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What Apple's and Google's Headquarters Plans Reveal About Their Cultures

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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The very different designs for Apple's and Google's planned headquarters buildings are a reflection of their corporate personalities, argues a professor of architecture at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee.

In an interview with Professor Brian Schermer by digital news site Quartz (via Business Insider), the workplace design expert comments on the two companies' respective plans for their new headquarter buildings.

Apple is ... inscrutable. We don't see the interiors. I have no idea how Apple would organize the building into different work groups. [It] is very tightly controlled. Maybe the Apple employee is somebody who's attracted to that pure, shared vision -- the Jony Ive aesthetic. [It is] an architecture that [one] is meant to behold. The company is shooting for timeless beauty.
Google's business is somewhat sprawling and disheveled. They started off with search, and now they are getting into hardware, like Pixel and Google Glass. Similarly, their next campus is a thicket of ideas and places to be. The Google vision is perhaps to recruit people who are attracted to the serendipity of messiness. Architecture can be a very abstract language, but Google is wearing its heart on its sleeve. It's trying to say that you can really inhabit this space.
Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned Apple's new campus at yesterday's shareholders meeting, reiterating that Apple plans to move into the facility in 2016, with construction potentially beginning later this year.

Article Link: What Apple's and Google's Headquarters Plans Reveal About Their Cultures
 

Prof.

macrumors 601
Aug 17, 2007
4,953
856
Chicago
The OCD professional adult in me likes Apple's campus more because it's organized and clean. The crazy rambunctious kid in me, however likes Google's campus more.

Honestly, depending on my mood i'd like to work at both campuses.
 
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Eugene-DL

macrumors newbie
Mar 7, 2011
24
0
This says a lot

Apple - Connected ecosystem
Google - Fragmented (even their ideas are this and that)

Both look stunning in their own ways, I think.
 
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tekno

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2011
842
4
Odd thing to analyze. But looking at Apple's design it is very "Get lost and don't look in here".
 
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shartypants

macrumors 6502a
Jul 27, 2010
921
60
Apple - Connected ecosystem
Google - Fragmented (even their ideas are this and that)

I agree. Apple's is like a Closed system, but looks awesome and is more functional. Google's is more open, but yes, fragmented.
 
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Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
22,080
27,662
What a silly article. No wonder it came from Business Insider. :rolleyes:
 
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notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,052
159
Canada, eh?
I agree. Apple's is like a Closed system, but looks awesome and is more functional. Google's is more open, but yes, fragmented.

Apple seems to be a very top-down, driven company. The people at the top have a very precise idea of exactly what they want -- Steve Jobs was the penultimate example -- and the rest of the company strives to make it happen.

Google strikes me as the opposite. They have some general goals, but employees are encouraged to experiment. "Hey, I have an idea that could be great!" And they're willing to try lots of things, hoping to stumble upon something great.

Both approaches have different strengths and weaknesses. The Google approach means they try lots of things that don't really work, possibly wasting time and money, but the employees at least feel like their time and input are valued.

With the Apple approach, if they get it right, it works beautifully and it really helps their image as this magical company that churns out hit after hit and can do no wrong (because we don't get to see the ones that didn't make it out of their labs), but then you get all these comments about how they're "not innovating" because we don't see, and don't know, what's going on in there. Also, if/when Ives & Cook guess something wrong, once the market isn't quick to embrace their latest and greatest, that could be the beginning of a slippery slope.
 
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Eugene-DL

macrumors newbie
Mar 7, 2011
24
0
I agree. Apple's is like a Closed system, but looks awesome and is more functional. Google's is more open, but yes, fragmented.

Definitely! Google's Headquarters look like a high-end commercial centre IMHO.
 
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false

macrumors newbie
Nov 3, 2007
13
0
I think Apples building design reflects more on their address rather than culture. Their campus is on Infinite Loop (St. Rd.?) A circle is a representation of an infinite loop.
 
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UnfetteredMind

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2012
451
77
It would have been funny if the new Google headquarters was a single long, phallic shaped building, then we could have seen much better how the two companies interrelate :)
 
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bretm

macrumors 68000
Apr 12, 2002
1,951
27
I knew I'd seen this before! Yeah, they blew this place up after the 96 Olympics in ATL.

 
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JM-Prod

Suspended
Apr 10, 2011
145
51
What a silly article. No wonder it came from Business Insider. :rolleyes:

No, it's not.

Almost all our choices are based on some inner personality, this is also true for organisations, and especially in relation to architecture...
 
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AlphaHumanus

macrumors 6502a
Feb 12, 2012
514
85
No, it's not.

Almost all our choices are based on some inner personality, this is also true for organisations, and especially in relation to architecture...

Agreed.

Googles campus looks like *****. I mean its neat and all; I do see the appeal and it would be an awesome thing to visit in person, let alone work there. But it just reminds me of a high school art project, not a serious architectural design.

I guess that why I like apple so much? The cold, calculated design aesthetic, the "pure" vision. Ruthless perfection.
 
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Mac-Mariachi

macrumors regular
Jan 29, 2002
172
0
Monterrey, Mexico
Google´s campus looks like a Disneyworld Resort, not that that is a bad thing. But Apple´s building is beautiful and iconic, just like everything else they make.
 
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bandalay

macrumors regular
Apr 19, 2010
123
92
Canada
Not open?

Doesn't the Apple design feature continuous glass around the entire perimeter?




Analyzing architecture like this is akin to phrenology.
 
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SockRolid

macrumors 68000
Jan 5, 2010
1,560
118
Almost Rock Solid
Architecture can be a very abstract language, but Google is wearing its heart on its sleeve.

"The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste."
- Steve Jobs, 1995

This is also Google's problem.

You're either born with an aesthetic sense or you're not.
Sorry Google. You weren't.
 
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