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Apple's Architectural Contributions Examined in New Magazine

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Apr 12, 2001
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CLOG, a new quarterly architecture magazine, has opted to cover Apple in its just-published February 2012 issue. The magazine offers nearly 150 pages of stories and images about Apple and architecture, with coverage ranging from Steve Jobs' boyhood Eichler home to the company's forthcoming "spaceship campus" to Apple's network of over 350 retail stores around the world.
With one of the largest American office projects in history underway in Cupertino, CLOG : APPLE introduces the first comprehensive discussion of Apple's architecture.

CLOG : APPLE showcases over 50 international contributors, including architects, designers, cartoonists, comedians, engineers and other industry leaders. Highlights include an examination of Steve Jobs's Eichler-designed childhood home; the evolution of Apple's store designs; its leading role in innovative glass engineering; the symbolism and urban implications of the new Cupertino headquarters design; reactions to Apple Campus 2 by notable architects and critics; and an interview with one of Apple Computer's original three founders, Ronald Wayne.
The issue is a collection of brief essays, photos, illustrations, and other materials examining Apple from an architectural perspective. Among the features:

- An interview with Apple's third founder, Ron Wayne, addressing a number of topics including Wayne's design of the original Apple logo, Jobs' ambitions in his early days, and Wayne's thoughts on Apple's design and engineering work.

- A humor piece from Colbert Report writer Frank Lesser in which he examines what it would be like if Apple had to purchase a retail store design from a company like itself. In a letter from the fictional architecture firm responding to Apple's request for proposal for a store at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Lesser promotes store features drawn from Apple's own mystique, including a staircase known as "FeetTime", rubberized covers to product the store's glass panels, and an Apple Store Care extended warranty program.

- A visual size comparison of Apple's planned "spaceship campus" in Cupertino to a number of landmarks around the world.




- An illustrative view of Apple's prototype store facade and how that facade is modified at certain locations to respond to site-specific constraints to provide a customized and yet still-familiar look for most of its stores.

- Two pieces from ifoAppleStore's Gary Allen discussing the evolution of Apple's retail store designs and using the 4th Street retail store in Berkeley, California as an example of the company's attention to detail.

- A number of redacted response letters from people and companies who refused to comment for the CLOG issue, primarily due to confidentiality agreements with Apple.

CLOG : APPLE is available from a handful of bookstores, or directly from the magazine's site at a price of $15 plus shipping ($5 U.S. and $10 international).

Article Link: Apple's Architectural Contributions Examined in New Magazine
 

Nielsenius

macrumors 6502a
Apr 16, 2011
565
0
Virginia
Sounds pretty interesting, actually. Apple has some great designs (electronics and buildings). I'd like to know more about the origins of those designs.
 
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nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
Somehow this will get into the hands of kooks using it as proof that UFOs built the pyramids. I would bet money.
 
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pimentoLoaf

Contributor
Dec 30, 2001
1,978
5
The SimCity Deli
Got my order in, intrigued as I am about many things architectural. Took some courses in college before I switched majors (to computer science).

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Somehow this will get into the hands of kooks using it as proof that UFOs built the pyramids. I would bet money.

Actually, past life regression hypnosis would've revealed that Steve Jobs designed the pyramids. :D
 
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ELMI0001

macrumors 6502
Jan 5, 2009
375
6
Olympic Hills GC
Cool!

I ordered mine. Should be an interesting read.

I've always left the Apple Store wondering why more stores don't go for that clean look. Besides Gap, but who shops there? I'm talking about the messy apparel stores that can't decide if they cater to teenagers or bored housewives.
 
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DocNYz

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2008
625
40
East Coast, USA
I ordered mine. Should be an interesting read.

I've always left the Apple Store wondering why more stores don't go for that clean look. Besides Gap, but who shops there? I'm talking about the messy apparel stores that can't decide if they cater to teenagers or bored housewives.

A lot of lower end stores like that do that on purpose because they figure the longer you're stuck in the store and the more items you see directly in your path, the more likely you are to buy them.

Ikea is similar, and explained perfectly in last week's 30 Rock hour-long special.

I ordered mine as well and am looking forward to it and possibly a full subscription if the magazine is original and informative enough.
 
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t0rr3s

macrumors 6502
Dec 23, 2010
476
49
ah, my apple + architecture. my 2 great loves. will defo get this. 5-10 day wait before shipping is a bummer though.
 
