Steve Jobs presents giant 12,000 employee ‘spaceship’ campus to Cupertino City Council (with video)

Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs yesterday presented his proposal for a new, additional Apple Campus to the Cupertino City Council.

The presentation lasted around 21 minutes and includes Jobs reminiscing about his call to Bill Hewlett, asking for spare parts for a frequency counter, and how he got a summer job at Hewlett-Packard to build frequency counters. Now Apple has recently bought about 150 acres, including some from HP.

The design for the new Apple campus puts 12,000 employees in one building! “It’s a little like a spaceship landed,” said Jobs. It’s a giant 4-story ring; curved all the way around with not a straight piece of glass in the place. Jobs said that Apple’s experience building extreme glass for retail stores contributed to the campus’ design know-how.

When asked by a council member what benefits to Cupertino the new Apple campus would bring, Jobs reminded the council that Apple is the number one taxpayer in Cupertino and the company also brings many highly-educated and affluent people to the community, plus far less asphalt and more trees. When asked specially and somewhat jokingly if Apple would provide the Cupertino area with “free WiFi, or something like that” Jobs replied to much laughter, “Well, see, I’m a simpleton. I’ve always had this view that we pay taxes and the city should do those things. That’s why we pay taxes. Now, if we can get out of paying taxes, I’d be glad to put up a WiFi network… I think we bring a lot more than free WiFi.”

Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong, brandishing his iPad 2 “Which I love,” told Jobs that “We would love to have an Apple Store here in Cupertino.” Jobs replied, “Yeah, the problem with putting an Apple Store in Cupertino is there just isn’t the traffic… If we thought it would be successful, we’d love to.”

The site will go from approximately 3,700 trees to around 6,000. The employee count increases by 40%, space will increase by 20%, landscaping by 350%, the aforementioned trees by 60%, and the surface parking (asphalt) decreases by 90%.

Apple plans to generate their own power via natural gas and other means that will be cleaner than using the electrical grid. They will use the grid as a backup, not as the primary power source.

Jobs, without turning on his RDF, told the council flat out: “I think we have a shot at building the best office building in the world. I really do think architecture students will come here to see this. I think it could be that good.”

Jobs wants to submit detailed plans to the council “fairly quickly,” “break ground next year,” and “move in in 2015.”

Jobs gives the Cupertino City Council a keynote presentation –– or as the Cupertino City Council tags it, a “Presentation: Presentation” (sigh) –– about Apple’s proposed campus and amazing supercollider headquarters!

The mothership has landed! Proposed new Apple Campus building in Cupertino, California
The mothership has landed! Proposed new Apple Campus building in Cupertino, California

The following presentation was recorded Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at the Cupertino Community Hall:

MacDailyNews Take: Amazing building and Jobs’ personal presentation to the town council yesterday shouldn’t hurt Apple’s stock price any, either.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Cupertino Anonymous” for the heads up.]


  1. Heck yeah. I’d love to visit it when it’s finished. Good to know where my ‘Apple tax’ dollars are ending up at.

    I wonder if they’d be able to launch a trebuchet full of rocks from the UFO landing pad to smash the Googleplex to smithereens.

      1. Your hypothesis is partly correct…

        This isn’t any landing pad. Just you watch. When it’s done, it will flip up on it’s side, begin rotating and “flush sideways”….

      1. That is a succinct explanation. Do you walk into car dealership or Apple store and say, “I’d like to pay more for this?” Apple product prices are so controlled that discounts are rare, but don’t we all jump at a better price? To suggest that Apple provide wifi
        throughout the city is prudent. Would be nice if posters debated the issue
        without misogynistic terms.

      2. Steve’s argument here was that Apple, by its presence (and taxes) provides Cupertino much more (in terms of tangible resources) than some free wifi. While Apple’s products have always showed impeccable form (in addition to substance), Apple’s policy was never full of form or flash; it was always substance. They never cared to put out freebies just for publicity, or to make other kinds of publicity stunts by using some nominally charitable or positive initiative (such as donating computers, software, wifi, etc, the way MS tends to do).

