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Architecture critic pans Apple's 'spaceship' campus as 'troubling,' 'scary'

post #1 of 194
Thread Starter 
A prominent architecture critic has panned Apple's plans for its new Cupertino, Calif., campus, suggesting it is a "wildly ambitious, over-the-top headquarters" out of sync with the company's beautiful and functional products.

Paul Goldberger of The New Yorker recently spoke out (via Apple 2.0) on the design of Apple's proposed new corporate campus. The massive circular structure, called a "spaceship" by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, will house some 13,000 employees after it is expected to be completed by 2015.

Goldberger, who authors the publication's "Sky Line" column, has taken issue with the building designs from acclaimed architecture firm Foster + Partners. The critic likened the concept proposed by Apple to "a gigantic donut."

"Steve Jobs, speaking to the Cupertino City Council, likened the building to a spaceship," Goldberger wrote. "But buildings aren't spaceships, any more than they are iPhones."

He then went on to call the design "troubling" and "maybe even a bit scary" because he feels the giant circular shape lacks the functionality of devices like the iPhone, iPad or MacBook lineup. He said that architecture should take into account scale, while he feels Apple's new campus does not connect to human size.

"Flexibility is a hallmark of the iPad, and it counts in architecture, too, but how much flexibility is there in a vast office governed entirely by geometry?" he asked. "For all of Foster's sleekness, this building seems more like a twenty-first-century version of the Pentagon."

The new campus was previously compared to Washington D.C.'s Pentagon, demonstrating that the 1,615-foot diameter of Apple's proposed facility is larger than the government building. The new office, dubbed "Apple Campus 2," would comprise about 2.8 million square feet, including an auditorium that would hold 1,000 people, and 300,000 square feet of new research facilities.

Jobs had a different take when he unveiled the campus in June. He said the facility and adjacent parking structure would be only four stories high to preserve the "human scale" of the campus.

The criticisms from Goldberger of The New Yorker are not alone, as the architecture critic from the Los Angeles Times said earlier this month that he sees Apple's mega-campus as lacking in vision. Christopher Hawthorne feels the campus will wrap its workers in a suburban setting, creating a "retrograde cocoon."




When Jobs introduced the proposed campus, he said that he feels his company could "have a shot at building the best office building in the world." He said Apple would leverage its experience in building eye-catching retail locations all over the world, and implement unique features like curved glass around the entire exterior of the facility.




Jobs also boasted that the plans called for the new campus to consist of 80 percent landscaping, increasing the number of trees on the property from 3,700 to 6,000. Apple also plans to supply its own power to the facility, using the city grid as a backup.

The new corporate campus must go through a number of government approvals before work can progress, but Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong has said that he feels certain the project will be approved.
post #2 of 194
And why should anyone care what this idiot "Architecture Critic" has to say about anything?? You guys on this site need to do a reality check. People like this bring NOTHING to the party. What has he created? What has he built from scratch? Who has he employees?

NOTHING, NOTHING and NOBODY!

This is still America. How many of you have bothered picking up a copy of our constitution and read it? If you haven't please do so. If Apple decides it wants to build a freaking space ship and put the first store on Mars.... IT'S THEIR MONEY.... they can do whatever in the heck they want to with it. It's not the shareholders.... it's the company's. The CEO, board and shareholders all have input... but not some loser moron of an "Architecture Critic"..... What a freaking joke.
post #3 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

A prominent architecture critic has panned Apple's plans for its new Cupertino, Calif., campus, suggesting it is a "wildly ambitious, over-the-top headquarters" out of sync with the company's beautiful and functional products. ...

I can't even find his exact criticisms even after reading the source article.

His only argument seems to be that it "lacks human scale" and then throws in some vague references to the pentagon. That's just a crap criticism given the information we have (almost none).
post #4 of 194
Feeding trolls today AppleInsider?
post #5 of 194
How big is the "adjacent structure" to park the cars for 13,000 employees?
post #6 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by delete View Post

How big is the "adjacent structure" to park the cars for 13,000 employees?

Parking is going to be underground, I believe.
I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow doesn't look good either.  
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post #7 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I can't even find his exact criticisms even after reading the source article.

His only argument seems to be that it "lacks human scale" and then throws in some vague references to the pentagon. That's just a crap criticism given the information we have (almost none).

The main concern seems to be with cars... always cars... with no mention about how you get the employees to the campus. I think these critics want us to go back to the old company town model... build the office and then place company controlled multi story housing all around with company controlled shops on the main floors.

