Apple's New Core

Silicon Valley Giants Are Launching Massive Projects For New Office Spaces

 
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PHOTO COURTESY OF APPLE

U.S. tech giants seem to be falling in love with splashy architecture. Two years after Facebook completed a project to build a new headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, USA designed by Frank Gehry, Apple began moving employees into its new spaceship-like headquarters in May. Plans to build “Apple Park,” a 2.8-million-square-foot (260,129-square-meter) circular building in Cupertino, California, were begun by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 2009. The estimated US$5 billion project features a theater shaped like a MacBook Air laptop, solar panels and a 100,000-square-foot (9,290-square-meter) fitness center. “It's all about the fixation on the customer, and the customers here are our people, our employees,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told Wired.

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Apple Park in Cupertino, California, USA. Left, a detail of the main building at Apple Park. Below, a rendering of Google's Charleston East development

PHOTO BY JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

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PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOGLE

Settling on the new building's design involved lots of back and forth between British architect Norman Foster's 100-person team and Apple's internal design group. The company's designers frequently requested prototypes of specific design elements.

Also in Silicon Valley, Google is planning to build a new campus from scratch not far from its current headquarters. The project, known as Charleston East, has faced stakeholder challenges in the form of unhappy neighbors. Some residents in the neighborhood surrounding the site of the 595,000-square-foot (55,277-square-meter) office, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2019, disapproved of the project. They feared increased congestion and an even tighter and more expensive housing market. Google's team seems to have heard the complaints: They describe the new facility as a “destination for the local community.” The first floor will be open to the public during the day, and the complex will feature bike paths, restaurants and retail opportunities for local businesses. —Jessica Boden

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