Apple has released a new video promoting their new headquarters, seen in a glimpse of their environmental efforts for Earth Day. I have complained about this building since it was revealed, primarily because of its attitude toward urban design. However after watching this video, it is very clear that it is a marvel of architecture, engineering and landscape architecture.
It may be a suburban office park surrounded by parking garages, but it is the sexiest and greenest suburban office park ever imagined.
Lisa Jackson explains in the video that because of the climate in Cupertino, the building will be naturally ventilated 75% of the time. Fresh air will be drawn in through vents detailed into the ceiling; nothing can disrupt that sweep of floor to ceiling curved glass. Deep sunshades shield the windows from direct sunlight.
They have mocked the whole thing up full scale, testing out systems, office layouts, furnishing and lighting. They have pulled up trees and are storing them to replant along with native species. They are landscaping 80% of the site.
Watching the video and listening to Norman Foster, learning about Jobs' love of the Stanford campus, his memories of Cupertino before sprawl, it becomes a lot more obvious why the building is the way it is, and of course where it is. Jobs was a child of suburbia, this is where he grew up and what he loved.
I have called this building anti-urban, designed for cars, a gated city. I took a tongue-in-cheek look at it in an attempt at retro-futurism here. It remains all of those things.
But it is also going to be astonishingly beautiful, a technical tour-de-force and on its own terms, a model of modern green building.