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Apple CFO Oppenheimer reveals 3D model of new Apple HQ

updated 09:31 pm EDT, Fri October 11, 2013

'A place for the most creative teams ... to innovate for decades to come'

Apple's Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer may have at first seemed to be an unusual choice for hosting a sneak-peek at a very large 3D architectural model of Apple's forthcoming Campus 2, known already as "the Spaceship" three years before it is even planned to open -- but like his colleagues, Oppenheimer has a gift for selling dreams. Along with Senior Director of Real Estate and Facilities Dan Whisenhunt, the CFO gave reporters a tour of the model ahead of a Cupertino City Council vote.

While the project has already met with support from authorities, the first of two crucial approval votes will be held on October 15, giving official preliminary approval to the new headquarters and allowing some pre-construction groundbreaking and other activities to begin. A final vote will be held on November 19, with formal construction slated to begin shortly thereafter.

The present site for the new headquarters, which was formerly owned by HP, is a 175-acre parcel near the current HQ. Apple's vision for the area turns it from 80 percent asphalt and old buildings into 80 percent open space and parkland, with a round main building and smaller, multi-storey parking garages that will house some 14,000 employees (still only a fraction of Apple's workforce). The overall design, in addition to looking appropriately futuristic, is heavy with two main concepts: collaboration and eco-consciousness.

Computer-generated images and drawings have been used to sell the vision -- itself a collaboration between architect Sir Norman Foster, Apple designer Sir Jonathan Ive and former CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs -- but the debut of the formerly top-secret 3D physical model makes it even easier to understand exactly how the plan will work. The model also makes it obvious that the project, in the words of the San Jose Mercury News, is "a world-class real estate project" that promises to be both functional and beautiful -- but also may add to Silicon Valley's already-problematic traffic.

"We have treated this project just as we would any Apple product. And this will be a place for the most creative and collaborative teams in the industry to innovate for decades to come," Oppenheimer told reporters. "You [can] see the energy and the love and the attention to detail that we've put into this."

He added that the key concepts of the design are "collaboration and fluidity," saying the company found that "found that rectangles or squares or long buildings or buildings with more than four stories would inhibit collaboration," and that's why the design team eventually settled on a circle and a "walkable" building. Whisenhunt called it "one of the most environmentally sustainable developments on this scale anywhere in the world," saying the design allowed it to use 30 percent less energy than a typical corporate building, and would draw from "100 percent renewable energy, which is unheard of on this scale -- with most of it produced on-site."

As is typical of Apple building projects, a number of areas of concern have been carefully thought through and addressed. Natural ventilation and radiant cooling will all but eliminate the need for air-conditioning until the hottest times of the year; the lighting will be LED-based and smart-controlled to turn off in unused areas and adapt to microclimates in the building; even the excavated dirt will be recycled into berms -- avoiding having noisy, dusty trucks haul out the original soil and later bring in fill. Some 7,000 fruit, olive and oak trees will eventually be planted on the site, which was once a fruit orchard and reminiscent of the original foliage of the valley, pre-development.

The building is also about fostering collaboration -- a concept pioneered by Jobs particularly when he was CEO of Pixar. The late Apple co-founder was also behind the arboreal passion and eco-friendly design, helping develop practical methods to accomplish the massive scale of curved glass that will be used to help light the building. The main design and environmental concepts "may have started with [Jobs,] but it's embedded in all of us," said Oppenheimer.

He said that Jobs, who started his technology career thanks to some mentoring by HP founder David Packard, "loved the area and especially Cupertino. It's always been and always will be Apple's home." While the company will be retaining its original headquarters as well, the new campus will "provide a very open-spaced system, so that at one point in the day you may be in offices on one side of the circle and find yourself on the other side later that day," Oppenheimer said. "And in addition to bringing the best office building ever, we wanted to return this beautiful piece of land to its natural state. That's part of the Apple culture."



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Inkling

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 07-25-06

    I'd be interested in knowing the rationale for that change to a black roof, both on the building itself and over the separately pictured parking garage.

