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Critic Pans Apple's New Campus As a Retrograde Cocoon 332

Posted by timothy
from the you-need-more-grit-and-dirt-and-crime dept.
theodp writes "LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne isn't exactly bullish on Apple's proposed new headquarters, which will hold 12,000 Apple employees in its 2.8 million sq ft. Described by Apple as 'a serene and secure environment' for its employees, Hawthorne says the new campus 'keeps itself aloof from the world around it to a degree that is unusual even in a part of California dominated by office parks. The proposed building is essentially one very long hallway connecting endlessly with itself.' Corporate architecture of this kind, adds Hawthorne, seems to promote a mindset decried by Berkeley prof Louise A. Mozingo. 'If all you see in your workday are your co-workers and all you see out your window is the green perimeter of your carefully tended property,' Mozingo writes, and you drive to and from work in the cocoon of your private car, 'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."
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Critic Pans Apple's New Campus As a Retrograde Cocoon

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  • by cognoscentus (1628459) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:35AM (#37367326)
    The cocoon must be sealed to contain the reality distortion field!
  • by mehrotra.akash (1539473) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:35AM (#37367332)

    Isnt that Apple's business model anyway?

    • by mikael_j (106439)

      Not really. When it comes to iDevices the software distribution is pretty much a walled garden, yes. But on the computer side this isn't the case. And in general Apple is more about selling products and systems that are tightly integrated and designed to "Just Work(tm)". I'm not saying this always works out the way they want it to, but that seems to be what they strive for. They don't sell you a bunch of generic parts put together into a computer that you are supposed to easily be able to replace and toy wi

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        But on the computer side this isn't the case.

        They still sell computers?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tepples (727027)

        When it comes to iDevices the software distribution is pretty much a walled garden, yes. But on the computer side this isn't the case.

        This distinction works right up until the point where, as some rumors have it, Apple discontinues the MacBook Air and Mac mini in favor of new iDevices that are glorified iPad and Apple TV and respectively.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by ColdWetDog (752185)

          This distinction works right up until the point where, as some rumors have it, Apple discontinues the MacBook Air and Mac mini in favor of new iDevices that are glorified iPad and Apple TV and respectively.

          Your argument works right up to the point were, as rumors typically go, they turn out to be false.

          Save your angst and garment rendering for reality. It's bad enough as it is.

        • by Ixokai (443555)

          Right, because Apple is going to get rid of a *growing* and *extremely profitable* portion of their business -- the Mac / computer business -- to.. uh.. what?

          Lock people into a walled garden? Why?

          Hint: That garden does not make them that much money. Yes, sure, they profit off of it. But take all of the money they make off of iTunes, off of iBooks, off of Apps, and any other software or services they make or offer -- take all of it and put it in a pile... and it doesn't even KIND OF approach the pile that M

    • Exxactly, I thought the building seemed like a perfect fit for the company.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:38AM (#37367350) Homepage Journal

    one very long hallway connecting endlessly with itself

    In other words, it'll be even more of an infinite loop than Apple's current Infinite Loop campus [wikipedia.org]. Is it even possible for things to be "more infinite"?

      • by blueg3 (192743)

        No. Infinite sets can have different sizes, but they're all equally infinite.

        • No, they're not "equally" infinite. They are just all infinite. Aleph Null != other "degrees" of infinity.
          • by blueg3 (192743)

            Exactly. "Infinite" is a binary classification -- a set is either finite or infinite. There is no "more" or "less" infinite. (The same is true of "unique".)

            Hence, all things that are infinite are equally infinite, since there are no degrees.

    • Yeah. Take, for instance, the rational numbers and real numbers. Rational numbers are countable infinite, while reals are uncountable infinite. Uncountable infinite sets tend to be larger than countable sets by a factor of about 3-4, although it's gone down a little bit recently since the recession.
      • Uncountable infinite sets tend to be larger than countable sets by a factor of about 3-4, although it's gone down a little bit recently since the recession.

        Still, better than my 401K. How to I transfer funds?

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      I dunno. Have you seen the dimensions for this loop? They look pretty finite to me.

      (At least the spatial dimensions - and I'm willing to bet that they'll be finite in the temporal dimension as well.)

