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What we know about Apple’s new campus — and what we will learn Tuesday

Posted by Yijy8kNUMO on September 11, 2017

While thousands of employees have already moved into their offices at Apple Park and had a chance to explore the spaceship-shaped campus in its full regalia, the rest of us will get our first peek at the starchitect-designed doughnut next Tuesday when the company is set to unveil its latest iPhone in its first big event at its new HQ.

With the press and analysts as our eyes and ears, we can all do our own assessment of Apple Park, or at least the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater which, according to some reports, will be a mind-blowing venue for Apple to show off its latest and greatest inventions. And while Apple has been typically quiet about the new building, a slew of press reports have pointed out many of the campus’ more compelling features.

Here are some of them:

The Steve Jobs Theater

  • a state-of-the-art auditorium built partially underground, the venue has leather seats that reportedly cost $14,000 a piece
  • there’s a hidden product-demonstration room that will be unveiled to the attendees after the presentation, according to Bloomberg
  • the theater’s perched atop a hill on the southeastern corner of the 175-acre campus near North Tantau Road because Apple reportedly wanted it raised up in the air as a tribute to the man it’s named after: “It’s on a hill, at one of the highest points on this land,” CEO Tim Cook told Wired. “It felt like him.”
  • the theater’s entrance is a giant silver disc held up by 20-feet-long glass panels to give the illusion that the disc is floating
  • blueprints of the building show a staircase leading from ground level into the auditorium
  • the auditorium has two glass elevators
  • the demonstration room is likely to be found behind a retractable, circular wall that shrouds the new products before the presentation, according to Neil Cybart, who runs the popular Apple analysis blog Above Avalon;

The Grounds

  • the 30-acre park in the core of the doughnut is called “the parkland”
  • this area will be used for Friday afternoon “beer bashes,” including live music
  • 2,000 custom bikes made by Public Bikes and painted “Apple gray” are available for employees to get around, along with electric golf carts and a commuter shuttle between the parking structures and the ring
  • 7,000 newly planted trees to satisfy Jobs’ desire to turn the new campus into a pre-Silicon Valley landscape, reminiscent of the days this place was called The Valley of Heart’s Delight for its concentration of orchards and flowering trees

The Offices

  • with soundproofed walls, many feature giant European white oak collaboration tables, adjustable-height desks, and floors with aluminum-covered hinged panels that hide cables and wires, and brushed-steel grating for air diffusion
  • hallways around the perimeter of the main building are set up to encourage casual meetings, some featuring chairs designed by noted Twentieth-century cabinetmaker Poul Kjærholm
  • four floors of offices to accommodate 12,000 employees, with the top floor home to the executive suites, including Apple’s chief designer Jony Ive’s design studio;  the Apple Watch team and part of the group working on Siri will occupy a fraction of the third floor; the Mac and iPad divisions will be interspersed with software teams on the middle level
  • whiteboards, which are synonymous with Silicon Valley-styled brainstorming, built right into the floor-to-ceiling sliding doors in the central area of different “pods” occupied by employees

The Main Cafeteria

  • four-level atrium with 440,000-pound glass doors that open on both sides to let air pass through
  • giant columns covered in blasted steel that resembles the aluminum used on Apple’s phones
  • a kitchen that can serve 14,000 lunches a day

Miscellaneous Bells & Whistles

  • subscribing to the belief that workers are happier and more productive when surrounded by natural light and fresh air, the building’s design team made sure the structure had plenty of both
  • pieces of custom furniture in a common area designed by Japanese industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa
  • concrete on the ceilings has been polished to mimic the terrazzo floor in the staircases, right down to the same flecks of rock
  • a cutting-edge ventilation system that streams outside air through gaps in the glass walls and then cools it down with chilled water
  • an interior cooling cooling set at between 68 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit
  • the building gets about 80 percent of its power from solar panels on the roof and from fuel cells; the rest comes from other sources of renewable energy
  • recycled wood has been used for much of the interior space
  • 11,000 parking places
  • perhaps mimicking the design of Apple’s products, the elevator buttons resemble the iPhone’s home button; one former manager even likened the toilet’s sleek design to the device
  • a former construction manager told Reuters that Apple insisted that the “the ceiling – composed of large panels of polished concrete – should be immaculate inside and out, just as the inside of the iPhone’s audio jack is a finished product”
  • and each of the thousands of ceiling panels needed to get the approval of both Apple’s in-house team and the general contractor.

Source: The Mercury News, September 8, 2017 10:29am

Author: Patrick May and Seung Lee

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