“Spectacular is an understatement.”
With those words, Cupertino Council Member Orrin Mahoney greeted Steve Jobs’ presentation to the council about his plans for a new HQ, just a few blocks down the road from the existing one located at One Infinite Loop.
Jobs replied with characteristic simplicity: “I think we have a shot at building the best office building in the world.”
Take a few minutes to watch his presentation and you’ll probably agree. This is Apple doing exactly the same with its headquarters as it does with its computers, its software, and its retail stores: ensuring the design is the best, no matter what the cost.
The building is circular. Apple has become expert at designing large chunks of glass, Jobs tells the Council, thanks to its investment in retail locations. In the centre of the circle is a tree-lined courtyard. Surrounding it are more trees, including apricot orchards that used to cover the site before it was bought by its previous owners, Hewlett-Packard.
Listing the benefits just as he lists features in software products, Jobs spells it out: The new building will be bigger, more efficient, more ambitious, and less intrusive than what’s there already. Indeed, than what exists anywhere else.
The 150 acre site will provide working space for 12,000 people in the primary circular structure. There will also be underground parking, an additional above-ground parking lot, an auditorium, test buildings, and more. Yep, it’s spectacular all right.
If you want an idea of what a huge circular building looks like, grab your Google Maps and head over to the west of England, where the secretive British intelligence agency GCHQ is based in a far-from-secret UFO-shaped building on the edge of the town of Cheltenham. This thing is home to 5,500 staff, just half the size of the thing Apple is planning. But if you happen to stroll or drive by, it dwarfs everything around it.
All being well, Apple plans to start work next year, and will be moving into the mothership in 2015. Still plenty of time to sell a lot of iPads between now and then.