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow (21281) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:43AM (#37367376)

    People who have nothing better to do than criticize some company's proposed building needs to get a life.

    • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jrono (470199) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:55AM (#37367420)

      People who have nothing better to do than criticize some company's proposed building needs to get a life.

      "LA Times architecture critic"

      Yes... architecture critic should stop criticizing architecture...

      • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

        by kestasjk (933987) *
        But he's not criticizing the architecture.. he's criticizing the effect he thinks the architecture will have on the employees of a technology company.

        Unless he's a psychologist and technology expert, and also has something to back up this crazy notion, it might as well be a Feng-shui guy arrogantly chiming in on the layout of a motherboard.


        (And I say this as an Apple skeptic who realizes that Jobs was, at times, a Feng-shui guy who arrogantly chimed in on the layouts of motherboards with disastrous
        • Re:Who cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:19AM (#37367524)

          That actually is what architecture as a field largely thinks about these days. For the past 90 years or so, at least since the publication of Le Courbusier's Toward an Architecture [amazon.com] (1923) if not earlier, architecture is about constructing spaces that enable and shape living, work and leisure, and what effects architectural choices have on individuals and societies. It is, yes, also about the placement of load-bearing walls and whether to include decorative gargoyles on the pediment, but those aren't the main things architects and architecture ctitics study. So this article's criticism seems pretty directly within scope: how architecture shapes work and the interaction of workers with the society around them.

          • Huh. That's interesting. And here I thought that the Architect's job was most to spend expensive hours arguing with the Engineer.

        • by errandum (2014454)

          That's why architects design buildings, and not engineers. They are actually educated to do this sort of thing, believe it or not.

        • layouts... its pretty well known he made some guys redesign a motherboard because it wasnt pretty enough.

        • In fact, having read the description of the new office and looked at the photos, I think I'd personally quite enjoy working in a location like that.

          And the criticisms themselves? They, essentially, boil down to "it doesn't force people to socialize with the rest of the community". I mean, seriously:

          "corporations were gaining in wealth and global reach and increasingly fleeing the city for the privacy and elbow room of the suburbs"

          "turn its back on cities and stake a claim on the suburban pastoral idyll

          • by artor3 (1344997)

            You don't understand the Silicon Valley culture. Seeing and chatting with employees of other companies is a common occurrence, whether its on a lunch break or going for a jog or taking the (admittedly awful) public transit. And then when you need to work with people from Company X, if you don't already know them, you might at least know someone else from that company. Not to mention the obvious advantages when it comes time to change jobs -- which is perhaps an advantage that Apple hopes to deny its empl

      • by paiute (550198)

        People who have nothing better to do than criticize some company's proposed building needs to get a life.

        "LA Times architecture critic"

        Yes... architecture critic should stop criticizing architecture...

        I like it better when he dances.

    • As opposed to someone who criticizes someone for criticizing someone ^^

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I was more bugged about him blasting Jobs for not including a credit roll as part of the proposal. I've been in on these meetings and I've never once heard names being dropped about who worked on the project. The council members wouldn't recognize the names of famous architects or design firms so what would be the point? He also bashes it for not really being green without making any specific points except for claiming you'll need a car. I guess he was pissed off that Jobs didn't include a monorail in the d

      • Re:Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:42AM (#37367650) Homepage Journal

        There are other ways to avoid needing a car on a campus other than including a monorail. Good architects these days notice immediately the transportation requirements created by the architecture, because of the energy, pollution, time, social and beauty degradation that cars bring. Creating a need for cars is certainly not green.

        Jobs deserves and gets plenty of kudos for his tech and biz achievements. But when his perhaps final achievement has problems, especially one at odds with the humanist image his whole career has cultivated, that doesn't deserve kudos. It deserves criticism that points out where the architecture doesn't live up to the standards Jobs created.

        But then, your ramble winds into an early eulogy. You're not talking about architecture. You're just an Anonymous fanboy Coward who detected less than total worship of Steve, and jumped in to save the day.

    • by sammy baby (14909)

      What? The guy is a journalist who writes about architecture.

      I understand that you may not give a rat's ass about architecture, or human factors engineering, or Apple, or their recently proposed spaceship building. But seriously? Okay, fine, anyone who writes critically about architecture is a loser with no life. Also, Roger Ebert is a waste of space, and Edward Said is a piker.

