What we know about Apple’s spaceship campus – CNET

Apple Park

One of Steve Jobs’ dying wishes was to build a stunning new campus for Apple. 

They call it Apple Park — but you may know it as the Ring or perhaps the Spaceship.

On Tuesday, September 12, Apple will invite journalists inside Apple Park for its very first announcement from the new campus, widely expected to be a new iPhone (or three). But Apple’s spaceship itself is arguably more intriguing. Here’s everything we know about the massive buildings, which cost Apple a reported $5 billion.  

Aerial photos used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park (conceptual render)

In July 2009, after several years of deliberation, Apple reached out to British architectural firm Foster & Partners to begin drawing up plans for a new campus, an architectural marvel only a stone’s throw from the company’s existing Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino, California. 

Originally conceived as a propeller-shaped building, the 2.8 million square foot campus soon became a ring. An ailing Steve Jobs himself went before the Cupertino City Council to ask for its help a few short months before his death. Members unanimously approved his plan in October 2013. 

Photo by: Apple

Apple Park (conceptual render)

Here’s an artist’s interpretation of how Apple Park (and its employees) might blend into nature. 

Photo by: Apple

Working on the roof

And here’s a still from some footage of the actual building, which is now nearing completion.

Photo by: Apple/Screenshot by Sean Hollister

Apple Park

In total, Apple’s new campus covers 175 acres of land and should hold 12,000 employees — only a portion of the company’s Cupertino workforce.

 (Apple already employed 15,000 people in Cupertino as of 2013, the last year that the city tracked that data in its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.)

Apple started relocating employees in April.

Photo by: Apple/Screenshot by Sean Hollister

Apple Park

According to Wired, the Spaceship has nine different entrances, and it’s a bit of a walk if you want to circle the building — the circumference at the perimeter measures three-quarters of a mile.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Glass fins

Even the fins are made of curved glass, reports Wired, and they exist partly to protect the glass walls. They keep glare to a minimum, stop too much light from entering the building, and prevent rain from streaking down the walls.

Photo by: Apple

Glass walls

Apple says the building’s walls are the largest panels of curved glass ever made. There are 800 of them in total, reports Wired, and each wall is 45 feet tall. But that’s nothing compared with the Apple Cafe’s four-story glass doors, which (including their frames) weigh 220 tons each.

Photo by: Apple/Screenshot by Sean Hollister

Solar panels

Apple says the entire campus will be powered by renewable energy — including a 17-megawatt solar farm mounted on the building’s roof. 

Photo by: Apple/Screenshot by Sean Hollister

Apple Park trees

Apple hopes to plant 9,000 native, drought-resistant trees all around the campus.

Photo by: Apple/Screenshot by Sean Hollister

Apple Park

Apple says it’ll also be the world’s largest naturally ventilated building and won’t require any heating or air conditioning nine months out of the year. Inside, every door has a custom aluminum handle built just for Apple, and each employee has special height-adjustable desks, according to Wired.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Cupertino, California

Bordered by Wolfe Road, North Tantau Avenue and Interstate 280 to the south, Apple’s new campus lives in an intriguing part of Cupertino that’s a mix of upscale apartments, shopping and suburbia. 

Just across the street to the west is a huge Asian shopping center filled with Chinese restaurants, tea shops, a 99 Ranch supermarket and a Taiwanese bakery, while Kaiser Permanente’s hospital campus is to the east. Across I-280 to the south is the ghost town known as Vallco Mall, which began plans for a grand tranformation after Apple’s plans were underway.

North is almost all suburban housing.

Photo by: Google Maps/Screenshot by CNET

Infinite Loop to Apple Park: 5-10 minutes

On a good day with no traffic, a ride from Apple’s current headquarters (Infinite Loop) to the new Apple Park should take less than 10 minutes.

Photo by: Google Maps/Screenshot by CNET

Apple Park-ing garage

When those cars arrive, they’ll park in Apple’s gigantic detached parking garage, which looks like it’d be right at home if it were attached to a major airport terminal. Apple Park will have some 9,000 parking spots — 3,000 of them underground.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park R&D

In fact, several parts of the Apple Park campus are separate from the main spaceship. Here’s Apple’s new R&D facility. There’s also a 100,000 square-foot fitness center that isn’t quite as complete yet.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Steve Jobs Theater

And here’s the Steve Jobs Theater, the 1,000-seat presentation space and exhibit hall where journalists will first see the new iPhone. It sits atop a hill, the highest point in Apple Park, looking down on the campus.

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Steve Jobs Theater (conceptual render)

Here’s an artist’s render of what the theater should look like when completed. It’s a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder that’s 165 feet in diameter, with a “metallic carbon fiber roof.” 

Photo by: Apple

Steve Jobs Theater (illustration)

That 20-foot-tall carbon fiber canopy isn’t the actual theater, though: To get there, you take the elevator (or stairs) down through the exhibit hall to a hidden underground auditorium with traditional rows of seats.

Photo by: Apple

Steve Jobs Theater (illustration)

There’s a lot of hidden rooms underground, as well as a pair of tunnels (we had to crop one out) to allow staff to bring things in through a hidden back entrance. We count 22 rows of seats. 

Photo by: Apple

Apple Park I-280

Here, just north of the I-280 freeway, you can see where the buildings sit in relation to each other.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park dirt

During construction, Apple’s builders erected a mountain of dirt taller than the Spaceship itself.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park dirt

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park

And the trees in the center of the Apple Park spaceship are planted, with a strange (from this aerial view) sense of uniformity.

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park

That massive ring throws a heck of a lot of shade. According to Wired, the entire ring is designed to shift in the event of an earthquake: “[T]he Ring is mounted on huge steel base isolators that ensure the building can move up to 4.5 feet in any direction without losing its vital services.” 

Aerial photo used with permission: Matthew Roberts (YouTube)

Photo by: Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Apple Park

One last shot of Apple’s spaceship.

Photo by: Apple

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