        Apple quietly puts money where their mouth is. In this particular case, free wifi for the town is dwarfed by the massive amount of tax revenue that comes from Apple.

        1. Irrespective of the correctness of Steve’s position in that Apple pays probably the highest amount of taxes in the county, how much in dollar terms would it have cost Apple to put up free WiFi in the city? A million or two? 

          Steve Jobs grew up in Cupertino. Bill Hewlett gave him a break by giving him an internship at HP. How much would it cost Apple to give the schoolchildren of Cupertino a break by dishing out free WiFi? It’s not a question of policy. It’s a question of where your heart is.

          1. It’s people like you with you pathetic sense of entitlement that are destroying this country… Did Cupertino give Apple tax breaks when they were on the ropes 10 years ago? Just curious…

            1. I’m not sure what free WiFi has to do with a sense of entitlement. More and more learning resources are on the Internet. It stands to reason that promoting educational learning on the Internet in today’s terms is the same as providing library services in the olden days.

            2. no reply button to BLM below, but…

              per wiki, “Santa Clara County has the highest median household income of any county in California.”

              and, “Cupertino was the only city with both a population over 50,000 and a median household income in excess of $100,000 in 2000 besides Naperville, Illinois.”

              and, “According to the 2005-2007 American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau, the median income for a household in the city was $118,635, and the median income for a family was $133,098. The per capita income for the city was $44,774. About 3.6% of families and 5.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.”

              Pretty high income, huh. Let’s see, would I rather have 100,000 plus income or free wifi?

              Hell, this is America, land of the free, I’ll have both.

          2. Irrespective of the correctness of Steve’s position in that Apple pays probably the highest amount of taxes in the county, how much in dollar terms would it have cost Apple to put up free WiFi in the city? A million or two? 

            Steve Jobs grew up in Cupertino. Bill Hewlett gave him a break by giving him an internship at HP. How much would it cost Apple to give the schoolchildren of Cupertino a break by dishing out free gasoline/food/education/medical/recrearion/transportation/ice-cream? It’s not a question of policy. It’s a question of where your heart is.

            No, it’s a question of where your head is.

          3. Hmm, maybe I’m misinformed, but I was not aware that Apple was in the business of providing WiFi anywhere, free or otherwise. So, wouldn’t it make more sense for them to pay someone who is in that business to provide it? Oh wait, they are – via the enormous taxes they pay the city who is in the position of authorizing and paying for such a service.

            Maybe you meant that you have Balmer’s left nut for a brain.

    1. I thought the questions were borderline stupid. SJ handled the inanity with his usual aplomb.

      As I watched the vid, I found it hard to believe SJ is a multi-billionaire. His presence ought to be noted by other wealthy types, like Donald Trump, who believe monetary power affords one the inherent right to run over people.

    1. Well, he didn’t design the building – apparently that’s the work of Norman Foster (or Baron Foster of Thames Bank, if you’re being picky).

      But, yes, he is amazing with the amazing become concentrated into a pretty wiry frame.

      There really aren’t enough 550m-wide steel-and-glass doughnuts in the world.

      Someone is going to be freaked out when it takes off though, especially the guys at in the control tower at San Jose airport, assuming they’re awake.

    2. After some fiddling around with Google Earth, I was a bit off.

      It’s diameter is only 520m wide, which is apparently 90m or so larger than the Pentagon. It would appear that the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) might be able to fit into the courtyard, although it would be a tight squeeze.

      It’s difficult to be precise, but I think the “doughnut” itself is about 50-60m from the outer rim to the courtyard rim: If you exclude the interconnecting corridors, The Pentagon has five corridors each around 15.25m wide, so 76m or so in total.

      It’s not going to be as large as say the USAA building in San Antonio or as imposing as the Willis (née Sears) Tower in Chicago, but it will be considered a landmark piece of office design for decades to come.

