New Silicon Valley Construction Projects Draw Mixed Reviews
With Apple’s new headquarters, nicknamed the “Spaceship Campus,” nearing completion, Google has now received the city council’s approval to move forward with their giant tent-like structure. Critics have called the innovative design “utter insanity,” saying that “every tech giant in Silicon Valley sems to have to make its new headquarters a few degrees more absurd than the ones before it.”
At first glance, Apple’s Spaceship Campus seems to have more in common with the Large Hadron Collider than a Fortune 500’s headquarters. The building is an enormous ring, covering a 175-acre plot of land. It will house 12,000 employees, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center, a 1000-seat auditorium, and the center of the ring will be a massive park, planted with 7000 new trees. Although the company has held back many of the interior details—much like the secrecy Apple maintains before product launches—nothing stays totally secret in Silicon Valley, and enterprising Apple fanatics have been flying drones over the building site for months. Their findings include the estimate that 70% of the campus is covered with solar panels, and massive, five-story-high walls open to access an atrium. A pair of parking garages sit outside of the Spaceship, connected to the headquarters via a tunnel.
Google’s giant tent-like structure wants to avoid parking garages, and is being designed to emphasize walking, biking, and busing to get to work. The design team has said that the tent idea came from the desire to have large open spaces without many walls. While there will be a solid structure beneath the canopies, the gaps in the tent work as skylights, and, like Apple, there will be many solar panels.
The tent’s approval was questioned because, according to Google’s project consultants, it is a “building form not typically described in standard city codes.” That’s probably an understatement.