Costing a mere $5 billion, Apple Park is the new home of, you guessed it… Apple. Located at 1 Apple Park Way in Cupertino, California the tech giant’s new headquarters was completed at the beginning of this year. The 175-acre campus was originally slated to be finished in 2017 and whilst Apple began moving in employees last year the offices 12,000 capacity has been reached gradually. As with the majority of large build projects costs were higher and schedules ran over. In true Apple fashion, the quality of the end product was always the goal.
The campus' main building, known as ‘The Ring’ is a 2.8 million square foot 4-floor structure with a completely curved glass façade. One of which is the largest single sheet of curved glass in the world. Although a handful of employees have reported head injuries from walking into the crystal-clear glass (maybe some manifestations are in order) there is no denying it’s visual impact.
The building was designed by British architectural firm Foster + Partners whose previous projects include; Wembley Stadium, Stanstead Airport, the Millennium Bridge, HSBC in Canary Wharf and the Hearst Tower in New York. In an interview with Architectural Record founder and chairman, Norman Foster explained how the idea for the building was based on a London square, where houses surround a park.
Supporting a collaborative, open plan layout the ring hosts some impressive facilities:
- On-site Apple Store and visitor centre open to the public
- 10,000 sq. ft. fitness centre
- 300,000 sq. ft. of research and development facilities
- 7 cafes
- 1,000 seat auditorium located underground with the world’s tallest free-standing glass elevator
- Basketball and Tennis courts
Steve Jobs and Apple set about this mammoth project with the intention of running the campus on 100% renewable energy. According to CEO Tim Cook Apple now inhabits “one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world”. The question is how did they achieve this?
Firstly, the roof of The Ring is covered with one of the largest solar panel arrays in the world. These panels generate enough electricity to power 75% of the campus during peak hours. The other 25% is powered by fuel cells running on natural gas.
Secondly, the design of the building means that the air conditioning system isn't needed for 9 months of the year which is impressive for a place whose temperatures are consistently warm. This makes Apple Park the largest naturally ventilated building in the world.
The campus will reportedly use recycled water using over 13,000ft of pipe to share the supply between the campus and Cupertino.
Finally, around 9,000 trees will surround the offices. These trees along with other plant life will be indigenous to the area.
Probably one of the most notable features of the project is the giant courtyard that The Ring surrounds. Not only does this courtyard and the campus grounds provide over 2 miles of tranquil walking and running paths for employees to enjoy, it is also home to fruit orchids and herb gardens that are used to stock the campuses 7 cafes.
Apple’s new HQ isn’t without its critics. People have criticised its car-dependent location, calling it an extravagant waste of real estate that could have been used to create affordable housing. The mega office has also come under fire for not being as forward-thinking as the homes of the likes of Google and Amazon and that it will be unable to adapt the future requirements of the workplace. One thing is for certain, Apple Park is a triumph of design and engineering and befitting of the company it houses.
By Andrew Mairs – Marketing Executive