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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 193
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 193
    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).
  • Reply 3 of 193
    Feeding trolls today AppleInsider?
  • Reply 4 of 193
    How big is the "adjacent structure" to park the cars for 13,000 employees?
  • Reply 5 of 193
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,892member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 193
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 193
    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?
  • Reply 8 of 193
    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?
  • Reply 9 of 193
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 193
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,190member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 193
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,562member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 193
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 193
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,562member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 193
    Architects design the future, critics crap on it.
  • Reply 15 of 193
    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?!?
  • Reply 16 of 193
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 193
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 193
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 193
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 193
    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.
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