In a previous post we discussed the architectural team over at Foster + Partners that will be responsible for building Apple's new 'spaceship' campus. Now let's hear from F+P chairman Norman Foster to see how the construction will play out.
“You always have a sense of space”
Interviewed by Architectural Record, Foster said a lot of consideration has gone into the upcoming Apple campus, and that the center will exist in the massive shadow of influence cast by Steve Jobs. When he was young, Jobs would look at the vast orchards of California and admire their beauty. With the encroachment of technological development, the landscape of much of the state changed, but according to Foster, Jobs never lost that appreciation for the natural aesthetic he adored as a child. When the time came for Jobs to sit down with Foster and map out ideas for the spaceship campus, he went back to the idealized California of his childhood – a place of greenery, without a car in sight.
With Jobs' death, the challenge has fallen on Foster's shoulders to maintain the integrity of the idea he proposed while also remaining within the realm of feasible construction. Fortunately, that's a challenge Foster is up for. As a designer, Foster emphasized that his main goals are coherence and navigability.
Of the massive Beijing airport building his first created, Foster said that no matter where you walk, “you always have this sense of knowing where you are.” That sense of comfort is something Apple aims for with its products. When your phone breaks and you need an iPhone repair, for instance, the company offers a convenient, around-the-clock phone service to potentially prevent a visit to a cell phone repair shop.
Imagining a day at the spaceship campus
The image of the spaceship campus that has been circulating sites like Business Insider shows a far view of the campus' central hub – a sleek, circular building that enfolds a dense patch of trees. It is a striking image for several reasons – the overwhelming presence of nature and the ring-like, Star Trek-esque appearance of the building among them. But perhaps most astonishing is the fact that the building is being made to house 12,000 employees. And apart from just containing them, how will employees get from point A to B in the massive ring without making it an all-day event?
Foster, however, is not worried about these issues, since he is confident that the horizontally-oriented construction will prove more convenient for worker mobility, since myriad pathways and connectors will be installed. Thus, a day at the job could involve parking your car at the underground car park, walking up to your office, cycling to a meeting on the other side of the building (that's right – what the campus lacks in cars it will make up for in bicycles), taking lunch at one of the many in-campus restaurants, and then going for a swim at the pool. You may never have to leave.