As reported by BD magazine, Norman Foster has revealed how he was approached by Steve Jobs to design Apple’s new campus in California.
The architect said he got a phone call out of the blue in 2009: “[He said,] ‘It’s Steve. Hi Norman, I need some help.’ I was out there three weeks later.”
Foster also revealed the vast doughnut of a building – nicknamed the ‘mothership’ – was not always circular.
“It grew into that,” said Foster in a video shown to Cupertino’s planning committee before they approved the $4 billion plans this month.
“So the idea of one building with a great park was really borne out of a very intensive process with many models and many presentations and that process continues today.”
Foster said Jobs’ own inspiration came from the Stanford University campus as well as the landscapes of his childhood. Some 80% of the site will be green space – carefully landscaped grasslands and orchards both within and around the circular R&D hub.
“One of the most memorable things, and perhaps vital to the project, was Steve saying, ‘Don’t think of me as your client – think of me as one of your team’,” added Foster.
Apple’s ambition is to create the “best office building in the world” for its 16,000 employees who are currently spread across 80 buildings in three neighbouring towns, including the famous Infinite Loop campus.
The new 250,000sq m building will be an “ideas factory” that will produce generations of Apple products, said Dan Whisenhunt, Apple’s senior director of real estate & facilities.
Together with its parkland it will “speak loudly of Apple’s values of innovation, simplicity and beauty”.
The campus will also house an auditorium for product launches and a transit centre that will include hundreds of electric car charging points. This is part of Foster’s plans to make the building carbon-neutral.
Project architect Stefan Behling said it would prove revolutionary both socially and technically. “It’s pushing the boundaries of technology in almost every aspect,” he said. “Everything is handcrafted for this project.”
The concrete structure is unique and the facade glazing has never been done before, he said.
Construction should start this year and be completed in 32 months, with occupation planned for 2016.
Original article by Elizabeth Hopkirk can be viewed at: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/hi-norman-i-need-your-help-how-steve-jobs-hired-foster-and-partners/5062807.article.