A Quick Look at Apple's Planned 'Spaceship' HQ


Earlier this week Steve Jobs presented his plans for the new Apple HQ to the Cupertino City Council. Assuming that you don’t want to spend the next 20 or so minutes watching his entire speech (it might be Jobs, but it is a city council meeting), here are the big takeaways: The proposed building, which will house 12,000 people, is a giant circle made largely of huge sheets of curved glass. This will be expensive and tricky, but Apple can handle it. Haven’t you ever been to an Apple Store? Our favorite part: Somewhere inside of this glass donut there will be a green-energy power plant, which will be the campus’ primary source of power.

Fast Company explains two reasons that are likely behind the curved glass model: “A large curved sheet of glass doesn’t flex as much as a flat one, and has added structural strength compared to a flat one–meaning you could clad more frontage with a curved glass sheet than a flat one. And it’s an aesthetic choice, since a flat, segmented window facade would need more joins and supporting substructure, each element of which would interrupt the otherwise sleek look. With a curved glass ‘face,’ Apple’s new building would thus ascribe to the smooth, sleek design aesthetic of Apple’s products.”

Illustrations of Apple’s proposed campus in Cupertino. Credit: Apple/City of CupertinoImage

Jobs describes the four-story building — which was reportedly designed by British starchitect Norman Foster — as looking “a little like a spaceship landed,” but also says that he hopes that “architecture students will come here to see this, I do think it could be that good.” We’re digging its futuristic, eco-friendly design, and definitely find it more aesthetically appealing than your average office park. What do you think of the structure?