Like Kremlinology in the cold war, you take what you can get.
So far as I know, the architectural critics have not been let loose in Apple Park yet. Last year, when it was almost complete, I wrote that "I am going to stop complaining about it." I still hate the planning ideas behind it, but "Norman Foster is one of the world’s great architects and he has designed a masterpiece here. Let’s leave it at that."
But the first three minutes of the latest Apple keynote were their usual humorous bit, this time a Mission Impossible to get something important from the main building to the Steve Jobs Theater, and it is really the first look I have really had at the building interior. Here are some of the things I learned:
It's really seriously minimalist.
They've fixed the glass.
They built really beautiful stairs that people will want to use.
We have written often about how buildings should be designed with attractive stairs. There is a whole building certification system now, Fitwell, set up by Michael Bloomberg, who said "physical activity and healthy eating are the two most important factors in reducing obesity." Good stairs are a big part of this.
They built a big dining area that people won't want to use.
I'd take my lunch outside...
...If it weren't for all the leafblowers!
The theater looks pretty good, too.
When Apple Park was first unveiled, I was seriously negative. I quoted Albert Camus who wrote that "All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant's revolving door." And Jane Jacobs: "Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings. And of course, Richard Florida on "spiky cities where the creative class meet; because creative people like hanging out with other creative people."
I am not sure that any of that has changed, but it is beautiful.