what the internal architecture is but it's possible they have natural lighting columns throughout the building.

As the sun wanders across the sky throughout the day and year, every office will have some time spent in direct sun and other times in the shade. I'd probably choose the south side if I could so I could get extra sun in the winter.

I used to have a desk next to a window. Me, and many others taped up newspapers to block the infernal glaring light.

"The Daystar!" hisssss

"It burns us!"

Meh, i just use a screen filter.

And enjoy my view.

I have a bunch of friends at Apple. What you call Google's style is exactly what Apple's style is today, and it sucks. The best amenities are in 1 Infinite Loop, but employees in different groups are in random buildings all around Cupertino. Among other things, it means people end up walking 15-20 minutes just to meet coworkers for lunch.

Ypu're reaching. Didn't Jobs say at the beginning that Apple is currently in "a motley assortment of buildings spread out over a large campus, some of which are better than others."

I have to ask - what is Microsoft style?

Edit: Disclosure, I have been to Microsoft's campus, but I just couldn't help but ask this question. :)

Microsoft's Redmond campus is pleasant, collegial, and consists of nondescript corporate buildings of varying design connected by wooded pathways and large lawns. Actually a really nice place to work.

The campus has grown so much, however, that it has sprawled over several wide/ugly/pedestrian-unfriendly suburban roads in the process; there is substantially less greenery today than even a few years ago.

I worked in one of the main campus buildings that's been there for a while (Bldg 25) over the summer and walked to work every day. That is, hands down, one of the most pleasant walks I've had the joy of taking. I absolutely love the Microsoft main campus and think their design blends in perfectly. I'm not sure how to describe it but it just has this Seattle feel that makes the buildings seem very harmonious with the lush greenery of Seattle. If I had the chance, I'd probably pick that area over almost any other in the country to walk.

In case you can't tell, I've been back in Chicago for a year now and the weather is absolutely killing me.

Chicago winters are where you come to atone for your transient enjoyment of other cities.

I like the style of Epic Systems in Verona, WI. They have separate buildings connected by underground tunnels with geothermal heating/cooling for all of the buildings. Recently they started putting in solar and are working to increase that to the point of covering their energy needs. Parking is almost all underground with the ground around their campus designated as farmland so that nobody can build on it; they do run a farm on the land as well which I believe helps supply their cafeteria.

Every conference room has a theme and they allow self-guided tours. My favorite conference room is one where half of the room opens up to a pond that has a wooden walk way around it and a waterfall.



Same as Google style I guess (though I think Microsoft buildings are quite uniform and almost all look the same)

I felt differently when I visited. If anything, they at least show a progression over the general phases of the campus. Buildings 1-9 are very similar, as are the triangle buildings 16-18. A lot of the newer buildings (ie the 'Studios') are almost exactly the same. There are a few other buildings on campus (late 20's or 3*?) that show a similar architecture to the studios. But then, there is 'Red West' which is its own little mini campus in terms of design.

The reason I asked was because I wanted to see Microsoft categorized in such an easy and quick manner as Google/Apple. I must admit that I myself can't do that.

Microsoft NY is exactly like Dilbert's offices.

Google style is SGI's old campus - and the rest of that whole office park, essentially. You can walk around the streets, and some of the manhole covers have GOOGLE molded into them.

The project looks like a literal approach to the walled garden idea.

Your comment wins for entertainment value. :)

I find it extremely interesting that they'll be using natural gas as their primary energy source for the campus and using the electrical grid as their backup. Is this really cost effective? Are many businesses doing this?

If you have a supply of Natural Gas: it's probably not the cheapest way to get power, but apparently they're working on a whole passive solar thing, so they might not need much for HVAC. It might be a good thing from a power availability standpoint. California is prone to earthquakes and a computer design office without power is pretty much a closed office.

I kind of assumed they would be using the cutting-edge Bloomenergy Boxes.

Fuels: Natural Gas, Directed Biogas

Input fuel pressure: 15 psig

Electrical efficiency (LHV net AC): > 50%



Isn't the electrical grid down there a bit undersized, and in need of improvement anyway? I'm in Vancouver, BC, so I don't know for sure, but I keep seeing news stories about rolling blackouts fairly often.

