Architect of Apple's Campus 2 discusses inspiration behind 'Spaceship' design

Posted:
in General Discussion edited March 2014
In an interview published to the Web on Monday, Norman Foster, founder and chairman of architectural design firm Foster+Partners, explains the thinking behind Apple's Campus 2, including late cofounder Steve Jobs' input on the project.

Apple Spaceship Campus
Rendering of courtyard in center of Apple's Campus 2 main building.


Speaking with the Architectural Record, Foster offered a rundown of his most revered works, from the iconic Swiss Re tower in London (also known as "the Gherkin"), to large-scale projects like Terminal 3 in the Beijing International Airport. To the designer, scale is key to the human experience.

"Then, as I say, there is the constant reference to the outside--the fact that you don't feel you're being led down blind alleys," Foster said of Beijing International. "You always have this sense of knowing where you are--you always have a sense of space."

As applied to Apple's Campus 2, which is now under construction after months of permit seeking, Foster is bringing 12,000 employees into one main building. Traditional designs would call for 16 or 17 buildings, much like the layout of the former Hewlett-Packard site before Apple took over.

Not only will the new design pack in more people in a central structure, but the area covered by buildings is to be much less than HP's campus. Foster's office says construction will cover only 13 percent of the site.

As for the ring, the architect calls the structure compact, alluding to his work with airport designs. The main reference point for Jobs, who took part in Campus 2 planning, was the Main Quad at Stanford University.

"One idea which came out of it is that you can get high density by building around the perimeter of a site, as in the squares of London," he said. "And in the case of a London square, you create a mini-park in the center. So a series of organic segments in the early studies started to form enclosures, all of which were in turn related to the scale of the Stanford campus."

In addition, Jobs wanted an aesthetic that harkened back to the California of his youth, when the state was the "fruit bowl" of the U.S.

"These studies finally morphed into a circular building that would enclose the private space in the middle--essentially a park that would replicate the original California landscape, and parts of it would also recapture the orchards of the past," Foster said. "The car would visually be banished, and tarmac would be replaced by greenery, and car parks by jogging and bicycle trails."

Foster goes on to explain the intricacies of scale and how they apply to Apple's project and beyond.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,422member
    I hope to God that's not the name it ships with.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    clemynxclemynx Posts: 1,504member
    What I find amazing is the view of the building from where they'll bring all journalists for presentation. It truly looks like a starship has just landed in the fields. I can already imagine the pictures coming during these event live feeds, before the keynote.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    Thank God Apple is leading the way with beautiful industrial architecture. So many buildings erected since the 1950s are horrid looking and depressing spaces in which to work.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    That's no spaceship. It's a fruit bowl.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    rcfarcfa Posts: 714member
    They could have done a very similar design, but instead of a circle it could have formed
    a giant Apple logo visible from above...
  • Reply 6 of 24
    dsddsd Posts: 177member

    Plant almond trees around it and you have the California of Steve's youth - fruits and nuts. /s

  • Reply 7 of 24
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,466member
    dsd wrote: »
    Plant almond trees around it and you have the California of Steve's youth - fruits and nuts. /s

    Last time I was in Santa Cruz, it seemed not much had changed. Well, maybe the VW buses are a bit newer.

    As for this building surrounding a park, this is the first time I've seen this point of view mentioned so specifically. It makes complete sense. T'will be a fantastic place to work.
  • Reply 8 of 24
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,343member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post



    I hope to God that's not the name it ships with.

    The deadtrees literature that Apple has published refers to the site as Apple Campus 2.

     

    That's actually a deviation from their typical practice of naming their Cupertino buildings after the street name (like "Bubb 9" or "Bandley 3"). But Apple has never gotten fanciful in naming their corporate properties.

     

    I'm guessing that "Campus 2" will be the official name. It really doesn't matter what they end up calling it. After all, it's not a site that will be open to the public. 

