New Details of Norman Foster’s Design for Apple HQ Emerge

More than a spaceship: A better look at Apple Campus 2’s sustainable and architectural features

Is it a spaceship? Is it Arcadia? It’s a new sneak peek of Apple Campus 2!

It was Steve Jobs who first called Apple’s new campus a “spaceship” landing in Cupertino, California, but if one is to believe this new promotional video, that was never his vision for the campus at all.

The video, which was never officially released by the company but came to us via the Youtube channel Unofficially Apple, is all about how Foster and Partners’s gorgeous design connects with its local context. Lord Foster—who, for a long time, wasn’t officially named as the project’s architect—waxes eloquent about what Jobs’s inspirations for the campus really were—the arcadian campus of Stanford university and childhood memories of the area being the fruit basket of America. You know, an ideal mix of digital wizardry and tree-hugging.

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When the designs were unveiled in 2011, commentators found the spaceship metaphor apt. Christopher Hawthorne, writing in the LA Times, said that the design “keeps itself aloof from the world around it to a degree that is unusual even in a part of California dominated by office parks.” Commenting on the plan for the building to sit in a huge field of green (a key talking point in the video), Alissa Walker asked, “Is Apple going to make the grounds open to the public so they can enjoy the fifty billion trees that he’ll be planting?” Neither of these concerns is really addressed by the video, but it does enlist an arborist to tell us how he is bringing California back to Cupertino with the trees he is planting, and Apple’s VP of environmental initiatives to testify that the campus will result in no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

For all the criticisms that can still be made of the campus, the video underlines why Apple leads in design. In light of the proposals its leading competitors have recently released of their own corporate campuses, Lord Foster’s non-spaceship shines in comparison.

Update: The above video has been removed. This video—a low-res version of the original project presentation in Cuptertino—captures much of what was featured in the previous one.

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