If that's the case, then it seems to me that relying on something other than the grid would be a smart move.

The last time we had rolling blackouts was 10 years ago, 2001. They occurred on seven days. Enron played a role. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis for a reasonably good accounting.

The power goes out a couple of times a summer, at least on the west (?) side of De Anza; the grid down there is very bad, and on more than one occasion, during a product launch or very close to, the transformer under the gas station (!) would blow (!) and we'd all have to pack up and head to campus to camp out in a conference room. Good times. Oh wait, no, the other thing. Bad times.

One of the benefit you get is that you don't lose ~7% from transmission/distribution. The other is that it burns cleaner than coal (but isn't as clean as Nuclear, or renewable as solar/wind/blah)

Beyond that, the cost comes down to availability. There are parts of the world where every single house has a natural gas line for heating (water and air). I've heard that in Japan, small/clean/quiet (relatively) generators are installed in some apartments and provide electricity.

This article has some information on natural gas usage in California. It seems like most of it come from out of state (or country): http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/puc/energy/gas/natgasandca.htm

I wonder if it is that bloom energy system...

Syracuse University recently did this for their campus data center: http://www.progressiveengineer.com/features/Orange-Goes-Gree...

That council is so embarrassing.

Seriously the questions they asked were just ridiculous.

I thought the same way. Not only the Wifi but also the question about safety. Is it just me or is there a strict state/federal building code for that kinda thing? And mentioning a cement plant? Apple isn't dumb if they hire top architects that's something they'd have realized. They really acted like clowns if you ask me...

The point is to have someone make a statement, on record, that they take responsibility for the issue.

Don't they have to either way?

That interchange about free Wi-Fi (13:15) was really awkward.

and you can see Steve feeling sorry for them when he just looks back to his papers after a stupid question :)

I was surprised to see Lloyd as their council president.

For a fanboy he did a good job.

Just for perspective:

Proposed Appleplex: 1.4 mil sq ft (?), 12-13k employees

Pentagon: 6.5 mil sq ft (3.7 mil for offices), 26k employees

Empire State Building: 2.8 mil sq ft, 21k (?) employees

Now I'm curious -- what's in the other 2.8 million square feet of the Pentagon?

In part, too many restrooms. They have twice as many as they need as they original built segregated rooms for blacks and whites.


Hallways, conference rooms, shops (there is a small mall in the Pentagon), more hallways, bunkers, monuments / military museums, and a bunch of other general use areas.

It's important to keep in mind that when the Pentagon was built, a computer was a person who did calculations and documents were sent to the secretarial pool to be typed; so the number and roles of its occupants were quite different. The space has been re-purposed over the past 70 years.

It's a very interesting building. You can tell that it was made with a focus on people walking from place to place. I think there are tours open to the public (but require a reservation). I'm pretty sure it's the only tour in the U.S. that features a Marine walking backwards for over a mile. I think there are over 15 miles of hallways in the Pentagon. There are 5 levels with 5 rings each, so you can imagine that's a lot of places to walk.

One of the things that isn't so nice now is the anti-radiation film that got placed on the windows after 9/11. The film is bright yellow, so everything that sunlight touches has kind of a gross pee colored tinge to it.

The Pentegon is not under market pressure to be efficient or turn a profit. They don't even get audited.

> The Pentegon [sic; Pentagon] is not under market pressure to be efficient or turn a profit. They don't even get audited.

The GAO [1] does something close to auditing - although the Pentagon's financial statements aren't in the kind of shape that they even can be audited (something the GAO and DOD are working on). [2]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_Accountability_Offic...

[2] http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20100930/DEPARTMENTS01/9...

Heck, the Omaha Fire Department's books can't be audited either.


and I applaud your use of bracketed numbers, even if they are not blue. http://xkcd.com/906/

One thing I cringed at in Jobs' presentation was framing the 4-story high design as "human scale". The Empire State Building is also human scale.

Human Scale has a different meaning in art and architecture than it does in scientific fields. In architecture, it simply means that the building is designed to fit well with the human senses.

Wikipedia has more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_scale

It means that the building doesn't overwhelm you. Like the buildings in Paris for example.

