As the finishing touches are applied to the long-awaited Apple Campus 2 (due to be completed in spring of this year), a new report from Reuters has revealed the fantastical strive for perfection demanded by Apple’s in-house project management team. Compiled from interviews with over 20 current and former workers on the project, the piece delves into the exceptional level of detail to which they have held their construction team, which is said to have been the cause of the delay from the project’s original 2016 completion date.
As stated in the report, the attention to detail in constructing the Foster + Partners-designed structure and masterplan has been positively Jobs-ian. For example, the thousands of custom polished concrete panels that will make up the ceiling of the main building each received individual approval from Apple’s team twice, once in the shop and again on site prior to installation.
Even the organization and precision of hidden elements such as mechanical and ventilation systems were subject to intense scrutiny – no vent or pipe could be located in a position where their reflection could be picked up by the building’s enormous glass panels (including the world’s largest single pane of curved glass).
Other examples include a 30-page guide to acceptable wood glues, and a demand for tolerances far lower than construction standard:
Tolerances, the distance materials may deviate from desired measurements, were a particular focus. On many projects, the standard is 1/8 of an inch at best; Apple often demanded far less, even for hidden surfaces.
The company's keen design sense enhanced the project, but its expectations sometimes clashed with construction realities, a former architect said.
"With phones, you can build to very, very minute tolerances," he said. "You would never design to that level of tolerance on a building. Your doors would jam."
Reuters also spoke to former architect on the project German de la Torre, who relayed that many of the architectural details draw inspiration from the curves of iconic Apple products.
"They have arrived at design principles somehow through many years of experimentation, and they are faithful to those principles," de la Torre said.
According to the report, All of this extra time has been spent with the mental wellness of Apple employees in mind – the belief being that any architectural distraction can lead to a disrupted workflow:
The rationale? If engineers had to adjust their gait while entering the building, they risked distraction from their work, according to a former construction manager.
"We spent months trying not to do that because that's time, money and stuff that's never been done before," the former construction manager said.
The report concludes with stories of the years long process to design building details such as exit signs ("I’ve never spent so much time on signage," said the consulting deputy fire chief) and door handles to offices and conferences rooms, which reportedly still remain undecided.
Read the report in full here, and check out the latest drone footage of the project’s construction above.