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Apple's Next HQ: From Infinite Loop to Millennium Falcon

Apple's Next HQ: From Infinite Loop to Millennium Falcon

Days after pitching his company's upcoming iCloud service to the world at WWDC, Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave the Cupertino City Council a taste of his salesmanship. His goal is to win approval for a new Apple HQ, which he envisions as a massive, circular building that can accommodate 13,000 employees. The mayor of Cupertino has expressed confidence Apple will get the go-ahead.

Apple is planning a futuristic new headquarters building in Cupertino.

The massive proposed building is circular in shape, and company CEO Steve Jobs has likened its design to that of a spaceship.

Jobs personally pitched the idea to the city council earlier this week, and Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong is reportedly very confident Apple will get the thumbs-up.

Apple's proposed new headquarters
Apple's proposed new headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

The proposed new campus will be built on a 150-acre site off Wolfe Road in Cupertino, which will include HP's old campus on Pruneridge Avenue, Rick Kitson, public and environmental affairs director for the city, told MacNewsWorld.

The circular building will be able to accommodate up to 13,000 people. It will be environmentally friendly and offer underground parking, and its surrounding landscape will be thickly planted with trees.

Apple's proposal is expected to be put before the Cupertino city council in the fall of 2012, Kitson said.

"I think Steve Jobs is trying to build something that, in many ways, encapsulates his approach to products," Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told MacNewsWorld.

"This building will be a more long-lived physical legacy for Jobs than products, which change every year," Enderle added.

Apple did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

Some Tidbits About the Building

Apple has reportedly hired London architects Norman Foster and Partners. The firm's projects include the Canary Wharf Underground Station in London, England, the roof of which is laid out as a landscaped park and which has glass canopies covering its three entrances.

"At this point, all we know is what Steve Jobs told us," Cupertino City's Kitson said.

"But we have staff who have been meeting with the appropriate Apple representatives, and because the company has grown up in Cupertino, they know what our general plan requirements are, they know how the city does business, and we expect that everything they ask for, however ambitious, will be within the existing building and general plan codes," Kitson elaborated.

The city will "work very hard to make the project successful," Kitson added.

"Apple does remarkable designs, and we would certainly expect no less with the new campus," Kitson said. "It's a wonderful change, especially because the current site consists of pretty standard office buildings that are an island surrounded by a sea of parking spaces."

Hewlett-Packard has until 2012 to move out of the site Apple purchased.

How Green Will Be My City

Apple's new headquarters will be across Interstate 280 from Apple's current campus at One Infinite Loop. The building and underground parking will reportedly use only 20 percent of the site, and the rest will consist of apricot orchards and park-like landscaping.

Jobs told the Cupertino City Council the new campus would double the number of trees on the site from their present 3,700.

Many of the trees will be apricot trees.

"Cupertino was known for its orchards -- plums, prunes and apricots," Kitson said. "We have some of the richest soil on the planet."

History of the Site, Cupertino and Jobs

The new campus will include a 98-acre lot on Pruneridge Avenue in Cupertino that was the site of HP's old campus. Apple bought the lot in November for an estimated US$300 million.

At that time, Apple said it occupied 57 buildings in Cupertino.

Back in April of 2006, when Jobs attended a Cupertino City Council meeting to give the body an update, he reportedly told councilors Apple had a total of nine properties, and that Apple planned to build a campus of about 50 acres for up to 5,000 employees. Apple already was headquartered at One Infinite Loop.

"We know Apple's been working for many years on a new headquarters," Cupertino City's Kitson said. "However, we haven't yet seen any official documents or plans."

Love at First Sight - Maybe

The proposed design has elicited a positive response from San Francisco Bay Area resident Charles King.

"This shows buildings don't have to be all concrete crap," King told MacNewsWorld. "It's time people used their imagination."

However, award-winning San Francisco-based architect Joshua Aidlin, of Aidlin Darling Design, said it was too early to make an intelligent critique of the design.

Aidlin will be one of three distinguished architects giving a talk on the aesthetics of contemporary architecture June 16 in a presentation hosted by the American Institute of Architects' San Francisco chapter.

"I have too much respect for the intense amount of work a very large team of designers, consultants, and the client go through to birth a design to make an off-handed comment about the design in mid-process," Aidlin told MacNewsWorld.

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