I assume you exclude the buildings at La Défense?

Yes, absolutely.

I find, for example, the Grand Arche uplifting. Tagging an architecture as not "human scale" seems to me an attempt to pit it against human aspirations.

Watching this presentation makes me think of how important it is to stick to your values across everything you are doing. The building Steve jobs presented has some of the same design principles found in the recent apple products; roundness, simplicity, clean neutral colors, environmental friendly, etc. I think this gives apple great appeal.

But he also calls it 'human scale', while in the pictures the building looks huge: it's a kind of hollow frisbee, pentagon-style.

Maybe it's because I'm from a small country, we don't have skyscrapers here ;-)

It's 4 stories high. Not a skyscraper, by any means. I'd bet the council would be a little touchy if it were any higher than that.

Yeah, people have houses that are 4 stories high. No big deal here, although I'm not sure how big the houses are out in Cupertino.

I, too, found myself watching the proceedings for longer than I should have. The design is elegant and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out. Ironically, the most amazing thing about the video is seeing a modern icon in such a quotidian scenario.

This isn't the first time he's presented to the council, I remember a previous show he put on that was also on YouTube, over 5 years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meVQqYNGzYA

I've heard that he's been known to sit and watch council meetings when they've been discussing issues relevant to Apple... Just to remind them to keep Apple's interests in mind.

When I saw the photos, I figured that the building's circumference would be so wide that curved glass would not just be unnecessary, but almost counter-productive, as it's difficult to curve glass without imperfections that might ruin its reflections.

Surely we'd be talking about small fractions of a degree per pane.

Can anyone estimate what the building circumference is, and therefore what amount of curve would be called for?

Just looking at the proposed plans and comparing to Google Maps, I'd give a rough guestimate of 1100 ft for the building's diameter. So, that's about 3450 ft in circumference. That means a single degree of arc would cover about 960 ft. If each pane of glass were 10x48 and flat (as long as the building is tall), then they would form a 7200-sided polygon, and the angle between them would be 179.95 degrees, or a deflection of 0.05 degrees. So, while they claim a curved window, you wouldn't notice if it was flat. Unless, of course, my math is horribly misguided.

Edit: well somebody didn't like that. Anyway, I can't speak for the math, but my source for the diameter guestimate: The building site shown at [1], and the same site on Google maps [2]. Notice the scale in the bottom, showing 1000 ft. The building plan appears slightly larger than that, so that's where I got my estimate.

[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtuz5OmOh_M&feature=playe...

[2] http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&...

How do you get a 7200 sided polygon from a 3450 ft circumference? That would be 6 inch wide windows. Steve mentioned them having a process to create the largest pieces of glass in the world... which look to be on the order of 10+ ft wide. That would mean at most 360 panes of glass, each turning a full degree.

Maybe it's not easily perceptible, but how much do you wanna bet they mocked it up and Steve was like "Yeah, you can tell the difference. It just doesn't feel right."

See, I knew the math was wrong... thanks for pointing that out.

Based on the presentation and the handy ruler in Google maps, I'd estimate it to be about 400 meters in diameter. So around 1250 meters circumference. The curve is the same as the arc, so with 60 panes of glass about 21 meters long there's a six degree curve per pane.

Maybe all the rumors about curved glass weren't for the iPhone 5 but for the new building windows :)


I understand that Apple is a very important company to Cupertino, but I've never need a city counsel so lovestruck at a meeting. They should just give him a rubber stamp for whatever he wants to do.

I'm pretty sure any business offering to expand facilities, add thousands of jobs, and increase tax base by a lot while staying inside city limits would have the same kind of rapt attention.

Yup, most cities have people on staff that simply beg companies to move to their area. I'd be shock if Cupertino wasn't giving a few carrots to Apple..

Beg? Most {cities, counties, states} throw the bank at companies to get them to move a couple miles.

Read the "economic development" stories on this blog (http://globalmidwest.typepad.com/global-midwest/) if you're ever in the mood to throw up in your mouth.

Au contraire, Steve had his share of nasty events dealing with bureaucracy, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackling_House .

Sounds like UOH and the court were against it, not the council.

