Apple Inc.’s Peter Oppenheimer, the baby-faced CFO for the world’s most valuable company, gazed up at the oversized map on the wall.
“Let me begin by showing you the sea of asphalt,” Apple’s chief financial officer said, pointing to the abandoned husk of Hewlett-Packard’s former Cupertino, Calif., campus, the site of Apple’s proposed new spaceship-shaped headquarters that goes before the city council Tuesday for a vote. The plan: Flip a 175-acre site that’s now 80 percent asphalt and buildings into one that’s 80 percent open space and parkland, then drop a spectacular ring of polished glass into the middle of it all.
“You see the energy and the love and the attention to detail that we’ve put into this,” he told the San Jose Mercury News during a sneak peek of a top-secret, living-room sized model of the building. “We have treated this project just as we would any Apple product. And this will be a place for the most creative and collaborative teams in the industry to innovate for decades to come.”
The design, from architectural superstar Sir Norman Foster and his team, bears stellar environmental credentials, and a tax-revenue windfall promised for Cupertino and the region, Apple Campus 2 promises to bring a world-class real estate project — along with a lot of traffic congestion — to the heart of Silicon Valley.
Oppenheimer said the need to work side by side, led naturally to the design of the building. “We found that rectangles or squares or long buildings or buildings with more than four stories would inhibit collaboration,” Oppenheimer said. “We wanted this to be a walkable building, and that’s why we eventually settled on a circle.”
And, said Dan Whisenhunt, Apple’s director of real estate and facilities, that circle has been placed within a greenscape that’s planet-friendly, including a naturally ventilated space with radiant cooling that avoids the need for air-conditioning 70 percent of the year; LED lighting and smart-control systems adapted to the site’s microclimate conditions; on-site recycling of all excavated dirt into berms.
“This will be one of the most environmentally sustainable developments on this scale anywhere in the world,” said Whisenhunt.