Apple Park's new $108M visitor center spares no expense to dazzle guests

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Tomorrow, Apple will be introducing a series of new products at its brand new Steve Jobs Theater, in the first occasion for outsiders to visit its Apple Park campus. In parallel, it appears ready to show off its $80 million visitor center, which was first detailed in the summer of 2015, nearly four years after the "Campus 2" was first announced.




When Steve Jobs first laid out plans for the new campus, city government leaders asked whether Apple might also build a retail store in Cupertino., or perhaps fund WiFi for the entire town. Jobs did not appear pleased. However, shortly after Apple hired Angela Ahrendts as its senior vice president of retail, the company converted its "company store" at the Infinite Loop headquarters from a visitor center of sorts selling Apple-branded clothing, pens, cups and other trinkets into a full retail store selling the products Apple actually makes.

It didn't, however, ever really create a place for visitors to learn about Apple itself. However, as it puts the finishing touches on Apple Park the company is also getting ready to open its first major welcome center for tourists, featuring a retail store, a cafe and rooftop deck providing a view of overlooking the Apple Park Spaceship across the street.



Above is a street level panorama taken earlier today (on Monday), just as the 95 degree day in Cupertino, California broke loose with unusual rain and loud bursts of thunder and bright flashes of lightning that are quite rare in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Plans first published by the Silicon Valley Business Journal based on company filings in the summer of 2015 described a two-story center with a 2,386-square-foot cafe and 10,114-square-foot store, topped by a carbon fiber roof and observation deck situated 23 feet above ground level, with 684 underground parking spaces. Apple planned to operating the new visitor center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.

Additional details appeared at the beginning of 2016, when it was revealed that the building itself would cost $80 million, on top of an estimated $26 million for its underground parking structure. Apple reportedly paid $4,000 per square foot for the building, more than double the $1,500 per square foot price tag for the overall project.




Viewed from the street corner, building is spectacularly beautiful. It features solid glass walls with rounded corners, providing panoramic views into the central segment that serves as a typical modern Apple Store (below top), complete with a massive video wall (below bottom). There are no trees inside the building, but it appears that there are, because the front and back are fully transparent walls of glass, allowing you to see through the building, which is flanked on both sides by perfectly centered rows of what appear to be olive trees.






The south end of the building features a cafe with indoor seating facing a white expanse of surrounding paving suitable for outdoor seating (as shown in renderings).




The opposite end of the building features a similarly sized, atrium-like room containing a topographical model of the Apple Park site for visitors to examine.




On either side of the retail space, there are stone stairways that provide access to the roof top deck, which provides a view over the Apple Park site. From the sidewalk, the massive "Spaceship" ring is only partially visible, nestled behind berms of earth covered with vegetation and trees. You can tell the building is massive, but you can't actually see much of it. It's also hard to see much of the top of the Steve Jobs Theater.




It's still unknown whether Apple will host public events inside the Steve Jobs Theater, but as readers have noted, as the company enters into the TV and movie production business, it may also launch premiers of the shows it funds. At this summers' Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple presented an early look at "Planet of the Apps," as well as hosting public presentations by public figures including Michelle Obama, as well as Dr. Christine Darden, Todd Stabelfeldt and Miral Kotb, each of whom shared their personal experiences in overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles through the application of technology and their own persistent determination.




Looking at the site from behind the visitor center, you can feel the enormity of the Spaceship building, even though it is mostly enshrouded by trees. From the top of the visitor center's roof, viewers will have a less obstructed view. Also visible in this photo are the oval ring street lamps that are found through Apple Park.

Late in the day, crews were blocking off Tantau Street with barriers in preparation for the iPhone X event tomorrow, where members of the media are invited to see Apple's latest gear, including an expected new Apple Watch, AirPods, 4K Apple TV and more details on the HomePod first introduced at WWDC this summer.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,310member
    I didn't recall seeing this facility much on the drone footage over the last couple years. I know it was shown on occasion, but I don't recall it being a focus for the drone operator; maybe I wasn't paying attention.
    repressthis
  • Reply 2 of 28
    Thanks for the tour. Amazing!
    repressthisfotoformat
  • Reply 3 of 28
    Oh yeah? The last place that spared no expense wound up with most of the guests eaten or dismembered. But this place probably has all the "I visited the mothership" merchandise now, so there's that.
    pscooter63radster360lkruppcgWerks
  • Reply 4 of 28
    Last time I visited the Apple Campus was in 1991 just before moving to France.
    I remember stopping by the company store on Infinit Loop to buy a few trinkets and pieces of software. Remember, at the time, Mac software wasn't easy to find (not as easy as today at least), there was no Internet, not Apple Store and Windows was king.
    I remember purchasing a copy of "SpaceShip Warlock" game ... It was so cool at the time !
    Solirepressthisdws-2
  • Reply 5 of 28
    SoliSoli Posts: 7,310member
    Oh yeah? The last place that spared no expense wound up with most of the guests eaten or dismembered. But this place probably has all the "I visited the mothership" merchandise now, so there's that.
    I had to google several of the terms to figure out if there was a reference I wasn't getting. As you know, by having to google it there was clearly a reference I wasn't getting.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,042member
    I got it straight away.
    dws-2
  • Reply 7 of 28
    entropys said:
    I got it straight away.
    Jurassic park? :cold_sweat: 