I just wish they'd give examples instead of just criticism. Criticism without solutions is just idiotic to me.
Hmmmmmm...
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Hmmmmmm...
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post #8 of 194
1) No one will buy the iPhone. it doesn't have a keyboard.

2) No one will buy the iPod. No wireless. Less space than a Creative Nomad. Lame.

3) No one will buy the iPad. it's jut a big iPod Touch.

4) Apple retail stores will fail.

5) Architecture critic pans Apple's 'spaceship' campus as 'troubling,' 'scary'

See a pattern?

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post #9 of 194
I believe there is a couple of storeys of underground parking underneath the main building as well as the separate parking lot. Should be sufficient as I'm sure a good chunk of people would use local public transport links?
post #10 of 194
Unique, modern buildings always attract a lot of criticism. I'd be concerned if it didn't have it's detractors. I think it's a brilliant idea.
Still looking for a witty comment to put here.
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Still looking for a witty comment to put here.
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post #11 of 194
Those who can... do

Those who can't... teach

Those who can do neither... become critics

But there will always be critics, and I'm certainly not qualified to comment on architectural matters, but I seriously think Apple and Jobs won't lose any sleep worrying about what some critic has to say about the new headquarters building.
post #12 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zaphodsplanet View Post

And why should anyone care what this idiot "Architecture Critic" has to say about anything?? You guys on this site need to do a reality check. People like this bring NOTHING to the party. What has he created? What has he built from scratch? Who has he employees?

NOTHING, NOTHING and NOBODY!

This is still America. How many of you have bothered picking up a copy of our constitution and read it? If you haven't please do so. If Apple decides it wants to build a freaking space ship and put the first store on Mars.... IT'S THEIR MONEY.... they can do whatever in the heck they want to with it. It's not the shareholders.... it's the company's. The CEO, board and shareholders all have input... but not some loser moron of an "Architecture Critic"..... What a freaking joke.

Defensive much? Often critics raise valid and interesting points. Architecture is a broad subject and I see nothing worn with critics voicing their opinion here. Ambitious projects like this are often controversial. And I don't see what this has to do with it being America, and whether it is Apple's money or not. In fact, I really don't know why you are so upset about this.
post #13 of 194
Funny thing about critics is that rarely can they "do", but they can "comment". They are ultimately creatives who's own creativity failed, thus all they can do is talk about others. Sad. And time proves most art critiques wrong.
post #14 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Those who can... do

Those who can't... teach

Those who can do neither... become critics

But there will always be critics, and I'm certainly not qualified to comment on architectural matters, but I seriously think Apple and Jobs won't lose any sleep worrying about what some critic has to say about the new headquarters building.

According to Woody Allen those who can't teach teach gym.
post #15 of 194
Architects design the future, critics crap on it.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #16 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

His only argument seems to be that it "lacks human scale"

It sounds like someone who needs to fill column inches to either get paid or justify his position, and it's cowardly and lazy journalism/criticism to merely take a contrary stance for the sake of it or criticise something, anything for the sake of appearing objective, exciting, daring or 'radical'.

Just wait for next tuesday for all the snippy 'well, it's not 4G' comments (assuming it's not actually 4G...).

And 'troubling, scary'? What?!?
post #17 of 194
de ja vu?

Isn't this story like 2 months old? Or is this some new critic? I swear I've seen this before...

... or is this some other architectural critic making practically identical vague criticisms?
post #18 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by haydn! View Post

I believe there is a couple of storeys of underground parking underneath the main building as well as the separate parking lot. Should be sufficient as I'm sure a good chunk of people would use local public transport links?

The problem is that Cupertino doesn't have access to good public transportation. The only thing available is the county bus system, VTA, but that's too slow.

It's miles away from the two main rail services: Caltrain and VTA Light Rail.
post #19 of 194
This guy's commentary is so empty and superficial. Almost sounds like he's complaining out of jealousy or something of that sort. Like possibly he submitted his design idea to Apple and they rejected it without any consideration and he's annoyed, out of jealousy, at what Apple selected. Moron.
post #20 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by delete View Post

How big is the "adjacent structure" to park the cars for 13,000 employees?

I believe there is an adjacent structure for additional parking next to I-280, but the primary parking will be under the spaceship itself.
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #21 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I believe there is an adjacent structure for additional parking next to I-295, but the primary parking will be under the spaceship itself.

