Channeling Steve Jobs, Apple seeks design perfection at new 'spaceship' campus
By Julia Love
7 February 2017
Photo courtesy Reuters
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs last work – Apple’s sprawling new headquarters in Cupertino - will be a fitting tribute to his concern for the fine details and hidden features of his products: a futuristic campus built with astonishing attention to detail. From the arrangement of electrical wiring to the finish of a hidden pipe, no aspect of the 2.8 million-square-foot main building has been too small to attract scrutiny.
But constructing a building as flawless as a hand-held device is no easy feat, according to interviews with nearly two dozen current and former workers on the project. Since Apple unveiled its plans in 2011, the move-in date has slowly receded: Jobs' initial projection was 2015, but this spring now seems most likely, according to people involved in the project. A lengthy approval process with the city contributed to the delay.
Apple has not revealed the total price tag, but former project managers estimate it at about $5 billion - a figure CEO Tim Cook did not dispute in a 2015 TV interview. More than $1 billion was allocated for the interior of the main building alone, according to a former construction manager.
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,” explained Chair and Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Design Louise Mozingo. “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 commented. “They are creating an icon.”