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Inside The $5 Billion Headquarters

by Jessica Harris

What looks like a giant spaceship parked in the lush flats of Cupertino, CA is actually tech giant Apple’s new HQ, fittingly named the Apple Park. This stunning architecture sprawls across 176 acres of land and might just be one of the most stunning campuses in the world. Despite its incredibly futuristic looks, the Apple Park has been a long time in the making with Steve Jobs first announced the project way back in 2006, it took eight long years of planning proposals and permit applications. But by 2014, construction was well underway, and by 2017 the vast Apple workforce was already starting to move in. 

The massive ring-shaped building is now an iconic symbol of the Apple brand and is a fantastic testament to the company’s dedication to effortless design, sustainability, and the future of technology. It was originally estimated that the campus would cost just half a billion dollars to put together.

However, the land alone cost $160 million and the cost quickly started to overrun by 2011. The budget in place. Would multiply to a little under $3 billion, and when it was all said and done, Apple were looking at a bill closer to five a $5 billion bill is a big sum of money for any company to justify any company except Apple. That is who’s currently worth $2 trillion and is estimated to profit around $60 billion by the end of this year alone.

So where was all that money spent? And what makes the Apple Park so incredible? For starters, the campus is made up of multiple buildings. However, 80% of the land is still considered to be green space. Apple and the designers put a lot of effort into making the park fit seamlessly into nature. Planting over 9000 drought-resistant trees throughout the ground, including cherry, apricot, olive, and of course, a few varieties of Apple to encourage workers to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The grounds feature 3.2 kilometers worth of various walking and running trails, as well as 1000 bikes that can be used to commute between the buildings. Other lifestyle facilities include a gym, Wellness Center, and a couple of basketball courts. There’s also a huge two-story yoga studio where the desk. Keycom winds down and ease out their back pain. The campus really does look after its staff and the environment too. All of the buildings are incredibly eco-friendly with the main ring construction being home to one of the world’s largest rooftop solar farms. The solar-covered roof generates up to 17 megawatts of power, which is enough to meet 75% of the campus’s energy demand during peak times. The rest of the campuses’ needs are met by on-site fuel cells powered by biofuel or natural gas. The main building also utilizes a natural ventilation system, meaning that it doesn’t use traditional heating and cooling. If it’s for nine months of the year, furthering the spaces, green credentials nicknamed the spaceship or the ring the Central Circular building is quite a sight to behold. Sitting four stories high, it has over 1.2 million square feet of office space and enough room to accommodate up to 12,000 members of staff to bring the outside world in, the designers incorporated a lot of glass into the build and the construction even features the largest curved glass panes in the world. There are 800 the 45-foot tall curved glass panels around the building’s exterior. And around 3000 smaller panels to be found within the low energy LED, natural sunlight, and a sheer amount of see-through feel material make the spaceship a stunningly bright place to be, which I’m sure is great at keeping the sun. 12,000 staff members feeling energized throughout their long working days despite being hidden from sight.

One of the most amazing spaceship features happens to be found deep underground. The main ring is one of the few buildings in the US and the world to make use of base isolation, which protects the ring from even the worst of Californians. Earthquakes, the isolation system is made up of 692 huge stainless steel plates which allow the building to shift up to four feet in any given direction without causing any structural damage. Also to be found underground as an expansive parking area and road network that’s completely hidden from sight. Putting these amenities underground was an absolute necessity in order to maximize the green space in and around the Apple Park. Other features to be found around the campus include seven cafes, with the largest being sprawled across 3 levels with enough seating for 3000. People, the huge catering team says it has enough capacity to feed around 15,000 people every lunchtime, so there’s definitely some growing room. If Apple decides to expand, its already huge workforce also within the perks grounds is the inspiring Apple Auditorium, formerly known as the Steve Jobs Theatre.

The spectacular circular glass building mirrors the spaceship in its form and is topped with the world’s largest carbon fiber roof. The theater includes a 42-foot high glass elevator that takes guests underground to the 1000 seat auditorium. Made from chemically. Tempered glass, the elevator is also considered to be the tallest freestanding glass elevator in the world. Other buildings dotted around the park include a 100,000 square foot fitness center, two 300,000 square foot research and development facilities, a care clinic and the visitor centre, which happens to be the only building in the entire park. The guests can visit without a pass. The Apple Park Visitor Center is all under one roof, but it’s divided into fall. Very special sections, a 10,000 square foot Apple store filled with the latest Apple products. A 2000 square foot cafe. An observation deck where you can look over the campus and a designated AR experience area. The AR area includes a scale model of the entire Apple Park offering visitors and employers look at life on campus. The Apple Park is so full of amazing features and amenities more so than almost any other work environment in the world. Apple has thought of everything from their environmental footprint to keeping their workforce full up with food, leisure and creativity. There have been a few complaints about the Open Plan office spaces, with some workers saying that they are distracting. Counterproductive and removes opportunity for privacy. But still, the futuristic facility has been incredibly well received and has set a new world standard in how amazing a work environment can truly be.

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