      • by Kreigaffe (765218)

        I'm not going to go that far, but just read the dude's quote in TFSummary:

        "the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

        I know, I *KNOW* that your ears can taste feces. And your eyes, since you're reading that.

    • by Javagator (679604)
      Professors may need to ponder the "shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm", or at least pretend to, but engineers need to develop innovative products. Different jobs need different environments.
    • And here you are, criticizing someone else's work although you clearly don't have a clue on what you are talking about. This is the definition of hypocrisy.

  • Obsessive Analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sponge Bath (413667) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:55AM (#37367424)

    'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

    Or maybe it is just an office building and the product is defined by the corporate culture and people who presumably explore the community beyond work and home.

    • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NoSPam.barbara-hudson.com> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:05AM (#37367462) Journal

      Considering that being surrounded by green space is a health benefit, I'd rather be there than their artsy-fartsy-but-doesn't-really-mean-anything "notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm"

      Downtown cores suck. It's called a concrete jungle for a reason.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:36AM (#37367602)

        The problem isn't with downtown cores. The problem is with how Americans tend to build them. The "concrete jungle" you speak of is a uniquely-American mistake.

        Of course such downtown areas will be shitty and imbalanced if you only have downtowns where nobody lives, and people only come from the suburbs to work there from 0900 to 1700 on weekdays.

        But if you do it sensibly, like is done in Europe, Asia and even American-like countries like Canada and Australia, you end up with excellent areas that are very livable. People end up living downtown, rather than just working there. Because of this, there are often extensive parks and green space. There is nightlife. There is a community spirit that you just don't find in the suburbs.

        Now, this sort of a downtown area does depend on some things that many Americans mistakenly consider "socialist" or even "communist", like good public transit. That's why America only has a few good downtown areas, and they are always in older cities like Chicago and New York City. Americans today have such a warped view that they probably couldn't implement a good downtown, even if they tried their hardest.

        • by macshit (157376)
          Somebody mod parent up, it's an insightful and well-reasoned response; a shame it was posted by AC...
        • But if you do it sensibly, like is done in Europe, Asia and even American-like countries like Canada and Australia, you end up with excellent areas that are very livable.

          You might want to be more specific than that. I lived in Canada - Vancouver, specifically - for 2 years, and its downtown is as much a "concrete jungle" as Seattle, where I live now.

          • by j-beda (85386) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:21PM (#37369202) Homepage

            The number of people living within walking distance of the downtown "core" in Vancouver is significantly higher than in Seattle (at least on a percentage basis). The whole "west end" of Vancouver houses about 45,000 out of 640,000 of Vancouver residents as only one example - Coal Harbour, the "East Side", Yaletown and False Creek house a bunch of people within walking distance of the financial and shopping and entertainment districts in the downtown. The downtown does have some non-residential regions, but there are a lot of "living areas" in the downtown - see the links to downtown neighbourhoods at Wikipedia:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtown_Vancouver [wikipedia.org]

            With that said, Canada has repeated much of the same errors in city planning as has happened in much of the US, resulting is similar suburban sprawl and inner-city urban decay.

            In comparing Vancouver and Seattle, I have heard a few times that Seattle planners look to Vancouver as an example of the benefits of not having a major highway system in the city - it has promoted the growth of alternative commercial centres (in Burnaby, Surrey, Abbotsford), and limited the distances people commute (though not the amount of time). Highways are good for getting stuff from one city to another, but when they enable people to travel huge distances daily they tend to fragment the development of a sense of local community and result in huge environmental costs.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by artor3 (1344997)

          What a load of crap, modded up by Americans who long for a better world, and Euros who imagine the US as a hellhole. I've been to more European cities than I have fingers, and the only one that had substantially more greenspace than the US was Rome, and that's just because it had the good fortune to be built atop the ruins of an ancient civilization.

          And even if we make believe that Europe is some idyllic paradise, the concrete jungle is "uniquely American"? Have you ever seen the streets of Taiwan or Kore

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        The critic doesn't say that the campus should have less green space or more downtown core.

        And N California downtown cores don't suck. Just because yours does doesn't mean others' do.

