Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt says that even at an international conference of 6,000 architects, he couldn’t find a single one who liked the spaceship design of Apple’s new campus building. Though if the single quote given is representative of the quality of the critiques, this may not be saying much.

“Does it have to be a spaceship?” asked an official at the American Institute of Architects.

Pixar president Ed Catmull wrote in his book Creativity Inc that they are failing to understand a key feature of the building, derived from a lesson Steve Jobs learned when leading the design of Pixar’s headquarters …


It was, says Catmull, the Disney Animation building Northside that clarified Jobs’ thinking on how a building should work.

He saw firsthand the way that the Disney people took advantage of the open floor plan, sharing information and brainstorming. Steve was a big believer in the power of accidental mingling; he knew that creativity was not a solitary endeavor […]

Everything about the place was designed to encourage people to mingle, meet, and communicate, to support our filmmaking by enhancing our ability to work together.

When you read about everything from Steve’s design philosophy to his choice of materials on the Pixar headquarters, you could be reading instead about the spaceship campus whose design he would later lead.

Steve had thought all this through with the metalogic of a philosopher and the meticulousness of a craftsman. He believed in simple materials, masterfully constructed. He wanted all the steel exposed, not painted. He wanted glass doors to be flush with the walls

Architect Norman Foster said earlier this year that while the building is huge, its openness was a key design consideration.

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.

Steve Jobs personally presented the plans of the Apple Campus 2 building to the Cupertino City Council back in 2011. We’ve since seen detailed models and renders of the building, and even a full-size mockup of a section of it.

A recent aerial shot of the construction site shows the spaceship ring now clearly visible, with construction expected to be completed in 2016.

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