While Steve Jobs lives on this week through Danny Boyle’s sweeping biopic, his design philosophies remain as palpable as ever in the built environment, courtesy of some fittingly futuristic commercial architecture. Visuals for Apple’s third Silicon Valley campus were unveiled this week, proposed by the same firm that conceived the tech giant’s first California home back in 1993.
HOK’s design for the Central and Wolfe Campus — commissioned by developer Landbank Investments LLC and set to be leased by Apple — is notable for its curvilinear shape, a formal twist on the company’s gigantic, circular headquarters by Foster + Partners, currently under construction in Cupertino. The absence of straight edges and corners has been expressly marketed as an architectural manifestation of company philosophy, as illustrated on notanotherbox.com.
According to that microsite, the building is designed as a workplace to “foster ingenuity,” a modern office “where creativity, big ideas, and breakthroughs can flourish.” The premise is that a curvilinear layout eases movement, blurring boundaries between programmatic areas and encouraging communication and collaboration. The resulting building possesses the same space-age aesthetics seen at the Cupertino campus, with sweeping bands of gleaming white breaking up endlessly curving expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass.
The design merges a combination of indoor and outdoor social spaces — a series of luscious courtyards are carved out from the main volume, allowing natural light to filter throughout the building and increasing the presence of nature within this commercial hub. This principle is continued throughout the complex, including a vast green roof akin to the parkland crowning Frank Gehry’s new Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park.
Assuming it passes the requisite city reviews, the building will be constructed using post-tension concrete, allowing for large, open-plan floor plates that help foster cross-programming and offer a high degree of spatial flexibility. Echoing the thoughts of Mark Zuckerberg when talking about Gehry’s design for his headquarters, the developers believe that “placing more employees on one highly walkable floor plate helps remove psychological barriers to collaboration and interaction.”
Watch this space for updates on the project moving forwards, and check out HOK’s expansive portfolio of projects over on their firm profile page.