Apple has unveiled a big scale model of its new headquarters to the San Jose Mercury News, describing it as a great improvement over the pile of Hewlett-Packard buildings on the site. CFO Peter Oppenheimer gushes:
"You see the energy and the love and the attention to detail that we've put into this,'' he told this newspaper during a sneak peek of a top-secret, living-room sized model of the building. "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.''
The director of real estate goes on to describe the great environmental features.
"This will be one of the most environmentally sustainable developments on this scale anywhere in the world...A building like this will use 30 percent less energy than a typical corporate building in the Valley. And that's 100-percent renewable energy, which is unheard of on this scale, with most of it produced on-site."
There is no mention of the Transportation Energy Intensity, the true environmental cost of filling 11,000 parking spaces with the cars of Apple employees driving in from all over, because most of them can't afford to live in Cupertino. (See more on this in Let's stop calling the new headquarters for Apple, Facebook and Google "Green": Look at the parking ratios) Also in the Mercury, After complaining about traffic congestion from all those cars, Troy Wolverton goes on:
And for all those traffic and parking problems, nearby residents can expect little benefit from the project. Those bucolic scenes of people walking through the forested grounds or eating lunch in the grass near the spaceship? Those will all be employees -- assuming they're able to break away from their desks. Apple says the campus will be closed to the public, and a fence around the perimeter of the property will guarantee that. The public won't even get to use a long-planned creek trail that would have run through the southeastern corner of the property, because Cupertino acquiesced to Apple's paranoid security concerns.
It won't do much for the rest of the city either:
Area restaurants and shops shouldn't get too excited about having Apple move into the neighborhood, because employees are likely to stick to campus most of the time. Because the main building is set back from the street and the project is in a largely residential area, there are few retail businesses within easy walking distance. Also, Apple is doing what it can to encourage employees to stay on site, including a corporate fitness center and a large cafe inside the campus.
Apple says that this building "is all about green and all about innovation." That is open to debate; I still call it the world's most beautiful prison.
More images at Core77