    Note too what could prove a major mistake: "He said that Jobs, who started his technology career thanks to some mentoring by HP founder David Packard, "loved the area and especially Cupertino. It's always been and always will be Apple's home."

    Currently, software development is spared many of horrors the state of California imposes on those who manufacture and farm there. But as those other businesses relocate elsewhere, the state will have to tax Silicon Valley to afford its costly government services and cover those badly underfunded public employee retirement schemes. One of the state's largest cash cows is obviously Apple.

    Telling the state's politicians that you'll never leave is a very foolish move. Apple might as well add to the building's design a series of flashing neon signs that say, "Tax me. I won't move.'
    And that's really odd, given how much trouble Apple takes to avoid federal corporate taxes.

    Keep in mind that, while Apple may regard the state so highly it puts, "Designed in California" on its products, the rest of the country is starting to see the state like once industry-dominant Detroit, that is as a place where noting works anymore. In perhaps 20 years, "Made in California" will have the same pizazz that "Made in Detroit" now has. Sad. That did not have to be.

    Even now, naming the next version of OS X after a California beach popular with surfers carries with it a weird, 1960s beach party film flavor. Perhaps they should turn excerpts from this once-famous film into ads for Mavericks:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbq_aVG7DCk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkhGmZPJIHY

    The opening of the scenes should work quite well and the girls are certainly cute. Even the dancing back then looks like today's iPod/iTunes ads, as it the attitude that dancing like that is the ultimate fun.

    But all that is leaving in the past rather than facing hard facts about life. Fix it or leave it.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    What the hell are you rambling about?

    You're actually a published author?

  1. icerabbit

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-03-11

    " I'd be interested in knowing the rationale for that change to a black roof, both on the building itself and over the separately pictured parking garage. "

    It is supposed to be a photovoltaic roof.

  1. coffeetime

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-15-06

    From top view this building looks like the new Mac Pro buried in the ground. The black roof top could be solar roof (agree with icerabbit). The new Toyota Prius has the black solar roof (nicely blend in with the car) that auto powers the ventilation when parked under the hot sun.

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Inkling: as has been pointed out elsewhere, Apple makes no effort whatsoever to "avoid paying federal taxes." Their tax rate (publicly available on all their quarterly financial reports) is around 25-26 percent. In fact, Apple pays more in corporate taxes than most companies (ExxonMobil and GE spring to mind). It is responsible for 1/40th of ALL the corporate taxes paid in the US, in fact, and its rate is double the average for large US corporations.

    This article may be of interest to you: http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/01/news/economy/corporate-tax-rate/index.html

    I think where you are getting the false impression that Apple "avoids" US taxes is from a combination of bad media reporting and your misunderstanding of the difference between income earned in the Americas and income earned elsewhere.

    Apple has said that it won't "patriate" (it's not really correct to say "re" patriate) profits earned from overseas sales because it has already paid corporate tax on it in Ireland (12.5 percent), and because it can (and will) use that money for foreign expansion, distribution and other costs. It makes more than enough money in the US to run its US operations, so there is no longer any need to "bring its foreign profits home." Apple (correctly in my view) objects to the double taxation, particularly when corporate tax levels are (in theory) very high (as seen above, US corporations don't actually pay the top rate).

    Apple has proposed a lowering of both the corporate tax rate (to about the percentage it pays, 25 percent) and the elimination of exceptions and other corporate welfare that would mean the effective rate (see article above) would go up, but the "top tax rate" everyone's so afraid of would come down -- leading some US corporations to "repatriate" their profits, at least in theory. President Obama's proposal is almost identical, meaning it is Congress that is holding things up.

    As for your blah-blah-blah about California (which I think you must have stored in a macro, you paste basically the same tl;dr in every post about how well Apple's doing), I don't live or work in California so I won't argue it -- but I find it odd that most of the richest companies in the US and the world choose to locate there if its as horrible as you claim. The quasi-libertarian political comic Bill Maher seems to think you have it wrong, and I haven't seen any credible challenges to his facts in the piece:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJFuZpYWr-k

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