Apple Park is not really attached to the ground

Thomas Fuller for The New York Times:

The circular building housing Apple’s headquarters in Silicon Valley is so big, it’s nearly a mile in circumference. So it’s hard to fathom that it is not actually attached to the ground. The spaceship, as the building is often called, is a mammoth example of a technology that reduces earthquake shaking by as much as 80 percent.

While other buildings in Silicon Valley are likely to suffer damage and be nonfunctional for days, if not months, after an earthquake, Apple’s headquarters, which were completed early last year, are designed to be usable immediately after the Big One.

Two stories underground, beneath offices where engineers design iPhones and MacBooks, the building rests on 692 huge stainless steel saucers. When the ground shakes, the building can shift as much as four feet in any direction on the saucers. Picture an ice cube on a plate. If you shake the plate back and forth, the ice cube slides to stay nearly stationary.

Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, said in an interview that he and Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder who died in 2011, considered base isolation essential protection for the headquarters — and the brain trust that resides within… Mr. Jobs was greatly inspired by Japanese engineering, including the ways buildings were designed in Japan to prevent earthquake damage, Mr. Ive said.

MacDailyNews Take: Spaceships can’t take off when they’re attached to the ground.

Hopefully, the building never needs to shift more than 4 feet in any direction.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “TJ” for the heads up.]


  1. Until a big one “actually” happens, they are “assuming’ that their Quake engineering will save the day, I suspect mother nature is far more powerful than they expect.. but we’ll never know for sure until one happens, and if and when it does, even if Apple Park survives as anticipated, not much around it will.

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