The press and the local city council members may be wowed, but local architects in the Bay Area aren’t impressed by Apple’s proposed new headquarters in Cupertino.Apple CEO Steve Jobs showed up for a city council meeting Tuesday to explain the company’s plans to consolidate its various rented office spaces into a circular, futuristic building on 150 acres. He told the council members that the proposed building looks a bit like a spaceship. It is to be designed by the renowned British architectural firm Norman Foster and Partners.
The San Jose Mercury News called up a couple of local architects to get their opinion of the plan. They yawned — and wondered how functional it would really be:
Noemi Avram, former president of the San Mateo American Institute of Architects, said her first impression is that “it’s more of a corporate image than it is a reflection of a high-tech iconic image for the entire Silicon Valley. It looks like it stands alone, sits in the middle of nowhere and is not connected.”
While it might be impressive from the air, she said, “at the pedestrian level, it’s just a regular office building with a curvilinear facade.”
San Jose architecture critic Alan Hess also questioned the function of “this huge circle.”
“How are people inside going to communicate?” he asked. “Are they going to be walking around miles and miles of corridors to get to a conference room or use an internal tram system? Maybe they will rely on computer connections.”
Apple’s plans mark a bit of a turning point in Silicon Valley, which is characterized by uncharismatic office parks. Google and Facebook also have plans for new buildings.
Its proposed new office will accommodate up to 12,000 workers in a space of 3.1 million square feet, and its grounds will be filled with thousands of trees. Its cafe will be able to accommodate 3,000 people at the same time, and the office parking will be underground.
You can watch Jobs’ presentation below, courtesy of the City of Cupertino: