"I think we do have a shot," Steve Jobs said, "of building the best office building in the world."
In his last public appearance in June of 2011, Apple's CEO pitched the Cupertino City Council his dream campus. Five years later, the $5 billion project is nearly complete. Apple Park is glorious, gleaming and gargantuan.
The campus stands on 175 acres. The ring-shaped main building rises from the ground like a spaceship. Inside, it boasts all sorts of Jobsian details, like the stone in the in two story yoga room. (It came from a specific Kansas quarry and was made to look like on of Steve Jobs' favorite hotels, Wired reported.)
And despite the fact that "everything in this building is the best," Wired articles editor Adam Rogers thinks the design of Apple's new headquarters sucks. He wrote a 3,000-word rant about all the problems with Apple's approach to designing this new mega campus.
Rogers takes issue with one major and seemingly deliberate oversight on the part of Apple: Instead of investing in Cupertino and addressing the problems Apple itself has exasperated through the influx of people and traffic, they're just doing things the same old way. Apple cares about its people, its technology, its campus -- not about the community around it.
Once the campus is full, 12,000 employees will work here. About 90% of them will commute, putting enormous strain on the Cupertino roads and surrounding parking lots. If there were more housing in Cupertino, more employees might live there. But building housing is not part of Apple's grand plan. The campus is also closed to the public, further contributing to the us-versus-them mentality.
To be fair, Apple has put in lots of cash to address some of these problems. They've paid for traffic studies and put in $5 million to build a system that brings in water from Sunnyvale. They're paying more taxes than before. But Rogers thinks Apple could have done far more when designing, architecting and engineering its self-proclaimed corporate campus of the future.
Yes, they're helping to make improvements to the surrounding roads. But skyrocketing home prices, lack of housing and congestion are huge problems in Cupertino. Couldn't Apple have tapped into some of that cutting-edge innovation they're known for to make more significant changes? Of course they could've, but perhaps they just didn't care or want to.
Rogers closes his piece with a poetic description of the Apple Park campus design:
The best, smartest designers and architects in the world could have tried something new. Instead it produced a building roughly the shape of a navel, and then gazed into it... It may look like a circle, but it's actually a pyramid--a monument, more suited to a vanished past than a complicated future.