Apple is one of the biggest companies in the world, so it's no surprise that it is fast outgrowing its current headquarters. As a result, Apple has spent years building a complement to its campus at One Infinite Loop in Cupertino, California.
The new campus is officially known as Apple Park, but before it was named many had dubbed it the Spaceship Campus due to its flying-saucer-like design. It is located on the former Hewlett Packard campus.
As of April 2017, the 175-acre campus has reportedly been welcoming employees, but it's set to take more than six months to move all 12,000 employees into the new site, and some construction will continue over the summer even as employees move in.
One of the most important additions to the Park is the Steve Jobs Theater, which is likely to be the only part of the building we see regularly. It's a 1,000-seat auditorium located on a hill, one of the highest points within the Apple Park, and will no doubt be the site of the company's future product launches – something Apple promised at its ''Let us loop you in' launch event in March 2016.
During that event, Apple CEO Tim Cook also said about the campus: "Steve's vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come. The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We've achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy."
Most of the power for the facilities will come from an "on-site low carbon Central Plant", according to an Apple Insider report. The structure is outfitted with solar panels around the top of the building, too.
Additionally, 7,000 trees are set to surround the campus. Apple has hired a leading arborist from Stanford University to help landscape the area and restore some of the indigenous plant life, including apricot orchards.
The new campus will reportedly use recycled water, too, and will use 13,300 feet of pipeline to share the supply between it and Cupertino.
Apple Park design
British firm Foster+Partners is the architects of this colossal building. Previous projects include Wembley Stadium, Canary Wharf Underground Station, Stansted Airport, London's Millenium Bridge, HSBC HQ at Canary Wharf, the Maclaren Technology Centre and the Hearst Tower in New York.
In an interview with Architectural Record, Foster+Partners founder and chairman Norman Foster explained that he was inspired by the idea of a London square, where houses surround a park. This eventually evolved into the present design: a circular structure surrounding a large outdoor park.
Foster also explained that, when planning the layout of the building, the architects had to consider the different departments that would need to work together, and considered vertical proximities as well as horizontal ones.
"Of course, you have got an enormous range of skills in this building: from software programmers to designers, marketing, retail," he said. "But you can move vertically in the building as well as horizontally. The proximity, the adjacencies are very, very carefully considered."
Foster has also said that Apple's late CEO Steve Jobs requested that he be considered a part of the team rather than the client. Jobs wanted the new campus to reflect the Californian landscapes from his childhood. He was inspired by a large space known as the Main Quad on the Stanford campus.
Apple Park, which is more than a mile around, also includes a visitor centre, with an Apple Store and café open to the public.
That's in addition to a 100,000-square-foot fitness centre for Apple employees, 300,000 square feet of secure research and development facilities, and two miles of walking and running paths for employees, underground parking plus an orchard, meadow and pond.
1,000 bikes will be kept on the site and available to staff to get around the campus.
There will reportedly be custom-designed 18-foot tables by a Dutch company called Arco for Apple employees to take advantage of in open work spaces to discourage an office-like atmosphere. There will be 500 tables, and if put end to end would roughly be the length of the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Despite aiming to be self-sufficient and earth-friendly, the range of materials used in the construction will without a doubt be the top of the line. "As with Apple's products, Jobs wanted no seam, gap or paintbrush stroke showing; every wall, floor and even ceiling is to be polished to a supernatural smoothness. All of the interior wood was to be harvested from a specific species of maple, and only fine quality 'heartwood' at the centre of the trees would be used," an insider told Business Week.
Since Jony Ive's promotion to Chief Design Officer, there has been speculation that he'll be designing elements of Apple's new campus, including desks and chairs to be used by employees.
Apple Park security
Apple takes security very seriously, it has a lot of ideas and new products it goes to great lengths to protect. Therefore it is not surprising that in planning documents first filed back in 2013 Apple stated that its goal with the new campus was to: "Achieve the security and privacy required for the invention of new products by eliminating any public access through the site, and protecting the perimeters against trespassers."
In an email exchange with city staff back in October 2013, an Apple executive actually haggled over the location of a single tree because: "if we move the tree an additional 5 feet in, the tree becomes a security issue for us. People will be able to potentially climb the tree and hop the fence," according to an LA Times report.
With the new campus Apple is attempting to cut off access as much as possible to the public - and it is likely that even members of staff will not have access to all areas of the new building.
How much did Apple Park cost?
Building contractors Skanska and DPR were fired from the Campus 2 project in early 2015 and were replaced by Rudolph and Sletten & Holder Construction. The termination of the contract meant Skanska lost out on around $800 million in revenue.