There's something odd about placing the words parking and spaceship in the same sentence.
Hmmmmmm...
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Hmmmmmm...
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post #22 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

those who can... Do

those who can't... Teach

those who can do neither... Become critics

but there will always be critics, and i'm certainly not qualified to comment on architectural matters, but i seriously think apple and jobs won't lose any sleep worrying about what some critic has to say about the new headquarters building.

nice !!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #23 of 194
It looks like the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, England. Same architect. Same design oriented client. They just turned the semi-circle into a full circle.
post #24 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I believe there is an adjacent structure for additional parking next to I-295, but the primary parking will be under the spaceship itself.

Apple could also be gearing up their own production facilities. Now wouldn't that be a kick in the head for all of the nay-sayers. Apple products designed and produced in the good ole USA.
post #25 of 194
I think the current "Infinite Loop" campus has some of the best=looking buildings around...

I don't like this new "Circle-style" campus plan either...
post #26 of 194
What the hell... this is beyond FUD..... If I was a betting man I think Jobs will pull it off and get worldwide acclaim when it's done.... who in the outside world would even care what an architectural critic opinion might be.... it's only his and if he doesn't like the design who gives a shit!!!
post #27 of 194
This Guy seems to have outlined the main issues with it here http://andrewlainton.wordpress.com/2...t-work-as-one/

Basically Apple products are designed to get the job done efficiently and simply to get the job done. Although the building appears simple, for the people that work there it makes things more difficult.

At Uni we have a building that is very simple but you have no idea where in it you are because everywhere looks the same. I feel this is the issue this building will have.

Also for the future, if Apple declines its not like they can demolish one building to scale down, as its just one building. As well as this there is no logical way to extend - they are already talking about the campus they will build after this. It is not flexible.

I was initially excited about this building, but after looking in more detail, it is awful!
post #28 of 194
I am going to play a critic for a minute and I'm going to critique Paul Goldberger's style.



One first notices that he's bald. He really needs to lose whatever hair he has left on the left and right side above his ears. It is not a modern style at all and sporting something that makes somebody look old is reminiscent of an outdated sense of fashion and it is no longer appropriate in this current century. I find this most troubling, and not to mention, a little bit scary.

For perfect symmetry to be achieved, he needs to go with the clean look and shave everything off. That would produce much smoother, cleaner and purer lines and it would also be more harmonious with his surroundings and with nature. His current style is quite similar to what a 16 century monk would sport on their heads. It is simply put, not aesthetically pleasing and I find it to be a follicle disaster of enormous proportions.
post #29 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

There's something odd about placing the words parking and spaceship in the same sentence.

Well then let's rename cars to shuttlecrafts and iOS to LCARS.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post

Apple could also be gearing up their own production facilities. Now wouldn't that be a kick in the head for all of the nay-sayers. Apple products designed and produced in the good ole USA.

JobsConn. An automated facilite run by Steve Jobs brain once it's uploaded to the iCloud in the technological singularity.
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post #30 of 194
Who the fxck cares what some New Yorker architecture critic thinks? Has this guy ever been to Cupertino?

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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post #31 of 194
...A prominent attention whore has panned ...
post #32 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by apple ][ View Post

i am going to play a critic for a minute and i'm going to critique paul goldberger's style.



one first notices that he's bald. He really needs to lose whatever hair he has left on the left and right side above his ears. It is not a modern style at all and sporting something that makes somebody look old is reminiscent of an outdated sense of fashion and it is no longer appropriate in this current century. I find this most troubling, and not to mention, a little bit scary.

For perfect symmetry to be achieved, he needs to go with the clean look and shave everything off. That would produce much smoother, cleaner and purer lines and it would also be more harmonious with his surroundings and with nature. His current style is quite similar to what a 16 century monk would sport on their heads. It is simply put, not aesthetically pleasing and i find it to be a follicle disaster of enormous proportions.

rofl :d

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post #33 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I am going to play a critic for a minute and I'm going to critique Paul Goldberger's style.



One first notices that he's bald. He really needs to lose whatever hair he has left on the left and right side above his ears. It is not a modern style at all and sporting something that makes somebody look old is reminiscent of an outdated sense of fashion and it is no longer appropriate in this current century. I find this most troubling, and not to mention, a little bit scary.

For perfect symmetry to be achieved, he needs to go with the clean look and shave everything off. That would produce much smoother, cleaner and purer lines and it would also be more harmonious with his surroundings and with nature. His current style is quite similar to what a 16 century monk would sport on their heads. It is simply put, not aesthetically pleasing and I find it to be a follicle disaster of enormous proportions.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
post #34 of 194
There's a critic for everything out there. This architect really lacks that vision that Steve has. The building design is timeless, like Apple products. Even in 20, 30 years it will fit in.