  • Reply 9 of 24
    ireland wrote: »
    I hope to God that's not the name it ships with.

    iLoop 3GS
  • Reply 10 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

    I hope to God that's not the name it ships with.

     

    I’m still of the belief that they’ll force the city to rename Infinite Loop “Apple Way” and then be able to call the building “One Infinite Loop”.

     

    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

    iLoop 6


     

    Fixed that for you. ;) 

  • Reply 11 of 24
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,343member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    I’m still of the belief that they’ll force the city to rename Infinite Loop “Apple Way” and then be able to call the building “One Infinite Loop”.


    Unlikely.

     

    The roadway leading to Campus 2 is not loop-shaped. Calling it "Infinite Loop" would probably trigger the ire and disdain of the Apple engineers who are slated to occupy the site.

     

    By contrast, the corporate headquarters is located on a roadway that is shaped like a loop. Amusingly, the part of the roadway that is technically named "Infinite Loop" is not loop-shaped, as the southernmost portion of the loop is still called Mariani Avenue. It appears Apple is not without some respect for history, as the official company address was on Mariani Avenue for a long time.

  • Reply 12 of 24
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

    The roadway leading to Campus 2 is not loop-shaped.


     

     

    call the building “One Infinite Loop”.


  • Reply 13 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    That's no spaceship. It's a fruit bowl.

     

    How creative and unique that you should come up with this description.  

    Why didn't the author of this article say that?  

    Oh gosh... um, he did.  

    Nevermind nagromme.

  • Reply 14 of 24
    siyatasiyata Posts: 5member

    Maybe there's been a huge confusion and they're actually building TWO campuses; one on Earth, and one in space.................:wow:

  • Reply 15 of 24
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,616member

    I forget where the parking is located.  It's not under the main building is it?

     

    The reason I ask is that I worked in the building housing Whole Foods world headquarters which has a multi level parking garage beneath.  Once or twice a year a car catches on fire in the garage and the entire building has to be evacuated.  That would be exceedingly disruptive to the Apple workflow inside the "ring".

  • Reply 16 of 24
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    welshdog wrote: »
    I forget where the parking is located.  It's not under the main building is it?

    The reason I ask is that I worked in the building housing Whole Foods world headquarters which has a multi level parking garage beneath.  Once or twice a year a car catches on fire in the garage and the entire building has to be evacuated.  That would be exceedingly disruptive to the Apple workflow inside the "ring".

    I think there is parking under it, but I think the bulk of it is located in the multi-story structure next to the highway.
  • Reply 17 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,422member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mpantone View Post

     

    The deadtrees literature that Apple has published refers to the site as Apple Campus 2.

     

    That's actually a deviation from their typical practice of naming their Cupertino buildings after the street name (like "Bubb 9" or "Bandley 3"). But Apple has never gotten fanciful in naming their corporate properties.

     

    I'm guessing that "Campus 2" will be the official name. It really doesn't matter what they end up calling it. After all, it's not a site that will be open to the public. 


     

    Yeah, the other property is on 1 Infinite Loop street after all. I think the name of the building matters. Make it cool.

  • Reply 18 of 24
    dnd0psdnd0ps Posts: 253member
    Call it the mothership already
  • Reply 19 of 24
    jessijessi Posts: 302member

    They should call it the Jobs building, really.  Something should be named after him, and I can think of nothing better.

     

    The building covers a massive, MASSIVE parking structure.  There's multiple levels of underground parking under the loop, and essentially a freeway's worth of access to it.   The other parking structure has less parking spaces than the ones under the building.  The building itself covers about %70 of the parking needed for the employees, IIRC and the parking garage is to cover the remaining amount, plus parking for the other buildings on the site.

  • Reply 20 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,422member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jessi View Post

     

    They should call it the Jobs building, really.  Something should be named after him, and I can think of nothing better.


     

    It's been done: http://pixartimes.com/2012/11/06/pixar-names-building-after-steve-jobs/

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