Tuesday, May 16, 2017 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple’s New Campus

Steven Levy (Hacker News):

For the next two hours, Ive and Whisenhunt walk me through other parts of the building and the grounds. They describe the level of attention devoted to every detail, the willingness to search the earth for the right materials, and the obstacles overcome to achieve perfection, all of which would make sense for an actual Apple consumer product, where production expenses could be amortized over millions of units. But the Ring is a 2.8-million-square-foot one-off, eight years in the making and with a customer base of 12,000. How can anyone justify this spectacular effort?

[…]

The meetings often lasted for five or six hours, consuming a significant amount of time in the last two years of Jobs’ life. He could be scary when he swooped down on a detail he demanded. At one point, Behling recalls, Jobs discussed the walls he had in mind for the offices: “He knew exactly what timber he wanted, but not just ‘I like oak’ or ‘I like maple.’ He knew it had to be quarter-cut. It had to be cut in the winter, ideally in January, to have the least amount of sap and sugar content.

[…]

Those post-Jobs details were largely crafted by Foster + Partners and Ive’s design team, who custom-developed almost every aspect of the building, down to the wash basins and faucets.

[…]

It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by all of this. Ask me sometime about the fonts in the elevator or the hidden pipes in the bathroom commodes. And it’s hard not to return again and again to the same question: Is Apple Park the arcadia outlined by Jobs in his public farewell, or is it an anal-retentive nightmare of indulgence gone wild?

In my experience, these sort of architectural marvels end up not being very functional, but hopefully they’ve bucked that trend. If it works as intended, this will be a great investment in the future, but it also sounds like there was a huge opportunity cost. Apple’s attention is its most limited resource. Apple Park’s design and construction has consumed a lot of time for key people these last several years, at the same time it seems like entire product lines have been neglected.

3 Comments

So it sounds like employees will still have doors. Not sure if there will be roofs, though...

I'm be curious to see how the pods will look like once inhabited. Because right now, they remind me more of nice looking holding cells.

There's also something I don't get about the blocks of pods. Basically you have this giant circle with huge curved glass panels. But none of the pods is getting daylight or a view. It's just like being in the middle seat in an airplane.

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