Apple to launch cars-free futuristic campus (Part 1)

In a recent post about Apple we discussed the tech giant's introduction of CarPlay into certain vehicles. The advanced iOS-based system serves as an Apple-infused control panel built into cars. Given this news about its vehicle-based technology, it is slightly ironic that the other major news about Apple involves the company building a 'spaceship' campus that will completely do away with cars. But without a car, how will employees who need smartphone repairs drive to a cell phone repair shop? Oh that's right – they work at Apple. Presumably they do repairs in-house.

This is not science fiction, it's Apple (but you're forgiven for confusing them)
Apple's vision has always been a futuristic one, which is not a bad stance for a technology developer. Beginning with its first major TV ad – a 1984 spot for the forthcoming Macintosh that took place in an Orwellian future – Apple's eyes have been planted firmly in the future. And the company is bringing that same forward-minded approach to the construction of its upcoming 'spaceship' campus, which is slated to be completed in 2016, CNET reported. Plans for the center have been gestating since 2011, and Steve Jobs even had a hand in visualizing the construction project. But with Jobs gone, the responsibility for the center now falls squarely in the hands of Foster + Partners, the architectural design company charged with carrying out the development of the center.

A forward-thinking company with a good reputation
The first thing to understand about Apple is that it is not so much a company as a community. In Silicon Valley, the members of this community number more than 20,000. That's bigger than a lot of towns. And oftentimes, employees don't only work at Apple – they also workout there, hang out with friends and just generally enjoy life. The size and cohesion of the Apple community should give you an idea of the enormity of the project that Foster + Partners took on when they agreed to bring Steve Jobs' vision to life.

Fortunately for Jobs, the first thing to understand about Foster + Partners is that if any architectural firm is suited to execute a massive project with integrity and efficiency, it's them. And they've got the credentials to prove it. They call themselves "one of the most innovative and integrated design practices in the world." A look at past projects does not contradict that claim. Although the builds they've taken on have been varied, they share the F+P commitment to consolidating space. Two projects in China prove that.

A history of conserving space and focusing on efficiency
The first, an airport terminal in Beijing, features very few level changes and short walking distances for passengers – a move that not only saves space but also actively cuts travel time by improving flight efficiency. But while minimizing space, the center maximizes energy benefits by using an environmentally-focused energy system that uses the morning sun to keep the center warm. 

The second project, a bank headquarters in Hong Kong completed in 1986, harnessed a special three-tower construction to build a more than one million square foot banking powerhouse. Through this "mast" structure, the buildings were able to channel an optimal level of sunlight into the atrium area. The new Apple center will follow in this line of compact, environmentally-conscious structures, according to Foster + Partners chairman Norman Foster.

To hear what Foster has to say about the center's construction, and how it will follow in the footsteps of Steve Jobs, tune in for Part Two. 

Marcelina Hardy

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