I see this crazy pattern in modern architecture, where architects are so full of themselves that they try to put a forest on top of a building and call it a masterpiece. Yes this kind of "crazy" thinking fits in with "green" style of modern days, but in 500, 1,000 years people only gonna look back and think how stupid humanity was with trees on top of buildings. It's just a gimmick with no real use, vision or functionality to urban landscape. This is just an example.
Apple had me at scrolling
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Apple had me at scrolling
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post #35 of 194
Idiots like him remind me of those same critics that panned the design of the Transamerica Building (The "pyramid") in San Francisco when they initially approved the design of it. My oh my the ruckus that it created back in the day.

Now, that same building panned by the critics is what makes San Francisco such a unique skyline.

The same thing that happened to those critics back then will happen to Mr. Goldberger after this building is finished. He will join the rest of the pack into the back corner of a dark room and hope no one approaches to call him out.
post #36 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by brent View Post

Unique, modern buildings always attract a lot of criticism.

I agree. However, this building is not unique and it's certainly not modern. At least not in the sense I assume you meant "modern" (i.e. current). Not by a LONG shot. It's aesthetic is more closely aligned with the failed utopian visions of the early modernists like Le Corbusier from 100 year ago.
post #37 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by iVlad View Post

There's a critic for everything out there. This architect really lacks that vision that Steve has.

OMFG. Seriously? Look, Steve Jobs has created some amazing products but for pete's sake... he's not an architect. Nor should he try to be one. He should stick with what he knows. This building is a disaster.
post #38 of 194
Goldbeger has even more credentials than Hawthorne.

I think you'd have to have read every article that he's written since the early 80s to understand his thinking on architecture.

Regardless, I still believe that every article should be a stand alone piece that you can pick up and read and know the direction the critic envisions. Hell, a smart guy like Goldberger should be able to knock out some of the fluff in this piece and add a paragraph or two explaining what he'd do in Cupertino.
Hmmmmmm...
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Hmmmmmm...
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post #39 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

Defensive much? Often critics raise valid and interesting points. Architecture is a broad subject and I see nothing worn with critics voicing their opinion here. Ambitious projects like this are often controversial. And I don't see what this has to do with it being America, and whether it is Apple's money or not. In fact, I really don't know why you are so upset about this.

I am not sure what he is upset about either. I would like to know if you believe this critic raised valid concerns. If he did, what were they? I read it twice now and can't find any.
post #40 of 194
I can cite two local examples of how he's misguided. Mostly he's looking at it from the air.

The old Union Carbide campus (now Dow) in western CT is a good example. From the air you would cringe. A bionic caterpillar. Driving into it, parking below it, and being inside of it, you emerge into an office that looks out on the surrounding landscape and has a very nice feel. The building is virtually invisible to the outside world, being encompassed by trees. The Apple campus does this too.

The CIGNA campus also here in central CT is similar. From the air? A domino. Inside, lots of glass in a simple form. From the inside, the landscape takes over and softens everything. You can drive right down the nearby roads and barely notice one of the largest buildings around. The Apple campus will do this too.

Is the Apple proposal "futuristic"? Yep. So was Capitol Records, the WTC and the Transamerica building and a lot of others. All now considered "modern classics". Hardly a fault.

You build buildings that people have to work in, and make them impressive to look at as a whole. if the experience of those two examples are valid, it'll be a whole different thing to be inside the building than to be in the air looking down.

This is where Gehry got snagged - the Stata Center is pure genius in external form, but hell on actual occupants.

As for his main comment:

"Flexibility is a hallmark of the iPad, and it counts in architecture, too, but how much flexibility is there in a vast office governed entirely by geometry?"

The innards look very plain and easily reconfigurable. Large open spaces with out specificity. Steve is a old colleague of Alan Kay, who says things like "make the technology really powerful, and then make it disappear" (or something like that. It was late, we were busy) and this building seems to do so. Steve also has experience with the new Pixar campus, which needs lots of flexibility and a certain measure of specificity due to the nature of making movies. Pixar will be making movies for the foreseeable future. Ten years ago today, the iPod was a bubbling rumor. Who knows what Apple will be making during the lifetime of this building? Flexibility is key, and open generic spaces are a plus. And don't knock the Pentagon - the military has gotten 68 years out of it and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
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