Prior to the Apple's issues with Skanska and DPR, Rudolph and Sletten worked on the interior of the campus and Holder Construction was handling the electrical, mechanical and plumbing infrastructure of the building.
It was originally estimated that the campus would cost half a billion dollars; the land alone cost $160 million. But (as is generally the case with large building projects), costs have overrun. The budget for the new spaceship-like headquarters ballooned to a little under $3 billion in 2011 and almost $5 billion by 2013, although at this point it was reported that Apple was looking at ways to trim this by a billion.
The budget for the new spaceship-like headquarters ballooned to a little under $3 billion in 2011 and almost $5 billion by 2013, although at this point it was reported that Apple was looking at ways to trim this by a billion.
Apple is known for its exacting demands when it comes to design, materials and so on, but the spiralling costs of this project haven't met with universal acclaim. Back in 2013, for instance, it was reported that angry shareholders were attacking the project - labelling it as wildly extravagant and complaining that too much was being spent on this vast project while nothing is being handed back to stockholders.But Apple can probably afford it. A final spend of $5bn is a huge outlay but would still represent only about 2.3 percent of Apple's gargantuan cash reserves - $215bn in January 2016
But Apple can probably afford it. A final spend of $5bn is a huge outlay but would still represent only about 2.3 percent of Apple's gargantuan cash reserves.
Our UK readers will also be interested to hear that Apple is building a new HQ in London, at the Battersea Power Station. You can read more about Apple's Battersea development here.
Apple Park: Aerial shots and drone videos
We're fascinated by the progress of the Apple Park construction project. In this section of the article, we gather aerial shots and drone videos showing how things have developed over recent months: we start with our latest drone videos and photos and work back to the start of the work.
Here's the most recent drone video of Apple Park. It's looking great, but construction is clearly still in process, with only a month to go until the headquarters open.
Matthew Roberts flew a drone right over the campus to show you what it looked like in January. As you'll see, the garages have been completed, and are being used by construction workers; and an estimated 70 percent of the solar panels have been installed.
This video has been labelled 'Feb 2017' but we received the link on 30 January so we're calling shenanigans on that.
Late January also saw this video, from Duncan Sinfield:
Matthew Roberts sent us another drone video earlier in January. The campus was certainly looking a lot more finished than it had done in previous months, but the weather meant that much of the landscape had been reduced to slushy, swampy mud.
In December Apple sent photos of the seemingly near-completed Campus 2 headquarters to staff, and these were inevitably leaked. The French-language website MacGeneration got hold of them.
Here are a selection of the ones we liked best; visit MacGeneration for more.
Picture credit for this and the following three images: Apple/MacGeneration
Garden landscaping has started. Apple says there will be 3,000 trees on site
The site from the air
Here are the two most recent drone videos of the site, both dated to December 2016 but actually shot right at the end of November 2016. Nearly there!
Here's the second, shot by Matthew Roberts using a DJI Phantom 3 Professional:
We return to the building site in November 2016.
See the progress over at Apple's new Campus via this next drone video, shot in September 2016.
August's drone footage showed great progress, with the building looking much closer to completion.
Below is drone footage of Apple's new campus from April 2016.
This video, shot in February 2016, showcases real progress on site and gives an idea of how vast Apple's new HQ will be.
MyithZ recently posted another to showcase just how quickly the campus is being built (in glorious 4K, of course). You really get a sense of the size of the project, and the scale of the task at hand. Select parts of the building are now recognisable, including the hidden car park.
It's fascinating to see how quickly the building work is coming along, and it seems that MyithZ seems to agree. Here's his May 2015 update on Apple's new campus:
Then, in April 2015, another video of Apple's Spaceship campus was uploaded to MyithZ's YouTube Channel in 4K:
The drone-touting YouTuber went back with his drone in February 2015, showing us how much difference a month can make at Apple's new campus.
YouTube user MyithZ flew a drone over Apple's 'spaceship' campus in January 2015. Watch the video below to see how the new campus was shaping up at the start of 2015.
Apple's new HQ in London
In September 2016, it was announced that Apple will also be opening a new HQ in London, at Battersea Power Station - an iconic building in London. This building was the cover for Pink Floyd's 1977 album named 'Animals' and led to its stardom. The building is 500,000-square-foot and can be considered one of the biggest office locations in London. Apple plans to move its 1,400 staff in the UK to the new Apple campus, after its £14/$17 billion investment. It's set to open in 2021.
In October 2016, Business Insider UK shared a developer video showcasing a sneak preview of what Apple's new London HQ would look like. The screen grab below shows just how big the development will be and how the iconic London landmark will be revamped. We're excited to see more developments on the London HQ - we will be sure to update this article with any new additions.