Dot-com bubble 2.0? How Apple's cash-splash on new HQ redefines the office space

Matt Charnock
Matt Charnock
Dot-com bubble 2.0? How Apple's cash-splash on new HQ redefines the office space

With the construction—and now opening—of Apple’s Spaceship campus in Cupertino, the technology and design tour de force aims to connote a new meaning for the term “modern office.” Hint: it involves quite a bit of greenery.

On the heels of its much-anticipated fall product launch, Apple’s now slowly migrating some of its Cupertino-based staff into the bowels of a new circular campus off the San Francisco Bay. Paneled with thousands of one-inch thick glass panels, the building hopes to be an inspiration for a new era of office life, meshing and weaving aspects of the home and lifestyle space into the everyday nine-to-five. Admittedly, the over $5 billion circular investment, spanning over 175 acres of Northern California beauty, may seem a bit overzealous to some.

“It’s frustrating to talk about this building in terms of absurd, large numbers,” the campus’ foremost designer Jonathan Ive told WIRED. Now at 50, Ive has been at the helm of all things construction at their Cupertino campus for the better part of three years. “It makes for an impressive statistic, but you don’t live in an impressive statistic. While it is a technical marvel to make glass at this scale, that’s not the achievement. The achievement is to make a building where so many people can connect and collaborate and walk and talk.”

And connect they will.

Apple’s fitness focus, which is evident in the Apple Watch, extends to the building with a “wellness center,” reportedly costing nearly $100 million and able to cater to Apple’s 20,000 employees who work in Silicon Valley.

As impressive as the 10,000-square foot gym and culturally inclusive cafeteria are, they’re merely mustard seeds to the larger, more natural attraction just on the other side of all that crystal-clear glass: the tree line combing the campus.

Boasting an impressive amount of foliage, Apple’s new campus is, essentially, an urban forest; 9,000 some-odd trees moat the modern campus. The whole ethos behind Apple’s very public green thumb is to create a model showcasing how we can continue to build and grow as a modern-day society—but, also, still have our grips firmly planted (no pun intended) on preserving the natural world. In fact, the idea of cultivating a Bay Area office forest was the initial idea Steve Jobs himself had, before his untimely passing.

Jobs said the following in an appeal to the Cupertino City Council back in 2011:

“It will incorporate both young and mature trees, and native and drought tolerant plants that will thrive in Santa Clara County with minimal water consumption. The increase in permeable surfaces will promote natural drainage and improve water quality in Calabazas Creek. The thoughtful and extensive landscaping will recall Cupertino's pre-agricultural and agricultural past.”

Here’s hoping we all live the day when the same can be said about our downtown offices. 

(Feature image courtesy of Flickr)