    osmartormenajrtallest skil
  • Reply 8 of 28
    Thanks for the write-up.
  • Reply 9 of 28
    I'm wondering, is that a glass roof covering the second floor...?
  • Reply 10 of 28
    I'm wondering, is that a glass roof covering the second floor...?
    It appears the stairwells open out into a glass enclosed room, and the deck itself appears to have glass walls, but the finned roof appears to be an aluminum (?) open air structure for shade. 

    It was not yet open to the public, although it sits on a public street and nobody stopped me from taking photos. Not sure how long it's been out in the open. Across Pruneridge, one of the last remaining old buildings on Tantau is still surrounded by the tall green metal wall that once ran around the entire site. Apple Park is now exposed on all sides, although there are some smaller fences up (but no more 40' wall!) 
    Solipatchythepiratepscooter63
  • Reply 11 of 28
    fred1fred1 Posts: 246member
    Very glad to know about this and see some photos.  I've visited the current "Company Store" a couple of times and this looks much much nicer.  Can't wait to see this one in person.  

    I've never been good at math, but $80 million for the center, plus $26 million for the parking garage equals (I think) $106 million.  What does the headline refer to with $108 million?

    And please please please, if anyone from Apple is reading this, please have decent merchandise in the store.  The current store has cheap stuff like polyester polo shirts and overpriced hoodies.  Please have good quality stuff.  You deserve it and your fans deserve it, especially in a place like this.  
    radster360
  • Reply 12 of 28
    fred1 said:
    Very glad to know about this and see some photos.  I've visited the current "Company Store" a couple of times and this looks much much nicer.  Can't wait to see this one in person.  

    I've never been good at math, but $80 million for the center, plus $26 million for the parking garage equals (I think) $106 million.  What does the headline refer to with $108 million?

    And please please please, if anyone from Apple is reading this, please have decent merchandise in the store.  The current store has cheap stuff like polyester polo shirts and overpriced hoodies.  Please have good quality stuff.  You deserve it and your fans deserve it, especially in a place like this.  
    Thanks for saving me the effort of writing "get the math right" post. It's bad enough that you have to read a few paragraphs until the contradiction between the headline and the second sentence is explained. 
  • Reply 13 of 28
    fred1 said:
    Very glad to know about this and see some photos.  I've visited the current "Company Store" a couple of times and this looks much much nicer.  Can't wait to see this one in person.  

    I've never been good at math, but $80 million for the center, plus $26 million for the parking garage equals (I think) $106 million.  What does the headline refer to with $108 million?

    And please please please, if anyone from Apple is reading this, please have decent merchandise in the store.  The current store has cheap stuff like polyester polo shirts and overpriced hoodies.  Please have good quality stuff.  You deserve it and your fans deserve it, especially in a place like this.  
    Thanks for saving me the effort of writing "get the math right" post. It's bad enough that you have to read a few paragraphs until the contradiction between the headline and the second sentence is explained. 
    You're welcome. Maybe the extra 2 million is sales tax? Move in costs? Pizza for the workers? 
  • Reply 14 of 28
    Definitely on my bucket list of pilgrimage sites. 
    macxpresslkrupppscooter63
  • Reply 15 of 28
    Beautiful building. Apple had come a long way. In the old day, Apple was being laughed at. Steve Jobs is truly a visionary.
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 16 of 28
    Definitely on my bucket list of pilgrimage sites. 
    Me too...I would love to see this some day. 
  • Reply 17 of 28
    These ground level photos give a better idea as to why Apple wanted the gigantic, specially constructed panes of glass. Takes the classic mid-century blending of architecture and nature through the use of glass to a new level. I imagine the impact is even greater if you're actually in the space and not just looking at a photo.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 18 of 28
    Thanks Daniel for this write up, will you be doing one for Steve Job theatre as well as the other buildings and parts of Apple Park?
  • Reply 19 of 28
    Definitely on my bucket list of pilgrimage sites. 
    Mine too! Lucky to be living in Bay Area! Maybe wait for few more months when it is completely open.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    dws-2dws-2 Posts: 173member
    fred1 said:
    fred1 said:

    I've never been good at math, but $80 million for the center, plus $26 million for the parking garage equals (I think) $106 million.  What does the headline refer to with $108 million?

    Thanks for saving me the effort of writing "get the math right" post. It's bad enough that you have to read a few paragraphs until the contradiction between the headline and the second sentence is explained. 
    You're welcome. Maybe the extra 2 million is sales tax? Move in costs? Pizza for the workers? 
    How about landscaping? That could easily eat up a couple million.
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