      • You don't know what you are talking about, and you reasoning is simplistic. A metropolitan area doesn't necessarily mean a "concrete jungle". See the Athens Charter [wikipedia.org] to start to understand how a metropolitan area can and does improve the lives of those who experience it, as no mindless, unorganized urban sprawl can, no matter how many trees are planted. Only the poorly designed urban areas, or those who lack any rational organization, which is pretty much the case of every major US city, tend to take the

      • Downtown cores suck. It's called a concrete jungle for a reason.

        Downtown cores suck because they're designed that way, by people who hate them because they've never experienced anything better. Older, highly dense city cores in Europe, on the other hand, don't suck -- because thought was put into their design. Read James Howard Kunstler [amazon.com] to find out more.

    • by arcite (661011) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:13AM (#37367498)
      So basically the critic was trying to put into a negative light the fact that the Apple Campus will have lots of trees, be embrace nature, foster a healthy work ethic, and all without contributing to urban sprawl of larger cities. You just can't win can you?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        Uh what? You're right except for the urban sprawl part; spawning new campuses in (relatively) remote locations drives housing development near them... urban sprawl. What we need is more use of already-extant locations. For example there's lots of malls going empty all over the country; Apple should find a clever way to repurpose some of those. The malls already have all the services needed by an office building, they have more parking than you will need but you can use some of that flat space to put up more

        • Windows. Malls don't tend to have 'em in very great abundance. Which is one of the reasons that they're a sucky place to work.

          The new apple building concept drawing looks like there will be a lot of views of the outside from the offices, and outside isn't just some concrete canyon, it's going to be somewhat natured. From the exterior shots, you can't tell what the workers' point of view will be (maybe they have no sight line to a window unless they're management or something....), but it looks like a gre

          • Windows. Malls don't tend to have 'em in very great abundance.

            Nor do Macs, incidentally. For not much more than the price of a copy of Windows designed to run on a Mac (Windows 7 Home Premium retail), one could buy a nettop with its own copy of Windows (Windows 7 Home Premium OEM) and stick it on the KVM next to a Mac mini.

            It seems like that is the architect's main objection: the facility will not be nearly as shitty as facilities other workers have to deal with, and somehow that unfairness equates to bad design?

            How will employees commute between home and this new campus? Is it close enough to walk or bike? Is there adequate public transit? Or will most employees have to drive? The article quotes UC Berkeley architecture professor Louise A. Mozingo that a c

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        So basically the critic was trying to put into a negative light the fact that the Apple Campus will have lots of trees, be embrace nature, foster a healthy work ethic, and all without contributing to urban sprawl of larger cities. You just can't win can you?

        Before wasting your time criticizing someone else's work, you should at least try to understand what has been said. After all, odds are that those you are trying to criticize, which happen to have taught architecture at Columbia University and the Unive [latimes.com]

    • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:57AM (#37367764)

      Or maybe it is just an office building and the product is defined by the corporate culture and people who presumably explore the community beyond work and home.

      To a layman an office building may be "just an office building", but that doesn't mean that it is true and that the design of a building doesn't have social and psychological impact on those who experience the building and interact with it. It does, and it has a deeper impact on our everyday lives than we, particularly the laymen, are able to recognize, at least at first sight. There is a reason why architecture is more demanding and requires a lot more technical know-how than what is expected from mere designers and even civil engineers. Just for a glimpse, take Kevin Lynch's [wikipedia.org] take on a city's mental map [wikipedia.org], and try to understand the importance of being able to define a space where you can explicitly shape those mental maps to provide a better living experience to those who use it.

  • A bit of a stretch (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dimeglio (456244) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:55AM (#37367426)

    Architecture is an art. Some like, some don't. It is an interesting viewpoint but trying to link the shape of a building to Apple employees social responsibilities is a bit of a stretch. Especially since most university campuses are cocoons in of themselves yet successfully promote global social responsibilities.

    • Especially since most university campuses are cocoons in of themselves yet successfully promote global social responsibilities.

      I agreed with you until this point. At which time I realized the critic of Apple's new campus might have a point. The reason that is the case is that university campuses tend to promote "global social responsibility" that absolves those in them from actually doing anything themselves about the problems around them. The products of university "global social responsibility" demand that the government do something, thus they do not need to dedicate their own resources to attempting to address the problems them

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)

        Finally some real Teabagger anarchism.

        Universities don't address problems with themselves or the world around them? Did you graduate from Apex Tech or something?

        People in (American) universities often learn that our government is the people organized to do things to protect our rights. People these universities produce are more likely to actually vote and otherwise participate in public life. And are more likely to learn history and reason which tell us that without government, we get anarchy that corporati

        • our government is the people organized to do things to protect our rights.

          And a lot of university graduates confuse rights with entitlements, which they call positive rights [wikipedia.org]. For example, the article mentions that cocoon campuses like this make public transit more difficult. Is public transit a "right" or a mere entitlement?

    • by Doc Ruby (173196)

      It's not simply "the shape of a building". The architecture determines the limits of the function, which limits the activities of the people. Good architecture is well understood to strongly influence the overall tendencies of the activities of the people who use it. Architecture puts its users into a frame of mind, which can strongly influence social attitudes and behaviors well beyond its walls.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      There's actually considerable criticism of that aspect of university architecture as well, the "playground for educated kids w/o jobs" aspect of the American 4-year residential college. Some universities are more integrated with an urban area, as is more typical in Europe, where e.g. the University of Paris is deeply integrated into Parisian life, both physically and culturally, rather than being located in a separated campus.

  • by TimTucker (982832) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @08:59AM (#37367436) Homepage

    Seems a little backward that there would be complaints that workers might look out their windows and see grass, trees, and other natural things.

    Everything I've read on productivity and mental health would suggest it would be beneficial to have a less "urban" view out your window.

    • by Doc Ruby (173196)

      The review doesn't say the grass and trees are bad. It says that the fact that workers will see only Apple's grass and trees is bad. It's the disconnection, not the greenery that's bad. And the review explains why, in brief but meaningful detail.

      • The review doesn't say the grass and trees are bad. It says that the fact that workers will see only Apple's grass and trees is bad. It's the disconnection, not the greenery that's bad. And the review explains why, in brief but meaningful detail.

        Well my understanding is that unless Apple wants to move their headquarters to the middle of a state park or something, staying in Cupertino, CA gives them few choices on who's trees and grass they are allowed to see. The proposed site [techcrunch.com] currently contains office buildings with some trees near a freeway in the middle of an urban setting. Would the reviewer prefer Apple to leave mostly concrete there or simply move into the current site with no change? Basically what other companies like Microsoft, Google,

    • You failed to understand what has been said. There is absolutely no problem with seeing green when looking out of an office's window. The problem which has been pointed out is that this sort of "let's build an isolated compound in the middle of nowhere" attitude to urban planning and architecture forces the people to dissociate themselves with their community and also the world. This forces people to live in a bubble which comprises of their home, their car and their office. This is an incentive to soci

  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:00AM (#37367444)

    'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

    Yeah and...so what? Is that a fancy way of saying that office workers should work in the 'hood so, what, I feel some personal responsibility for fixing it? Does that mean I need to work in the hood so I can stare at it all day?

    'If all you see in your workday are your co-workers and all you see out your window is the green perimeter of your carefully tended property,

    Of course I see my coworkers when I'm at work. That's why they call it work. That's what I'm there to do. And if my workplace can be nice and in nature, hey, cool.

    Look, I'm not an Apple fan. I give them shit for all kinds of things. Building a nice work environment for their employees is not on the list of things I will give them shit for. And I don't see it as the job of any company, or any employee, to intentionally increase their connection, proximity, or exposure to increasing urban density. Some people like dense urban areas, some don't, but it's not anybody's responsibility to specifically increase density.

    This is predictable coming from an urban paper like the LA Times. They see concrete and steel as desirable. Green things are to be assaulted at all turns. But there are others of us who like trees, shade, grass, and other nice things. The goal isn't to be disconnected from anything - it's to be able to hear something other than traffic noise, and see something other than dirty man-made surfaces while at work.

    Hey, I think it sounds nice. I think the LA Times needs to go camping and discover that there's more to life than concrete.

