The curved-glass Ring, centerpiece of Apple Park, will house 12,000 employees and a 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater that looks like a MacBook Air.
Apple Park is a wonderland of high-mindedness and cutting-edge design. Its 9,000 trees are drought-tolerant. The Apple Cafe, which can serve as many as 4,000 people at once, has two glass doors four stories high. A 100,000-square-foot fitness center, covered in distressed stone from a quarry in Kansas, has a two-story yoga room. More than 800,000 square feet of solar arrays dot the campus. Notably absent, however, is a child-care facility, reported online magazine Quartz.
"It captures and reflects the wealth and power of Apple," says Devin Gharakhanian, an environmental and experience designer who specializes in augmented and virtual reality. "It feels like a Steve Jobs or Walt Disney inspiration, though it also feels like a forced design. It's as much about an aesthetic creation."
Apple declined comment. Foster + Partners had no comment.
There is function beyond the form of Apple's aesthetic monument: The campus allows Apple to hire more people and have them work close together, say tech analysts.
"I think it's mostly important (because) it will finally allow far more of the key people at Apple headquarters to work in the same building rather than being spread all over the valley," says Jan Dawson, principal analyst at Jackdaw Research. "That's a vastly underestimated problem at Apple. It's been running out of space, which has also constrained hiring at a time when it should have been expanding significantly."
"This was a 100-year decision," Apple CEO Tim Cook told Wired.
Yet tech moves in fast and unpredictable ways. A sudden jolt in the market could hinder the ability of companies to pivot, whether through relocation or innovation, if they are tied to pricey new headquarters. Excite@Home, a high-speed Internet service provider that was the result of a $6.7 billion merger in early 1999, was in the midst of moving into a sparkling new facility in Redwood City, Calif., when the dot-com bubble burst. It shut down in early 2002.
Or there's the case of Zynga, which sunk millions of dollars into a San Francisco location when its Facebook-centered Farmville game was the hot thing in games.
An iconic illuminated tunnel, with flashing lights and music, welcomed visitors and employees to Zynga's multi-story headquarters in the city's South of Market neighborhood. But mobile games like King Digital Entertainment's Candy Crush Saga came along, upending the market and plunging Zynga into a prolonged tailspin.
Zynga still occupies its flashy headquarters, but last year put it up for sale.