Also it's not in Cupertino. Woodside can easily afford to lose Steve Jobs, but Cupertino can't.

I thought the question about traffic was good - there will be congestion, with so many people gather in one place.

I'm surprised that Jobs attended - the project must be very important to him personally, and he didn't want the slightest risk of it being derailed.

You are wrong. Previously the place was used by HW, with some 9k employes. There will only be a 3k increase in number of workers, which as jobs said is about 20% more people.

Sure, 20% is noticeable, but one should analyse the roads and connections to the campus to know how noticeable will those 20% more traffic be.

You say I'm wrong, then you admit 20% is noticeable and there may be congestion, and it's worth checking out. What kind of "wrong" is that?

From 9k to 12k is a 33% increase. If we take the actual figure Jobs gave for comfort - 13k - it is an increase of 44%.

I apologize for the misleading reply.

Let's correct the numbers. Today there are 9.5k employees, in the future up to 13k. That is a 37% increase (according to the video at 9:20 its 40% ). Then at 16:37 Jobs claims that they will only be increasing the employment by 20%.

He also speaks at some point (towards the end) about a series of buses used to transport workers. Hence the increase in use of private transportation will probably not be at around 40%, but probably around 20%. (Buses do cause some traffic, but much less that cars).

Because this is a very large project I am pretty sure they have thought about the traffic issues, and wouldn't insist on building there if there would produce too much new traffic. Also the council would object to the idea if it would cause much traffic congestion.

Hence, I said that you are wrong about there being congestion due to the new influx of workers. If the 20% figure is correct and that they have thought about possible traffic issues, then there might not be a significant increase in congestion. However it will probably be noticeable. (Notice the difference between _noticeable_ and _significant_).

I live in Eastern Europe, and have very limited knowledge of the the transportation routes in Cupertino. I would very much enjoy the opinion of someone knowledgeable.

Thanks. I still think it's a good question (especially relative to the other questions). I wouldn't be surprised if there's some congestion already - it's not like the traffic is starting at zero. Thanks for clarifying the numbers.

> Also the council would object to the idea if it would cause much traffic congestion

The thing is, they're not up to that stage yet. They haven't even seen the plans. The question that guy asked was objecting to the idea, to the extent possible at this early stage.

BTW: When starting off replies with "You are wrong", it's best to be sure that (a) it is an issue that one can be clearly right or wrong about (e.g. arithmetic); and (b) you are correct. In fact, given (a) and (b), it is better to not even say that, and shorten it to simply present the correct answer: http://ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

They should have asked when the iPhone 5 is coming out

Plus: very sneaky for the council to ask for free wifi, ipads, more apple stores, donations for schools in this presentation...

An architect friend of mine commented: "they always ask for free wifi".

He also said that it's amazing salesmanship on Steve Jobs' part to have pitched this and basically given nothing to the council. Most councils manage to squeeze all sorts of concessions from even large multinationals (e.g. banks in the UK). Steve gave them, basically, nothing - not even free wifi.

If they'd been more savvy they could probably have had their free wifi and Apple store - it's cheaper to Apple than relocating 10k employees to another city and drawing all the plans again from scratch. Steve may be known for holding grudges, but he's also a relatively rational businessman.

If they'd been more savvy they could probably have had their free wifi and Apple store - it's cheaper to Apple than relocating 10k employees to another city and drawing all the plans again from scratch. Steve may be known for holding grudges, but he's also a relatively rational businessman.

Yes and no. You don't necessarily want to play chicken with Steve Jobs' ego. Cupertino is lucky to have Apple -- Cupertino knows it, and Apple knows it. If they start giving him a hard time getting his building approved then he's not going to knock down Infinite Loop, but he could well start entertaining offers from neighbouring cities which would no doubt fall over themselves to get the second Appleplex.

Speaking of his ego. He must be pissed that he couldn't get that small patch of real estate in the lower left corner. The neighbours have made a powerful enemy ;]

If you take a closer look at the area, you can see they'll actually houses rather than office parks. They actually appear impressively dense by California standards. It's a lot harder to buy people's houses than a corporation's floors.

It's the Hamptons Apartment complex. I currently live here.

