Apple Headquarters $2 billion over budget and it hasn't even started yet

© Foster and Partners via City of Cupertino

Peter Burrows of Bloomberg reports that the cost of the new Foster designed Apple headquarters has ballooned to five billion dollars, from the originally projected three. This won't bother Apple much (it's sitting on a $137 billion pile of cash), and Norman Foster buildings are never cheap. But as Mike Eliason tweets, "whoa. foster's apple project is already $2B over budget and ain't even out of the ground yet?!? holy cow..."

Scott Wyatt, the architect for Google's new complex isn't crazy about it.

“I would be concerned that it would be alienating, as opposed to convening,” Wyatt said. Rather than making it a great place to work, “it seems more like an object, just like the iPhone is an object.”

Right, the iPhone is just an object, doesn't work as a phone at all. I have been very critical of the Apple building, but that comment is nonsensical. But even if I disagree with the whole premise of the sealed off, suburban office complex, there are some attractive features that are listed in the Bloomberg article:

To achieve its goals of a “net-zero energy” campus, the roof of the spaceship will hold 700,000 square feet of solar panels, enough to generate 8 megawatts of power. (That’s enough to power roughly 4,000 homes.) Apple says it’s negotiating contracts for additional solar and wind power....

Of course they don't mention that Steve Jobs said "that there will be an energy center 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:

Arriving by truck will be thousands of prefabricated 26- foot-long modules in various configurations -- bathrooms, utility closets and banks of offices complete with carpets and window treatments, said three of those who spoke with Bloomberg Businessweek about the project.

© Foster and Partners via City of Cupertino

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.

More in Bloomberg See also James Russell on Why Steve Jobs Tapped Norman Foster to Design Apple's Future HQ

Tags: Apple Inc | Green Building

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