Apple employees have to pack up their desks: The company announced that its spaceship-like campus, now dubbed Apple Park, will open in April.
Apple Park is a 175-acre campus housing a 2.8 million-square-foot main building; a 1,000-seat theater named after Steve Jobs; a 100,000 square-foot fitness center for Apple employees; research and development facilities; a public café and Apple Store; and "two miles of walking and running paths for employees, plus an orchard, meadow and pond within the ring’s interior grounds." The company practically built a miniature metropolis for its workers.
Roughly 12,000 of Apple's 100,000 employees will work from Apple Park. (The others are likely distributed around the world in much less glamorous buildings.) The move-in process is expected to take six months, and construction will continue on some of the buildings during that time. The Steve Jobs Theater, where Apple is probably going to host some employee meetings and press events, was given a vague opening date of "later this year."
Apple noted that the entire campus, not just the namesake theater, is meant as a memorial for Jobs, who died of pancreatic cancer in October 2011.
“Steve invested so much of his energy creating and supporting vital, creative environments. We have approached the design, engineering and making of our new campus with the same enthusiasm and design principles that characterize our products,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer. “Connecting extraordinarily advanced buildings with rolling parkland creates a wonderfully open environment for people to create, collaborate and work together. We have been extremely fortunate to be able to work closely, over many years, with the remarkable architectural practice Foster + Partners.”
Apple Park is a titanic campus among other companies' giant headquarters. Facebook, Google, and other Silicon Valley companies have all built giant complexes where employees can eat, drink, and basically live their entire lives without ever having to leave their employer's sight. It will be interesting to see how Apple employees take to this new campus. How easy will it be to "think different," as the company's advertising slogan went, in the company's new Mecca?
At least they can do it with a clean conscience. Apple Park "replaces 5 million-square-feet of asphalt and concrete with grassy fields and over 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees, and is powered by 100 percent renewable energy." The main building also uses natural ventilation, so it should "require no heating or air conditioning for nine months of the year," and Apple said its 17MW on-site solar system is among the largest in the world.