Ooh, looking forward to your backyard becoming an enormous donut-shaped construction site?

Hopefully he owns his apartment, and is looking forward to the value of his house tripling...

You're right (well they look like pretty nice apartment complexes) Streetview: http://goo.gl/3Qdhs

Property prices just went waaay up there. Cash in and sell/lease to Apple employees, I'd imagine.

Not to mention the new apricot trees.

Sneaky? It was slimy if you ask me. Their job is to represent the best interest of community. Building this campus may indeed be in the best interest of community. But there is no need for them to wag their tails and squeal at Jobs like they did.

The guy on the left at managed to pretended that he knows why he is there.

But I must admit that I have no clue how I would react after having mind blown like that.

Nothing sneaky, they're very open about their extortion racket.

The scene played out like something from The Fountainhead.

Could have been worse. They could have requested hookers and blow. And donations wired to an offshore account :-)

Is it just me who shuddered every time when council leaders asked those completely off-topic idiotic questions? Free wifi, really?

Really, really nice looking building and landscaping.

Why keep the IL1 campus, instead of just moving everybody into a slightly larger mothership in 2015?

I suspect it would make a pretty awesome skunkworks, hidden away from the glitz of the new main campus.

Sounds like they still need the space. 20% Increase with 13000 current employees. IL1 will be needed to house everyone.

They haven't built the new one yet; they could always make it bigger. Even simply thickening it would likely add a ton of space.

It would also darken the building and require more artificial light, which it seems they're trying to avoid.

They could always use skylight tubes [1]

Or, if they really wanted to go green... [2]

[1] http://www.solatube.com/commercial/index.php

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zMAWztZ6TI

Just because they've got money to burn doesn't mean they want to burn money. They own Infinite Loop, and they'd have a hard time finding a buyer.

Besides, moving everybody in the entire company into a new building sounds like a major pain and a disruption to operations.

That is what Amazon did last year, on a rolling basis as leases expired.

It reminds me somewhat of the Borland campus. That thing was Japanese inspired, and shaped like a kind of jagged C, but similarly had a large central courtyard, and due to its shape had lots of natural light in the offices.

What a lesser mind would come up with given a similar breif:

"Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Cheltenham, United Kingdom"


Exactly what I thought when I saw it.

Not only will the new building become a tourist destination but it will be a prime tool for recruiting.

All the greenery and landscaping also made me wondering in what extent this new campus will be accessible to the general public. Will you be able to just go there and take a walk in Apple Park, or will there a big fence around it?

In the presentation you see casual people walking and playing about.

I expected the council to demand that he make at least part of the campus open to the public. You know, if they weren't being fangirls over Jobs.

I wonder how it is structured inside. 12,000 people still seems like a lot for that building. Does anybody know how Apple employees are typically structured? Is it offices for everybody? Open spaces with collaborative work spaces?

Typically every engineer has his own office, if space is tight some need to double up until new offices become available.

Well now you know what they've been hoarding that cash money for.

I'm sure it won't cost 60BB. Although, it would be interesting to see what the budget is.

Quite daring, to plan such a building. Who knows whether they will need the space, four years from now? With multiple buildings, it is easier to make corrections during construction or even afterwards.

Also, it will be a challenge to make that underground garage look as beautiful as the building. That is what most visitors will initially see from the building.

Finally, will this be a real click wheel or a modern version without moving parts? :-)

"Who knows whether they will need the space, four years from now?"

I think Steve and Tim know they'll need it. I think the interesting thing is not whether they'll need it, it's not like Apple is in any danger of collapsing, but that it shows they don't anticipate needing more. This fits with what we know about Apple wanting to stay lean and mean but it also makes those plans concrete (lol?).

This isn't impressive to me. What would be impressive would be building a skyscraper in downtown SF. Being environmentally friendly isn't building a massive campus on a plot of suburban grassland. Apple likes to say they think differently, but this isn't different. It's just slightly nicer than most other headquarters in a suburban wasteland.

In any other city I think this would be a more valid point. But San Francisco is tiny. A lot of people really don't grok just how geographically small the place is. An Apple move to downtown SF would be incredibly disruptive, would generate epic amounts of traffic on already extremely congested roads, would doubtless increase pollution and energy expense, and price thousands of families out of SF neighborhoods as wealthy Apple employees relocated.

