Apple’s signature glass design has come with its fair share of mishaps – from errant snowblowers to, of course, dying birds. To determine the risk posed by Apple’s latest approved store to San Francisco’s protected bird population, Apple hired avian collision risk consultants (really) who determined that the risk is “acceptable” (for non-avian species at least). Read the full bird analysis here.
Third time’s the charm, at least in the case of Apple’s Foster + Partners-designed flagship store planned for San Francisco’s historic Union Square. After being sent back to the drawings boards on multiple occasions, the signature glass box’s third proposal (which was claimed to be “more iconic” than the company’s famous Five Avenue glass cube in New York City) has been awarded approval from the city.
In a brilliant article for Der Spiegel, “The New Monuments to Digital Domination,” writer Thomas Schulz not only rounds up our reigning tech giants’ oddly-shaped offices – from Apple’s “spaceship” to Amazon’s “biodomes” - but also pinpoints what they have in common: horizontality. And why? Because an “open creative playground” without boundaries (like floors or walls) is “the perfect ideas factory: the ideal spatial environment for optimally productive digital workers who continuously churn out world-changing innovations.” And while this means that privacy has gone out these workspaces’ proverbial windows, Schulz isn’t too surprised – after all, “people have no right to a private life in the digital age.” Check out this must-read article here.
Shortly after the approval of Apple’s new corporate headquarters in Cupertino, never-before-seen images have emerged to reveal a glimpse into the campus’ massive, 2.8 million square foot “mothership” and its surrounding facilities.
Provided by the City of Cupertino and released by Wired, the images depict just what Steve Job’s hoped for: a world-class, state-of-the-art office campus that promotes innovation through vibrant communal spaces and healthy employee amenities. From the net-positive main building to a private, subterranean auditorium placed within a forested, California-native landscape by OLIN, the Foster + Partners-designed Apple Campus 2 has the potential to be, as Job’s believed, “the best office building in the world.”
Read on to view a collection of the newly released renderings…
It has been a long road for Foster + Partners‘s team since first taking on the design for Apple’s new campus in 2009. Four years later, despite the criticism and budget concerns, plans for Apple’s corporate headquarters have been approved by Cupertino’s planning commission. A recent video from the Cupertino City Council reveals some insight into the design decisions, including statements by Sir Norman Foster. As Foster states in the video, CEO Steve Jobs called him “out of the blue” in 2009 and said, “It’s Steve: Hi Norman, I need some help.”
UPDATE: Although having already cleared a preliminary vote, the Apple HQ was given unanimous approval from the Cupertino council yesterday. One “largely perfunctory” vote remains for November 15th. Detailed images, after the break.
Richard Nieva (CNET) reports that plans for Apple’s new corporate headquarters have been approved by Cupertino’s planning commission (the final, deciding vote will be in
May November 2014). The “spaceship”, designed by Foster + Partners in collaboration with Kier & Wright, will cover 2.8 million square feet, host up to 14,000 employees, include ”a 600-seat restaurant with four-story glass sliding doors”, be surrounded by over 6000 trees, and – to top it off – come with a price tag close to $5 billion.
Apple has successfully secured a patent for the cylindrical, glass entrance to its Shanghai store. After trademarking the design and layout of its retail stores last January, this is one more battle Apple has won for copyrighting its signature look.
More on the patented design after the break.
In a recent article for the Financial Times, Edwin Heathcote explores the ‘Skyscraper Index’, an informal term that suggests a correlation between the construction of a big company’s ambitious headquarters and subsequent financial crisis: “Think of the Empire State Building opening into the Wall Street crash of 1929, the Twin Towers being completed as New York City was flirting with bankruptcy or the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur taking the mantle of the world’s tallest building and presaging the Asian financial crisis.” Heathcote goes on to describe the latest generation of headquarters being constructed for our current, tech-oriented goliaths – like Apple‘s monolithic “donut”, by Foster + Partners, and Facebook‘s Gehry-designed Menlo Park campus - and wonders: “if skyscrapers can tell us something about the temperature of an overheating economy, what do these groundscraping new HQs say?” Read the full article here.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the architectural firm behind Apple’s iconic 5th Avenue store, has returned to the tech brand to design their latest store in Palo Alto, California.
Although the new store maintains the glass storefront typical of Apple, the new store – which will be the prototype for stores opening next year in Portland, Oregon and Aix-en-Provence, France – distinctively features a “floating” roof design as well as a stone wall that hides half the store.
The store’s opening may be in preparation for the increase in sales that will follow the unveiling of two new iphone models (today, purportedly).