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radug

macrumors member
Aug 12, 2010
68
0
UK
just ordered a copy. hint for people in the UK : the Riba Bookshop sells it for £13 delivered. They're expecting them to arrive this coming week or the week after at most.

I don't see the big deal with apple's campus, It's not creative, it's not new, it's a just a circle.

so would it be better & creative if it was an icosidodecahedron-shaped building? or perhaps another crazy shape that most people can't make sense of ?
great design often resides in the simplest of solutions. getting there however is a lot harder than tearing up & folding a piece of paper and saying voila! (if you get my drift)

head over here to see more about the building and understand it before criticising it.
 
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IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,478
Palookaville
Ah, cmon, you gotta give the glass engineers some credit here. Such a massive amount of curved glass will be spectacular to look at.

Expanses of glass -- what an innovation. That was a new concept, in 1929. The building may look cool from an airplane, where its plan will be apparent -- but from ground level, where most people will view it, the curve will hardly read as a curve. In fact the building's elevations will look almost exactly the same from all viewing angles. More dull than spectacular.
 
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Ugg

macrumors 68000
Apr 7, 2003
1,992
16
Penryn
Expanses of glass -- what an innovation. That was a new concept, in 1929. The building may look cool from an airplane, where its plan will be apparent -- but from ground level, where most people will view it, the curve will hardly read as a curve. In fact the building's elevations will look almost exactly the same from all viewing angles. More dull than spectacular.


Fair enough about the scale and curved glass, but overall I think this design isn't claiming to be the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao or the EMP in Seattle or any other art oriented building, rather an office building with very specific requirements. Privacy, collaboration, natural light, courtyard interactions, etc. I admire the fact that the use and the energy requirements of the building came before aesthetic considerations. Was Foster a 'safe' choice? Perhaps, but they have a great deal of experience with complex buildings.

It's a shame that they didn't include a green roof like Piano did for the California Academy of Sciences building but other than that, I really can't find fault with this purpose built building.
 
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IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,478
Palookaville
Fair enough about the scale and curved glass, but overall I think this design isn't claiming to be the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao or the EMP in Seattle or any other art oriented building, rather an office building with very specific requirements. Privacy, collaboration, natural light, courtyard interactions, etc. I admire the fact that the use and the energy requirements of the building came before aesthetic considerations. Was Foster a 'safe' choice? Perhaps, but they have a great deal of experience with complex buildings.

It's a shame that they didn't include a green roof like Piano did for the California Academy of Sciences building but other than that, I really can't find fault with this purpose built building.

None of those criteria precluded an interesting or challenging architectural approach. The design and especially the site planning are surprisingly backwards-looking for a company with a reputation for innovative technology. It's big, it's boring, it's isolated from the surrounding city -- a corporate HQ that makes just the opposite statement than what we'd expect from Apple. Microsoft maybe, but not Apple. I am also not impressed by the functional advantages of the ring. They'd better install a tram line in there because a walk from one side of the building to another will be a major hike.
 
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IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,478
Palookaville
poor choice of words, i meant entail ?

The last 25-30 years in architecture and planning have been all about escaping precisely the approach Apple (or should I say, Steve?) selected for their new HQ -- segregated, isolated, monocultural buildings. Today it's all about mixed use and connecting buildings to the urban grid.

Thousands of people will work in this building. If they want to eat lunch anywhere but in the company cafeteria, can they do so without getting into their cars and driving? If they want to live within walking distance of their job (and who wouldn't?), has Apple provided any opportunities for that?

Any claims that Apple is building an environmentally sensitive building pales when you consider the number of automobile trips this campus will generate, many more than are necessary.

These are just the basic land planning issues. In terms of architecture, the building is bound to be both dull and disorienting. Every elevation, every angle, is visually identical, or very nearly so. How are you going to know where you are? Architecture is about place making. This building is all about object making. It's a huge, lost opportunity.
 
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SuperCachetes

macrumors 65816
Nov 28, 2010
1,056
638
Away from you
The last 25-30 years in architecture and planning have been all about escaping precisely the approach Apple (or should I say, Steve?) selected for their new HQ -- segregated, isolated, monocultural buildings. Today it's all about mixed use and connecting buildings to the urban grid.