      1. The level of complexity in designing a building with curved surfaces is quite challenging. To sheath a building with curved glass is an order of magnitude more difficult than curtain walling. A curved geometric design needs to take into account forces that act on it in a curved dimensional space which is not the same as a rectangular piece of glass where forces act more or less symmetrically on mostly a vertical axis as the frame bears most of the horizontal loads.

        Fabricating non-linear glass is another huge challenge in terms of strength preservation – glass cannot be bent into shape using a press and has to be hot extruded into a mould. You’ve also got to consider factors such as wind shear and pressurisation difference when someone opens a door especially if the building is air-conditioned.

        1. I’d be more concerned about the lensing effects such curved glass surfaces will exert upon the summer sunlight. It could be an interesting experiment indeed…

          1. Foster’s practise has designed some buildings which are curved in a number of ways, including the so-called “Gherkin”.

            Also, a lot UK-based practises are getting very good at designing buildings with passive cooling and high level of insulation performance for either hot or cold conditions.

  2. Steve Jobs is an utter hero. It obviously took a monumental expenditure of precious energy to make that presentation and he’s doing it for Apple’s future. He was gracious, fiercely intelligent as always, and stuck to his guns and made his points well. The city cannot help but try to pick up freebies but Steve isn’t having that, and does it with humor and no-argue force.

    Apple is beyond fortunate to have such a founder who is willing to put himself out there on Apple’s behalf when any other person at this point would be resting at home. I pray for Steve every day and thank God for every time I have been blessed to see him in action. A rare Titan of a man. His courage and perseverance are outstanding. Witness a legend.

    1. +1000!

      He is so humble and respectful during his presentation. Nothing like these other tech or billionair CEO who think they are Gods and treat everyone as if they are pheasants wasting their precious CEO time. Or just expects everyone to just shut up and bend over so that I can shove my POS in your….!

    1. Well, Cupertino ain’t Manhattan. While Apple may have submitted such a plan, and may have arm-wrestled the fanclub of a City Council into approving it, it simply is NOT what Jobs is all about. Such tall building in a fairly tightly regulated zone would stick out and be very obviously a representation of grandeur.

      Jobs/Apple went out of their way to offer a building that would be significantly more appealing to ecologically very mindful region, with much smaller footprint than the previous one, and significantly less asphalt/concrete surfaces (and more landscaping/vegetation). I don’t think there is anyone out there who would object to this kind of transformation of a lot.

      He mentioned that the property used to be a apricot orchard long ago (before HP bought it). He later mentioned that they plan on planting back some apricot trees. None of this was necessary to get an approval, but Apple will go out of their way to demonstrate how eco-conscious they are.

      1. A tall building may not have fit into the current version of Cupertino and surrounding area urban sprawl, but it would have been more ecologically sound to use considerably less land for the apple building and leave the rest of the land both for “landscaped” surroundings as well as additional taller buildings for associated companies, residential buildings, retail, entertainment, etc. so that there would be less reliance on automobiles and other modes of transportation.

        The term “campus” for a single building with a single purpose is rather pretentious, backward thinking. Integrate several other uses, reduce the footprint to reduce the spaghetti of services which have to feed such a building over large distances and you are moving to a less intrusive facility.

  3. Well, people have been asking what Apple is gonna do with all that cash…what they are gonna do is something revolutionary, unexpected, and push the envelope with it.
    Never, ever to write Steve off, I pray for Jobs salvation and pray he will be at the campus on move-in day. His voice scares me and shows how quickly he gets tired. If he were to go sooner than expected, he will certainly go out with a bang and kicking butt as usual, and that’s an understatement. History books will contain his name in many areas. Edison, Franklin, Disney…move over. This is yet another example of thinking big and thinking different with zero sub-standards. This is much bigger than the keynote.

    1. There’s a little bit of a worry that this isn’t just an office campus, but Jobs wanting to return part of the land he grew up in to its original state as a kind of memorial.

      If it is, then it is one hell of a way to sign off.

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