I also think it's a bit unfair to judge the new Apple campus on a scale of "worldwide innovations in green facilities". Apple has done what seems to be a very good job of greening up their existing Cupertino presence, and they are probably going to end up spending a large amount of money on an effective model for how to deploy a modern green-er corporate campus. I don't think we need to ding them for not absolutely revolutionizing the integration of corporate office space with environments.

This is a Cupertino City Council meeting, not a presentation at the UN.

I did hear the suggestion that what they should really do with their cashpile do is buy up the entire Tenderloin and knock it down for a new Apple HQ.

It sounds like you're treating an Apple building downtown differently than any other skyscraper. It's still just a big tower filled with people. Are you saying that SF is literally bursting at the seams and that it can't support another big office tower? What about the giant Transbay development plan? If you're going to stuff 12,000+ people anywhere, it's better to do it in an already dense area to take advantage of efficiencies.

Green Metropolis is an interesting read about big cities and sustainability: http://www.amazon.com/Green-Metropolis-Smaller-Driving-Susta...

Yes. That is what I am saying. That even if Apple could make the building itself as green as conceivably possible, simply moving 12,000 people's workplaces to the city of San Francisco would create additional problems and be a net negative.

If you want to call that "bursting at the seams" that's fine, but Apple isn't in a position to reengineer the whole dysfunctional city of San Francisco.

> Apple isn't in a position to reengineer the whole dysfunctional city of San Francisco.

I'm imagining what San Francisco reengineered by Apple would be like. Somewhere on the same continuum as Disneyworld and the Las Vegas strip, but with rounded edges, lots of greenery and a social order similar to Singapore.

I don't think it would make financial sense for Apple to move to SF.

I recently went to 1 infinite loop for the first time, and was extremely disappointed with the building. It was strikingly anti-apple in its aesthetic, seeming more like it was something out of Office Space from most angles rather than from the mind of Johnny Ives.

I am really glad to see how forward-thinking the concept looks.

The Infinite Loop campus was actually buit in 1993, before Steve returned and Jony was made head of ID.


Indeed, when Infinite Loop was built a Mac looked like this:


I know it was before jony, I just meant it was very different from their modern look.

I'm surprised it's only 4 stories. I would of added 3 more stories and added capacity for several more thousand employees. I can easily see them out growing the space very quickly in the next 20 years and possibly building two other circles in the empty spaces beside the circle.

Didn't he explicitly say it was an aesthetic decision? He wants it "human scale" or something like that.

Well it's either that, and having a high likelihood of spreading the company around 30 crappy buildings all around Cupertino again, or using the large fields as building spaces for new circles.

In the "Man Who Fell to the Earth", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Fell_to_Earth_(film.... the lead character is an extra terrestrial posing as a man, made a lot of money by being a technologist selling amazing "inventions" from his planet, and has a luxury apartment which turns out to be a spaceship, which is meant to cart water back to his planet, which has run out due to its use in power generation. Maybe Jobs is planning bring natural gas back to his planet?

Wow, such a beautiful campus.

And all the ugly parking lots will be underground! What a huge gain. It almost makes me want to work for Apple and move to Cupertino.

Not all, if you look at the south part of the drawing there is still an above ground parking structure :(

if i didn't enjoy free time so much i'd love to work in this new building :)

There are still orchards in Cupertino?!

Not for economic reasons. Modest houses on modest lots sell in the seven figures there. Whoever owns the land could make huge money by selling to developers, but presumably the city council has made it clear that they won't approve a zoning change. Apparently, the people there already really want there to still be orchards in Cupertino, if only as a memory of what was.

Sounds like Steve Jobs wowed the city council, but after paying some attention to SV local politics, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the community rallied against this.

He did point out a couple of times that they're the largest tax payer in Cupertino and while they wanted to stay, they've go a couple of miles up the road to the next city if they needed to. Also note the councillors asked when they'd be breaking ground so they could start taxing them on it. Apple wouldn't have to look hard to get big incentives to hop over the city boundary, and they'll keep reminding the council that they have options.

