The design enthusiast Norman Foster is an inspiration, who began his career in London as a self-practicing architectural firm, Foster + Partners in 1967. While taking small steps in his journey, he managed to carve out his design style with clarity. He firmly believed that inspiration is everywhere. Deeply passionate about locomotives, products, and nature, he connected every single thing to architecture and design. According to his philosophy, infrastructure influences a building’s architecture. He won the 21st Pritzker award in 1999 at the age of 63, for his well-designed projects like Reichstag and the Gherkin. In 2006, he was offered to design the new office campus for Apple in Cupertino, California. He spent the whole day with Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, listing down all the details of his imagination in a sketchbook. As a great leader, Steve Jobs was dreaming of a Utopian workplace for his employees, which will decide the future of the company for the next hundred years. A perfect workplace will ensure to reflect the same energy in the products they create. The dream of Steve Jobs, the expressive and valuing design style of Norman Foster, and the hard work of the team helped complete the project successfully in 2017.

Apple Park is the best office building in the world, constructed on a site of area 175 acres. It all started from the vision of Steve Jobs to design something different, taking into consideration the mental and physical wellness of people working in the company. He also envisioned the building to accommodate 12000 employees altogether. Evolving the form of the building as a circular ring, The campus is the fusion of a transparent workplace, with the 2-storey fitness center, research blocks, a 1000 people auditorium, and a Steve Jobs theater surrounding the spaceship to create more interest. An apple cafe is designed in the office space for the employees, with a large entrance leaf to match the four- storeys height. The philosophies of the renowned architect Norman Foster and his team in Foster + Partners are well emphasized in Apple Park.

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The dream of the former CEO of Apple_©Fosters+Partners, Kier+wright, Apple, Arup

1) Challenging the conventional workspace

Norman Foster, as an architect, has always believed in challenging the traditional aspects of design. Finding the simplicity in a complex structure is what he aims to work on. He has always tried to think out of the box, about what can be done that is different, more functional, and simple. Apple Park allowed him to work on an office project and create a space of interest and transparency for people. This was the vision of Steve Jobs to create an office environment less hostile and more engaging. Apple Park challenged the conventional workspace with a ring-shaped building with a courtyard in the center, surrounded by all greenery. A connection between inside and out is felt always while walking by the edges.

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A place ensuring better ideas and better productivity_©Fosters+Partners, Kier+wright, Apple, Arup

2) Working with Nature

Great architects always value nature and work towards creating good infrastructure. As said by Norman Foster, “Building’s architecture influences the future of architecture only when the infrastructure is good”. There is always a need for manifestation between nature and building, which describes a good environment. In Apple Park, the circular block is surrounded by 9000 drought-resistant trees- cherry, apricot, olive, oak wood, fruit trees, and varieties of apples. The green spaces are twenty percent of the total site area and thus create an optimistic space to work.

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20% site area is covered with greenery_©Apple

3) A good blend of materials

It is a 2.8 million square feet steel and glass structure. It stands four storeys tall and can easily hold 12000 people at a time. It is the first building with 360 degrees curved glass on the facade. The walls are provided with 45 feet safety glass panels and fin-like canopies that envelope the building. Other than the office building, the fitness center is designed using stone from a quarry in Kansas. Normal oak or teak wood is not used in the building, instead, recycled wood is used throughout. Working on details and satisfying clients is the best quality of Foster + Partners. An immense focus on the design of door handles and flat entrance doors is done in the building. Designers at Apple wanted to keep things simple in the working space to avoid any hindrance in their thought process. Comfort blend with furniture encouraged to design of seats that are adjustable with two buttons.

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_Stone from Kansas quarry in fitness center _©Dan Winters
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Applecafe with large glass door leaf and wooden furniture _©Yutaka Tsutano

4) Energy-efficient building

It is a LEED Platinum-rated building and uses 100% renewable resources. Sustainable design focuses to create a breathable structure. The onsite insulation of solar arrays produces 17 megawatts of energy which is sufficient for the building’s 75% energy needs. Steve hated air conditioning and always dreamt of a naturally ventilated work culture, where each one knows the time of the day, instead of a completely enclosed structure. The circular office building is structured in such a way, that heating and cooling occur simultaneously by exchanging the air inside out. Natural thermal comfort and natural lighting reflect positivity in the surroundings.

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Solar arrays producing 17 MW energy for 75% building requirements_©Dan Winters

5) Health consideration
The main aim of Foster + Partners is to create a lively space for occupants. Mental and physical well-being were the essential factors considered while designing Apple Park. The campus comprises a two-storey Yoga center and fitness area for its employees. The inner courtyard creates walking and jogging trails. Moreover, there are bicycles available and a path defined for good circulation. Apple Park is not just a conventional office building, it is competent to highlight the significance of human health, values, and a good environment.

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Jogging trails and fitness center in lush greens to ensure good health_©Fosters+Partners, creed, Apple, Arup

References:

  1. Whittacker, Zack (2012). Apple Campus 2: Revised concepts of new Cupertino campus. Available at: https://www.zdnet.com/pictures/apple-campus-2-revised-concepts-of-the-new-cupertino-campus/ [Accessed on 31st October 2022]
  2. Levy, Steven (2017). One More thing. Available at: https://www.wired.com/2017/05/apple-park-new-silicon-valley-campus/?curator=TechREDEF [Accessed on 31st October 2022]
  3. Basulto, David (2011). More about Foster + Partners’s new Apple Campus in Cupertino. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/160044/more-about-foster-partners-new-apple-campus-in-cupertino [Accessed on 31st October 2022]
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