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      I agree. I think it's a beautiful building, and really like that the parking, etc is underground. I still think it's Steve Jobs tribute to himself, but he has earned it, to a degree. A corporate culture for social responsibility, etc can be fostered in better ways than the architecture of your building.
    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:46AM (#37367684) Homepage Journal

      The critique didn't say anything about "the hood", by which you mean some ghetto. Cupertino doesn't have "the hood". The "collective metropolitan realm" is lots of other rich, high-end IT corporations and the other businesses that support them. But that realm has some diversity: other people who aren't working on Apple's stuff. Not getting Apple's specific corporate values or outlook. It might or might not have dirty manmade surfaces, concrete and steel. It doesn't really have density, except in the corporate arcologies like Apple's. It does have other people, with other points of view. Which is healthy. Monoculture isn't healthy, no matter how green it is.

      Why do you fear the hood, that you surely have managed to avoid without an Apple architect, so much that you see it lurking in the shadows of an architecture review that doesn't have it? Is it your guilt over not fixing it? Because the only place your complaint could have come from is inside your own psychology. Not the review you're using as a way to get it out there in front of us.

      • Why do you fear the hood, that you surely have managed to avoid without an Apple architect, so much that you see it lurking in the shadows of an architecture review that doesn't have it?

        Of course it doesn't. Because that's not how academics (like the one cited) speak. I'm reading between the lines on that comment about "shared responsibility" for the "urban realm". While the article deals with Cupertino, that line was lifted from a book that wasn't about Apple. So the author of that book had something

      • But that realm has some diversity: other people who aren't working on Apple's stuff. Not getting Apple's specific corporate values or outlook. It might or might not have dirty manmade surfaces, concrete and steel. It doesn't really have density, except in the corporate arcologies like Apple's. It does have other people, with other points of view. Which is healthy. Monoculture isn't healthy, no matter how green it is.

        And how is this different from working for MS, HP, Google, IBM or a number of different companies tech or not that have their own campuses? And how is this different from working at Apple today? The critique of the plans assumes that the building is the only contributing factor to this effect; it is not today and will not be in the future.

        Reading the article, the critic seems to go out of his way to nitpick on little things. Jobs wasn't asked and didn't mention the name of the architects which according

  • ...Tall Poppies.

    • "You're just jealous 'cos I'm smarter," used to sound stupid in the playground. It's the battle cry of the populist appealing to the mediocre to join the "winning team".

      But since the '80s it's become some sort of circular business philosophy: if you're rich you must be good; if you're good you deserve to be rich.

  • "The proposed building is essentially one very long hallway connecting endlessly with itself."

    You cold say it's one infinite loop.

    Thanks I'm here all night! Try the veal!

  • Architecture is art. Some will like it, some won't. Like art, if it generates discussion, that is good. You can be sure that any "architecture critic" who has something negative to say about the new Apple HQ will receive a lot of press attention.

    .
    But I have to wonder, was the purpose of the critique to be ego-building for the author?

    • by Doc Ruby (173196)

      The purpose of the critique was to discuss, and to generate more discussion, by someone who knows architecture. Clearly the purpose was also to help architecture serve people better, by improving architecture.

      Your critique does nothing but try to bring yourself more attention. It does nothing to improve anyone or anything. You're projecting.

  • The point seems to be that the urban design (of Cupertino) is about to promote individual space rather than collective responsibility for the society and the environment.

    The building itself is a detachment. It's essentially a decentralized and non-hierarchical design. The focal point is not in the managers but in people around you. The empty space is there to be filled with the collective ideas and thoughts. The shortest distance to the other side is via a nature oriented space where people can meet up. The

    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      I'm uncertain how much information has been made available to the general public, but I would have thought that the way the spaces flow internally will have as much if not more of an impact on the daily experiecne of the workers.

      I currently work in a building on an intersection of two major streets in the CBD of Melbourne. On days that I bring my lunch (which I should do more frequently anyway for health and financial reasons) I barely interact with the environment around me. I catch public transport to and

  • by Aquitaine (102097) <sam@ i a m s a m . o rg> on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:29AM (#37367550) Homepage

    If you share a building with tons of other companies, and if the view out your window is a busy thoroughfare, is 'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm' near at heart and therefore contributing to some architectural faux-topia?

    Oh wait, that's New York City, where nobody looks you in the eye and if somebody says 'Good Morning' to you then you get ready to defend yourself. 'Shared responsibility in a collective metropolitan realm' indeed. Or Los Angeles, where there are no thoroughfares because everybody drives everywhere anyway.

