Apple Shows Off Renders of Its Upcoming Spaceship Headquarters

Even as Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and its archrival Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930) vie for dominance of the consumer electronics market, they’re also battling to see which can have the most impressive new piece of office real estate in Silicon Valley.  Samsung’s efforts focus on a San Jose, Calif.-based $300M USD “green” campus featuring twin towers that will initially stand six stories tall.
Apple’s plan is even more ambitious.  Co-designed by Steve Jobs and famous English architect Sir Norman Robert Foster — both of whose life and work have been celebrated (or alternatively scrutinized) by motion pictures — the new building is located 15 minutes from the Samsung building in Apple’s hometown of Cupertino, Calif.
The four-story ring (or Infinite Loop?) shaped Apple office building will cover roughly 3.1 million square feet and will feature green landscaping indoor and out, expanding the local campus form 4,500 trees to 7,500 by the time the project is complete in 2016.  Appropriately, the local flora will include a wide variety of flowering fruit trees, including cherries, plums, and apricot trees, with persimmons.  The campus will consist of 80 percent landscaping.
While the construction of the cutting-edge building won’t wrap up until 2016, Norman Foster’s firm gave Wired an exclusive sneak peek at the upcoming campus, via a series of design renders.  The full collection can be found here, but here’s some views from Foster + Partners via Wired.

Cars and buses approach the new headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

An aerial view shows the main building.

Much of the new headquarters’ parking is underground, to allow more green landscaping and “less disruption of natural spaces”.

Many employees will arrive via local mass transit at a special entrance.

There will be above-ground parking at the southern side of campus as well.

Even that space will be covered in greenery.

A car approaches a vistor center.  From here visitors will be directed to the visitor entrance at the main headquarters.

Visitors enter through a special entrance surrounded by flowering cherry trees.

Employees march in a separate entrance via white towering staircases.

The building facade is covered in curved glass panes.  The industry standard for such panes is a 1/8th inch spacing, but Steve Jobs demanded a 1/32nd inch spacing, which required Foster + Partners to develop cutting edge glass laying techniques.

Such demands have led the headquarters to overrun its budget, at $5B USD and counting, but with well over $100B USD in its cash pile, Apple isn’t worried about cost.

Most of the lighting of the building comes from sunlight on sunny days.

Trees and wild grasses will decorate a natural space within the ring.

Banners advertising Apple’s prized designs will hang in the open corridors, trade show style.

There will be cavernous indoor and outdoor eating/working spaces.

Employees work and graze outdoors.

Employees will have to walk to get to the auditorium.

Employees stop just before reaching it.

The actual presentation room is underground.

This allows Apple to maximize the amount of “green” landscaping on the campus.

Employees filter in for a meeting.

You can see the main headquarters building in the distance from the adjunct auditorium facility.

Well that’s a quick peek, head over to the Wired piece for a few more pictures and building layouts.