More info on the new Apple store design, after the break…
Earlier this summer we reviewed plans for a new Foster + Partners-designed Apple Store in the heart of San Francisco which received a considerable amount of backlash for its accused ubiquitous design that disregarded the city’s historic Ruth Asawa Fountain. Since, Apple has decided to respond to the complaints and Foster + Partners have just released images of the revised design that preserves the fountain.
This past May, Apple filed plans to close its existing flagship retail store at 1 Stockton Street in San Francisco and move it three blocks north to one of the city’s most popular spots: Union Square. This plan was met with enthusiasm from city officials until they realized that Apple, and the store’s architects at Foster + Partners, were disregarding a beloved bronze folk art fountain by San Francisco sculptor Ruth Asawa that currently occupies the site. Many have also criticized the store’s design for being a characterless box of metal and glass that contributes nothing unique to the local landscape, raising awareness of a commercial architecture defined more by trademark and less by its surroundings.
More on Apple’s proposal in San Francisco and the problems of trademarked design after the break.
The City of Cupertino has released Apple’s revised campus plans, following the recent news criticizing Steve Job’s “sky-high requirements for fit and finish” that have resulted in a “ballooning budget.”
Abandoning Apple’s classic “white” detailing, architects Foster + Partners have opted to clad the 2.8 million square foot, circular monolith in black – a stylistic remedy that seems to be in line with the overarching campus goal to “provide a serene environment reflecting Apple’s brand values of innovation, ease of use and beauty.”
More details after the break…
The estimated cost of Apple’s Cupertino City headquarters has escalated from an already hefty price of $3 billion to $5 billion (more than $1,500 per square foot), reportedly pushing back the original completion date to 2016. According to Bloomberg, Apple is working with lead architect Foster & Partners to shave $1 billion from the “ballooning budget”. Most of the cost is seemly due to Steve Job’s “sky-high requirements for fit and finish”, as the tech legend called for the 2.8 million square foot, circular monolith to be clad 40-foot panes of German concave glass, along with its four-story office spaces be lined with museum-quality terrazzo floors and capped with polished concrete ceilings.
Although lambasted for his ambitious plans and “doughnut-shaped” design, Steve Jobs wanted to create a masterpiece that looked as good as it functioned, just like his products. During a 2011 presentation to the Cupertino City Council, Jobs stated, “This is not the cheapest way to build something… there is not a straight piece of glass in this building.” He continued, “We have a shot… at building the best office building in the world. I really do think that architecture students will come here to see it.”
More after the break…
Apple has successfully been awarded a trademark for the “design and layout” of their retail stores. Since opening their first in Virginia over a decade ago, the stores have been at the heart of the company’s branding, with the late Steve Jobs heavily involved in their design. Since, the growing presence of similar stores, including a familiar Microsoft chain launched in 2009, has left Apple feeling the need to protect its own distinctive style.
More after the break.
Apple has released the latest version of their operating system: Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Over 200 new features have been integrated into Lion with the intent to streamline your work and life. Some of the highlighted features include the built in iCloud that keeps all your content updated and in-sync with your Apple products, a unified notification center to help you stay updated on everything, and ready-to-go dictation that makes typing optional.
Although this all sounds great, what about software we architects use on a daily basis?
A word of advice before you upgrade:
“If I were a drafter, I’d drop everything and buy it.”
The new MacBook’s distinguishing feature is its souped-up Retina display - which boasts 4 times as many pixels as its predecessor, 75% less reflection, and 29% higher contrast.
The implications for architects will be practically life-changing. But there is a catch…
Get the scoop on the new AutoCAD App for Macbook, after the break.
The announcement instigated a flurry of analyses and criticisms over the meaning of the design for the world – the Zen-like significance of the circle, the role of architecture in this technologically-driven age, the legacy and hubris of Jobs – but produced very little discussion over its meaning for the company itself.
Meanwhile, months before news of the “spaceship” landed, another internet giant was searching the California landscape for its own space to call home. Still very much under-wraps, the new Googleplex will be the first time Google builds a workplace completely from scratch. 
These projects will be the Magnum Opuses, the ultimate physical representations, of the two most influential Tech companies in the world, and the two share striking similarities. So let’s clash the plans of these two titans and take another look at Apple 2 – but this time in the light of Google – and see what they can tell us about these companies’ futures.
Our favorite sketchbook has gone digital! Moleskine presents The Hand of the Architect – an iPad app featuring 378 sketches and drawings from 110 internationally renowned architects, such as Assadi, Botta, Fuksas, Graves, Gregotti, Hadid, Foster and Piano, “showing that every project always begins by hand”. All the works were collected by FAI (Italian National Trust) with the aim of raising funds to restore Piero Portaluppi’s Villa Necchi, known as a 1930s masterpiece of Italian rationalism in Milan. Sketches and drawings are accompanied by essays, captions and the biographies of the architects. You can purchase the app for $18.99 here on iTunes.