    I also like the posts to the effect of 'architecture is art and discussing art is good.' I guess, but seriously, an 'architecture critic' for a newspaper? Theatre critics are at least answering the question 'should I go see this show,' but wtf is an architecture critic doing? 'Should I go hang out at this corporate campus?'

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:30AM (#37367562) Homepage Journal

    you-need-more-grit-and-dirt-and-crime

    There is no grit, dirt or crime in Cupertino, or anywhere near it, until you get to East Palo Alto or downtown San Jose. A more open Apple campus interconnected with the rest of its neighborhood would get more clean, shiny, happy people. But at least people from outside Apple, tired for different reasons. With some different perspectives, some of which might not even be IT. Some might not even be corporate. That exposure would humanize the day, not corporatize it in every way.

    And since Apple's products are so personal, more diversity in the environment its people produce from would also inform the products we get from it.

    But then, this is the company that gave us the white head wires that indicate the wearer is in their own personal universe, totally tailored by and for themselves.

    Apple has become "narcissism for the rest of us", in a society increasingly insistent in seeing nothing but itself in a retouched mirror. The subtitle to this story shows the fear of the outside that nerds have raised to a high art.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:46AM (#37367682)
    Apple wants to build the kind of building that Apple wants to build. And OF COURSE some architect who was NOT awarded the job is going to have some criticism, in order to massage his own ego.

    I used to live not far from there. Did it even occur to him that the employees DO NOT WANT to see much that is beyond the campus? That being there, and isolated, might actually afford a sense of relief?
  • Some better Pictures (Score:4, Informative)

    by bobaferret (513897) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @09:58AM (#37367774)

    On the city's website is a better overview picture, as well as a map showing how it fits into the city.

      http://www.cupertino.org/index.aspx?page=1107 [cupertino.org]

    • On the city's website is a better overview picture, as well as a map showing how it fits into the city.

      Holy Crap! That's a cyclotron! Hasn't anybody else figured this out? If you guys think that the Reality Distortion Field is strong now, just wait until this puppy gets finished.

      This just can't end well.

  • The building should be surrounded by apple trees.

    Clever, right?

  • by superdude72 (322167) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @10:12AM (#37367886)

    ...I'll take a city any day.

    I worked on a corporate campus that was well integrated into the city of Berkeley, CA, for instance. Being able to easily go have lunch somewhere interesting, or stop by a bookstore, or visit the farmers' market--in other words, do the normal stuff that human beings like to do, as opposed to what food-court designers like to do--was a huge benefit of my job being located where it was.

    Working in an office park in South San Francisco, on the other hand, was like being perpetually stuck at the airport. My company provided a video game room to compensate. But it was like being an intelligent animal given a tire to play with at a poorly designed zoo. It is amazing to me that a place where tens of thousands of people work could be designed with so little thought to their needs other than cubicle space.

    This is why Silicon Valley companies such as Google provide all these seemingly cool benefits such as gourmet cafeterias. The office parks and campuses leave a lot to be desired in terms of quality of life when you're hiring people who may have just moved from a cool college town. As nice as the cafeteria at Google is, I doubt it's as cool as the gourmet gulch I left behind in Berkeley.

  • by arikol (728226) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @11:08AM (#37368286) Journal

    "the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

    Hmmmm.... that same notion didn't seem to arise on Wall street or in the banking sector even though they are generally situated in the heart of cities... maybe this pop-psychological link to the community doesn't override all the other factors, like being either a caring person or a sociopath? Jus' sayin'.

    • in the 2000s hedge funds increasingly became run out of people's basements... take connecticut for example. hedge fund capital of the world... dudes sitting in their mcmansions trading bonds in their man-caves.

      now with electronic trading of stocks, and commodities futures... the 'open outcry' pits where traders go to work and yell at each other, have almost disappeared... all that has happened mostly in the last 10 years.

  • That was part of the agreement Apple had with Cupertino - the "carefully tended landscaping" part of the compound is open to the public. If that isn't true, TFA has a point, but if it IS true, then the Apple employees might well look out onto the lawn and see a group of schoolkids on a field trip, or a couple eating a picnic lunch. That's not quite as disconnected from the rest of the city as one would initially claim.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @11:53AM (#37368642)

    and all you see out your window is the green perimeter

    Block up the windows.

