10 April 2013 — The price tag of Apple’s new company campus has ballooned to almost US$5 billion (A$4.7 billion), up from less than US$3 Billion (A$2.5 billion), in two years.

And not everyone’s a fan.

Bloomberg reports that the building, unveiled by former chief executive officer Steve Jobs four months before he died, will accommodate 12,000 employees in a single circular building.

Jobs told the media the four-storey ring, to be two-thirds the size of the Pentagon and set among 71 hectares of trees was “like a spaceship”.

“We have a shot at building the best office building in the world. I really do think that architecture students will come here to see it,” he said.

Features include:

  • Generation of 100 per cent of electricity through 16.3 square metres of solar panels, enough to generate 8 megaWatts of power.
  • Climate responsive technology including window treatments that automatically open or close to let in just the right amount of light, wind and fresh air to maintain a comfortable temperature.
  • 6000 trees with almost all the roads and parking spaces hidden underground.
  • Plenty of cafeterias, including one that could handle lunch for 3000 employees.
  • 12-metre, floor-to-ceiling panes of concave glass from Germany.
  • Prefabricated eight metre-long modules in various configurations including bathrooms, utility closets and banks of offices complete with carpets and window treatments,

The building is being designed by architect Foster & Partners, with the contractor a joint venture of DPR Construction, in Redwood City, California, and prefabrication specialists Skanska USA Building in New York.

Meanwhile, Treehugger.com reports that while Jobs has said the campus will be net zero energy, he also said ‘that there will be an energy centre on the campus that will use natural gas as its main energy supply’.

“Converting natural gas to electricity doesn’t make it net zero energy.

“Nor do they count the gasoline being burned to get to the 10,500 parking spaces. (see Let’s stop calling the new headquarters for Apple, Facebook and Google “Green”: Look at the parking ratios).

“There will also be automatic opening windows and Big Ass Fans. And, it’s partially prefabricated:

“Like the iPhone, it is all being built to higher than normal tolerances. Like the Apple store, it is pushing glass technology to the limits, with the biggest curved panels ever made. As a design, as a building, it is a wonder. But I stand by my original criticism, where I called it…

“The antithesis of Apple.

“So somebody left an iphone in a bar once, that doesn’t mean that you have to put everyone into a gleaming white panopticon, isolated from the rest of the world.”

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  1. Uh… the sun only shines on the earth with a maximum of around 1000 watts per square meter. So over 16.3 square meters that’s 0.16MW even with perfectly efficient cells.