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As Apple’s Campus 2 site steadily progresses closer toward someday being complete, Architectural Record (via Mac Rumors) has shared a recent Q&A with architect Norman Foster, the designer responsible for the structure and appearance of the future campus. In the interview, Foster describes the evolution of the project and working with Steve Jobs on Apple’s Campus 2, which is currently in the midst of construction after being approved by the city of Cupertino just last fall

The main building is set to hold 12,000 people under one (giant circle) roof, and Foster compares that to a university with as many students with more than a dozen separate buildings. Among other topics, Foster cites Jobs’ appreciation for the Main Quad at Stanford’s campus as a point of reference for how to scale the project.

It’s interesting how it evolved. First of all, there was a smaller site. Then, as the project developed, and the Hewlett-Packard site became available, the scale of the project changed.

Meanwhile, the reference point for Steve [Jobs] was always the large space on the Stanford campus—the Main Quad—which Steve knew intimately. Also, he would reminisce about the time when he was young, and California was still the fruit bowl of the United States. It was still orchards.

We did a continuous series of base planning studies. One idea which came out of it is that you can get high density by building around the perimeter of a site, as in the squares of London.

Steve’s memories of California’s orchards in his youth certainly resonate with Apple’s vision for the site formerly maintained by Hewlett-Packard. The mockup shown below provided by offers an aerial perspective of the campus with noticeably more nature (80% landscape) than its surroundings.

Foster goes on to discuss the logistics of working in such a massive, circular shaped building.

Of course, you have got an enormous range of skills in this building—from software programmers, from designers, marketing, retail—but you can move vertically in the building as well as horizontally. The proximity, the adjacencies are very, very carefully considered.

Remember also that the scale is broken down by cafés and lobbies and entrances. Then, a significant segment of that circle is the restaurant, which opens up to the landscape. You have four-story-high glass walls, which can literally move sideways and just open up into the landscape. So the social facilities break down the scale.

And of course you have the benefit of jogging and cycling trails—more than a thousand bikes will be kept on the site—and also pathways and landscaping connections.

There’s also the buried car park. You won’t look out of your window and see row after row of parked cars.

While previous reports have shared details about the project’s cost and process and the current state of the land, Foster’s comments offer an interesting perspective from its designer. The project, which dates back publicly to Steve Jobs’ presentation to Cupertino’s city ouncil in early 2011, is expected to reach completion in 2016.

You can read the full Q&A with Norman Foster here.

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4 Responses to “Apple’s ‘Spaceship’ designer discusses Steve Jobs’ involvement and Stanford campus influence”

  1. herb02135go says:

    I’d like to know what they are doing to decrease the amount of non-native vegetation and to decrease water use in landscaping.

    The talk of orchards is hilarious since that land used to be orchard land. Too bad the traffic in the area will be downright awful.
    But at least some increase in Apple’s workforce is going to be in China.


  2. justice says:

    Apple has done all of us a good thing by creating a decent infrastructure like that, the reason i say this is because such infrastructures are created with the human element in mind. a lot of companies can take something out of the Apple building and create something downright positive.

    We must start realising that a company building can also be a place where people find it easy to relax and be themselves because at the end of the day that is how you get the best out of them, by making sure that while they are in your premises they are at their best.

    This also works if your customers end up visiting your premises, this means that your customers will feel more relaxed and confortable and thereby more likely to enter into a business agreement with you.