I imagine a large percentage of Cupertino residents are Apple employees or otherwise directly benefit from Apple being there. I'd think that the majority of the community would be completely happy for the biggest local company to spend a lot of money in their city, and to convert a big chunk of asphalt back in to green space.

Possibly so. I should add that I'm not saying Cupertino should prevent Apple from building.

I lived in Menlo Park for a year before moving to SF, and was struck by how anti-development the Menlo Park and Palo Alto governments (and ordinary citizens) were. Perhaps Cupertino is different.

And, this proposal is pretty damn cool. Underground parking? That's fabulous.

Neither SF residents nor the city council are known for their pro-development attitude. Beyond NIMBY is BANANA: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.

Well, fair enough, true.

My perspective is biased -- I live in the Dogpatch/Mission Bay neighborhood where there are lots of new buildings, piles of dirt, and construction cranes.

An update from overnight:

<i>The City of Cupertino has responded to Apple's stunning new campus proposal. In the statement, Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong states "there is no chance we are saying no" to the new Apple campus. Apple proposal will still have to go through an environmental and a public hearing, but Wong says they are willing to bring on more staff to accommodate the process.</i>


I'd have a back up plan for a second nearby city so that once the town councils bike-shedding begins, Steve can just shrug and say "Gee it would have been nice to build it here but..."

He kind of did that with his mention of Mountain View.

for some reason it reminds me of a Panopticon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon

Reminds me a bit of IBM's TJ Watson center in NY.

Very cool, very futuristic. That is a place I'd like to be. Importantly, they've said they have a few thousand people at 1IL currently and they're consolidating everyone together. That should benefit the communication and innovation having everyone under one roof able to get together and chat.

In short, I love it. More companies should be so bold.

When I saw that aerial three-quarter image of the building, I started to imagine crossing from one side of the campus to the other via that inner garden. Somehow the burning man city layout popped into my head, along with memories of crossing the vast open middle on foot (not recommended. Only attempted a bicycle-free year once).

What is the advantage to Apple to build in an incorporated city? I understand the need for infrastructure, but what does a tech co like Apple need other than electricity + water + gas? Wouldn't there be less regulation and taxes if they moved to unincorporated territory?

Massive corporate office buildings seem so antiquated to me. Don't people work remotely nowadays? Even when I am on-site I prefer to hold meetings over web share and phone conferences. Meetings you have to walk to never start on time. What a waste.

I bet that Jobs has had a dream about this building for a while. Finally, he gets to do it.

Wow.. reminds me of the kindergarten I used to work at (at a massive scale!) http://www.landezine.com/index.php/2009/07/fuji-kindergarten...

To quote our IT manager "So its an actual walled garden?"

in the LA Times article about the same topic, Steve Wozniak also added his own bits on the land purchased. Scroll down to the Comments section (it's via facebook).


What other companies have built beautiful office spaces like this? I count IBM and Epic systems. I hear sas has a great campus as well.

So what would be the new address? Does it mean giving up "1 Infinite Loop"? Any guesses at a replacement?

Is it bigger than the Pentagon?

It's close, depending on what you mean by size. Looking at the Pentagon diagram on wikipedia and using the above estimates of 1100-1200 feet for the Mothership, it's about comparable in diameter. I'm fairly sure the Pentagon rings are thicker, though, so that probably contributes to it's ability to house 26k (employees + support personnel) instead of Apple's 12-3k.

The Pentagon also has more height, with 4 stories above ground and at least 2 below. Don't know if Apple plans on having stories below ground, there was no mention during the presentation, but not doing so would account for more of the difference.

Apple plans to hide parking underground instead of leaving vast expanses of asphalt above ground like The Pentagon: http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=qgbkxj8kbvq8&lvl=17...

There will be an underground parking garage.

He seems so tired. Get well Steve. Beautiful building!

I wonder what the radius of that building will be.

Does anyone else get a creepy Dubai vibe reading this? Some of the statements like 'there will be no straight glass' beg the question - is it really worth it?

You mean it "raises the question."

Begging the question means something completely different: http://begthequestion.info/

Simply utopian.

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