New Apple Headquarters To Be Modeled After Masdar City

the-city-of-appleWhat happens when Norman Foster and Steve Jobs get together? The City of Apple, of course.

Recently my macbook perished on the coast of Kenya. It was a terrible moment. All the images, music and words accumulated over four years flashed before my very eyes. There was no light to be seen, only a dark, mac-less future. How can I survive without the macbook, I worried, which keeps the credit card companies from hauling me off to some seedy debtors jail on Wall Street?

Thankfully, because Apple is so cool, and so smart, they trained Nairobi technicians to resuscitate my only child for less than $100. Now Steve Jobs is collaborating with Norman Foster to build what is likely to be one of the most exciting urban architectural projects on the planet: The City of Apple.

Typical of Apple products, the plan is being kept under wraps. But here is what we do know:

In 2006, because its own office space is limited, Apple bought 50 acres of land in Cupertino, California. They then added to that by purchasing a further 90 acres from HP. Which means that Apple’s new city will span a total of 148 acres.

It is likely to be as sustainable as a project of that magnitude, and as the grandiloquent Norman Foster can  muster.

Treehugger reports that the campuses will be linked by a network of tunnels – reducing the need to travel above ground from building to building (hopefully they won’t promise a personal rapid transport scheme, the likes of which ate dirt in Abu Dhabi).

The buildings will be powered renewably – which is easier to do in California than most places given that state’s commitment to incorporating solar and wind energy into its portfolio – and every effort will be made to maintain green surface areas.

Ok. So we don’t know much. But we can guess that Norman Foster + Steve Jobs will = nothing short of brilliance. Apple has a wonderful opportunity to set an example by engaging Foster’s more sensible and less bombastic side.

A lot of money has gone to waste in Masdar City – the city after which Apple’s city will be modeled. Foster will hopefully apply lessons from those fits and starts by pursuing something more modest in California. However, it is imperative, if the project is to be truly sustainable, that Apple source recycled building materials locally, use recycled water, and follow the strictest building standards.

Apple’s environmental record is not great. Knowing what we do about stuff – the lifecycle of a cell phone for example and all the metals that are necessary to create one – we can’t help but balk at the idea that Apple will become bigger still so that it can fuel an even greater desire for more products that the earth can scarcely afford. But it will be fascinating to see what the collaboration comes up with.

:: Treehugger

More about Norman Foster and his partners:

Will Foster & Partners Achieve Carbon Neutrality In Hong Kong

What’s Sustainable about Masdar’s Foster+Partners?

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2 thoughts on “New Apple Headquarters To Be Modeled After Masdar City”

  1. Thanks Peter… it’s all just speculation at this point, but thanks – that’s really useful information re: PRT.

  2. Peter Muller says:

    I am surprised that Foster is said to be considering tunnels for transportation/access. The undercroft (basement) concept in Masdar is what killed the PRT system there – not the PRT system. The PRT system is up and running, but will not be expanded throughout the city because the undercroft in which it operates has proven too expensive to be expanded throughout the city. Read more here (10/16/2010 blog)

    An elevated PRT system could be a wonderful way to connect the second floor of every building to every other building like a horizontal elevator. Trips between buildings would be quick and weather-proof while giving riders a brief exposure to views of the campus. A PRT system would likely cost less than the proposed tunnel system while providing a much higher level of service. It is hard to imagine anyone preferring to use a sterile tunnel for access.

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