Thousands of people will work in this building. If they want to eat lunch anywhere but in the company cafeteria, can they do so without getting into their cars and driving? If they want to live within walking distance of their job (and who wouldn't?), has Apple provided any opportunities for that?

Any claims that Apple is building an environmentally sensitive building pales when you consider the number of automobile trips this campus will generate, many more than are necessary.

These are just the basic land planning issues. In terms of architecture, the building is bound to be both dull and disorienting. Every elevation, every angle, is visually identical, or very nearly so. How are you going to know where you are? Architecture is about place making. This building is all about object making. It's a huge, lost opportunity.

It sounds like you are looking at this from the point of view of either a developer, or a pie-eyed student with a green bent; I'm not sure which. Not everything is about the urban grid (not that this site is all that urban, anyway). This isn't an uptown apartment complex with retail underneath; it's a corporate headquarters. There are plenty of examples of successful corporate HQ's either set in the boonies, or at least with a parti of "circling the wagons," if not a circular shape.

Archdaily article said:
The round shape has also been cited as an important part of the campus’ security (better perimeter control) and to improve internal circulations.

Any architect worth their weight can upsell their design, but how do we know what workflow is best for Apple? How do you know what wayfinding tricks Sir Norman has up his sleeve? I mean, it sounds to me like you've assumed Apple's mindset is about "reaching out" and being "open" when I would not have assumed that at all. Read anything about their design process, corporate culture, or even what they go through to keep Foxconn in line... I'm surprised this thing doesn't have a moat.

As far as vehicle trips and land planning, I'd assume whatever public transportation was there before will remain, if not be bolstered. This isn't a greenfield site; there were people traveling to the HP buildings at one time, yeah? And just generally speaking, Apple is doing a good thing by building a consolidated rocketship as opposed to a bunch of outbuildings of questionable efficiency spread all over town.

You have a good point about workers living near the thing; I can't speak to the housing stock in the area, but I understand it's pretty much suburban.

The only way to push all the buttons I hear you asking for is to either build a skyscraper downtown or on a street corner in a shopping district near a light rail line, and neither of those makes much sense given Apple's obvious emotional attachment to Cupertino.
 
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IJ Reilly

macrumors P6
Jul 16, 2002
17,889
1,478
Palookaville
It sounds like you are looking at this from the point of view of either a developer, or a pie-eyed student with a green bent; I'm not sure which. Not everything is about the urban grid (not that this site is all that urban, anyway). This isn't an uptown apartment complex with retail underneath; it's a corporate headquarters. There are plenty of examples of successful corporate HQ's either set in the boonies, or at least with a parti of "circling the wagons," if not a circular shape.

Really. So are you knowledgable about planning and architecture, or are you just making it up on the spot?

Everything is about the urban grid. Every new building has an impact on the urban grid, for better or worse. They are building in a city, not a cornfield.

This design has been rightly criticized as a throwback to the 1970s, because it is. A irony and a damn shame coming from a company with a deserved reputation for innovation.

Any architect worth their weight can upsell their design, but how do we know what workflow is best for Apple? How do you know what wayfinding tricks Sir Norman has up his sleeve? I mean, it sounds to me like you've assumed Apple's mindset is about "reaching out" and being "open" when I would not have assumed that at all. Read anything about their design process, corporate culture, or even what they go through to keep Foxconn in line... I'm surprised this thing doesn't have a moat.

As far as vehicle trips and land planning, I'd assume whatever public transportation was there before will remain, if not be bolstered. This isn't a greenfield site; there were people traveling to the HP buildings at one time, yeah? And just generally speaking, Apple is doing a good thing by building a consolidated rocketship as opposed to a bunch of outbuildings of questionable efficiency spread all over town.

You have a good point about workers living near the thing; I can't speak to the housing stock in the area, but I understand it's pretty much suburban.

The only way to push all the buttons I hear you asking for is to either build a skyscraper downtown or on a street corner in a shopping district near a light rail line, and neither of those makes much sense given Apple's obvious emotional attachment to Cupertino.

The sense we get of this is that "Sir Norman" didn't have a lot to do with this concept. Steve's fingerprints are all over it.

The alternative wasn't a bunch of buildings spread around town, and it wasn't the random assortment of 1970s boxes HP built on the property. The alternative was better utilization of this huge site. It can be done, and these days often is. Apple (or Steve) simply chose objectification over contemporary land planning. That doesn't make it good.
 
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