    Office workers should consider themselves bloody lucky to either have a window to stare out of, or enough time away from doing their work to make one worthwhile. Isn't the desktop image on their monitors enough?

  • Ugh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Toonol (1057698) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @01:07PM (#37369100)
    'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant.'

    Jesus. I can't describe in words how contemptuous I am of anybody who would utter those words with a straight face.

    The crazy thing is, I would expect anybody who thinks that way to be an Apple zealot in the first place.
  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @02:26PM (#37369628) Homepage

    Cupertino is mostly suburban housing and strip malls. Apple's plan would be an improvement.

    As isolated corporate campuses go, it's not very isolated. Just in Silicon Valley, there are far more isolated HQs. There's Oracle HQ [panoramio.com], which is surrounded by water on three sides and has a huge lawn on the fourth. Like Larry Ellison, it's an in-your-face statement of arrogance.

    Google HQ is somewhat isolated; they now have almost all of the Shoreline Industrial Park. Their architecture is standard industrial park, built for SGI before SGI tanked.

    For over-the-top corporate HQ design, there's Excite@Home. [google.com] Yes, they're long gone. But before that dot-com went bust, they built an awesome headquarters complex on a finger of land a full mile out in the middle of San Francisco Bay. It has spectacular architecture, isolation, impressive open spaces, baseball fields, a health club with Olympic size pool, and a marina. Excite@Home went bust before moving in. The buildings were vacant for years, as a real estate company tried to rent them out. It was strange to walk through the huge complex of beautifully maintained empty office buildings. EA, Dreamworks, and some pharma companies now rent space there. It's still underutilized.

    IBM's Almaden Research Center [google.com] is the purest expression of the isolated research center. It's on a mountaintop south of San Jose, surrounded by open land and parks. You enter through a modest gate, then drive half a mile through the hills, seeing nothing but open land and trees. Then you see IBM's glass and steel buildings. The view of the mountains from the cafeteria is spectacular. Much good work came out of there during IBM's glory years, including disk drive technology and several Nobel prizes. Today it's a shadow of what it once was.

    Compared to all of those, Apple's planned HQ is nothing.

  • by gig (78408) on Sunday September 11, 2011 @06:33PM (#37371398)

    Fucking Apple Stores are not cut off from the world! Fully 1/3rd of all Apple employees work at an Apple Store with the actual consumers of the products. Every Apple Store is like a public entrance to the mothership. The Apple Store is like "onstage," and the mothership is like "backstage."

    Yes, creative people need to seclude themselves away while they work their shit out. They need a refuge that is outside of time and space, and they need it to be distraction-free, which it very often is not in an office, with fucking business criminals running around having meetings and and figuring out new ways to fuck the customer over.

    And if you work in front of a Mac, iPad, and iPhone all day, with your browser, email, Twitter, IM, 3 fucking FaceTime cameras, and so on, you are anything but cut off from the world.

    And when someone is working at Apple, that *is* a kind of community service. I don't care that the company somehow figured out how to take a 40% profit margin on an iPad, I care that they are selling the best $499 computer ever, and in many cases to people who have never used computers before. In other cases, to people who have had many computers, but never one that didn't crash, didn't get viruses, didn't demand they learn I-T, and can show accurate color and render HTML5 correctly. In other cases, they brought computing to a location or task it wasn't in before. For example, they made a phone that runs a Mac-class native C multitrack recorder called FourTrack that I have used to write hundreds of songs over the past 3 years, wherever I was, whatever I was doing when inspiration struck. Thousands of other songwriters also, FourTrack is very popular. You have almost certainly heard songs that were written using it without knowing it, which might not have even been written otherwise. There is one song that the writer said he wrote while halfway up a rock face, and he stopped and recorded the song in his head in FourTrack on iPhone. He could have forgotten it otherwise.

    With all the corporate malfeasance going on, a bought US government deliberately bankrupting the country to reduce corporate taxes by even more, the only reason you would be knocking Apple is you are starfucking. Everybody has a fucking opinion on Apple these days, most of them totally fucking misinformed. So tiresome.

The meta-Turing test counts a thing as intelligent if it seeks to devise and apply Turing tests to objects of its own creation. -- Lew Mammel, Jr.

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