Apple is about to reveal its $5 billion campus to the public -- here's what you need to know

Apple will unveil its new iPhones next week, but the biggest reveal may be the company’s new headquarters. 

Located in Cupertino, California, just down the freeway from its previous headquarters, the new building, dubbed Apple Park, is a single ring about a mile in circumference. It’s set in a large campus that also features a massive fitness center and is landscaped with numerous plants and fruit trees.

Apple plans to generally restrict access to the campus to its employees. But next week, members of the press will visit the grounds to see CEO Tim Cook and company reveal the latest iPhones in the Steve Jobs Theatre, Apple’s new on-campus auditorium.

Apple Park, which has been compared to a UFO and the Pentagon, contains more than 2.8 million square feet of office space, can accommodate some 12,000 employees and has a workspace that’s been carefully overseen by Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer.

Jobs, Apple’s cofounder and former CEO, once said that the spaceship-like structure was Apple’s “shot at building the best office building in the world.” And after about $US5 billion in costs, Apple’s ready to show off its new campus to the public. 

Here’s a look at how Apple Park was built: 

Here's how Apple Park and the surrounding campus looked in March 2017.


This is an architect's rendering of the finished building that was made public in 2013.

This is the Steve Jobs Theatre.

YouTube/Matthew Roberts

The auditorium seats 1,000 people. The actual stage is four stories underground.

The Steve Jobs Theatre has two custom-made rotating elevators.

The auditorium also has a hidden product demonstration room where next week some members of the press and public will likely get to touch the new iPhones for the first time.

Steve Jobs originally announced the plans for Apple Park at a Cupertino City Council meeting in 2011.

At the time, Steve Jobs referred to the project as 'Apple Campus 2.'

It ended up being his last public appearance.

'It's a little like a spaceship landed,' Jobs said, and a nickname for the building was born.

As you can see from the video, Jobs' unveiling of the campus felt a little bit like an iPhone launch.

Apple Park is one freeway exit away from Apple's previous headquarters, Infinite Loop, but is significantly larger.

Apple/Cupertino City Council

Apple's architect is Foster + Partners.

Foster + Partners / Cupertino

This diagram shows a detailed look at campus' layout.

Note the fairly large fitness center in the northwest corner of the lot, the ample parking near the freeway, and the corporate auditorium -- the small circle just below and to the right of the spaceship -- which has direct access from the nearby city street.

'Don't think of me as the client, think of me as part of your team,' Jobs told the architects who worked on the project.


Lead architect Norman Foster recounted Jobs' words in a video presented to the Cupertino City Council. He called the statement from Jobs not only one of the CEO's 'most memorable,' but 'perhaps vital to the project.'

Watch the full video here.

The design for Apple's new campus was partly inspired by the main quad at Stanford University, Foster said.

Apple's new campus is on the same site previously occupied by Hewlett-Packard's advanced products group.


Apple tore down the buildings formerly used by HP in 2013. You can watch a video of the demolition here.

The land was completely cleared in 2014.

YouTube/Dana Diederich

This is a photo from that May.

Then it was time to start building.

Youtube/Duncan Sinfield

This is a snapshot of the construction from February 2016.

Among the building's defining features are its huge panes of curved glass.

According to Seele, Apple's glass supplier, Apple Park uses 'something like six kilometers of glass.'

A leaked photo from January provided a sneak peek of Apple Park's interior.


You can see more photos at Mac Generation.

Apple Park was designed to feel light and airy inside.


This is a rendering of the interior.

Apple and its architects have even obsessed over the tables inside the building.

Apple's table is identical to this one, only twice as long.

Apple commissioned custom tables from Arco, a Dutch furniture maker. The company's
table of choice is an 18-foot-long and 4-foot-wide solid white oak slab that weighs 660 pounds. It's basically Arco's $US2,500 Essenza table, only twice as long.

But Apple has focused on its campus' outside spaces as well as the inside of its buildings.


Some 80% of the new campus will be reserved for green space, and Apple has planted thousands of trees.

Many of those trees, especially inside the ring, are going to be fruit trees.

YouTube/The Daily Conversation

In this diagram, the purple dots are plum trees, the orange dots are apricot trees, the brown dots are olive trees, and the red ones are persimmon trees. Appropriately, the space will have lots of apple trees -- they're the yellow dots.

The landscaping is still ongoing, but Apple is putting the finishing touches on it now.

Here's how Apple plants a tree:

Apple decided to plant mature trees to make the campus green quicker.


One fun fact about Apple Park: No dirt was removed from the site.

For a while, there was a giant dirt pyramid on the campus that was comprised of all the earth that had been removed.

'Hard to know which is more beautiful, the building or that pile of dirt,' Apple CEO Tim Cook told Vogue last year.

YouTube/Duncan Sinfield

Story here.

The spaceship building will be uncommonly environmentally-friendly.


Apple says it will be the largest naturally ventilated building in the world, meaning it won't need air conditioning or heating for most of the year.

Here's a peek inside, courtesy of construction workers who took some pictures.


Apple park contains about 4,300 concrete slabs, according to Popular Science.


The slabs are hollow in the middle, which helps the building stay cool, according to the report.

The spaceship building is also covered with solar panels.

Matthew Roberts/YouTube

Nearly every inch of the roof will generate electricity.


The campus will be a fitness fanatic's paradise.


Employees will have access to the miles of jogging and cycling trails that are arrayed across the campus, and to on-site bikes they can use to get around. The campus also has gym and fitness center that cost more than $US70 million to build, according to public permits.

The campus gym was inspired in part by a hotel in Yosemite National Park.


The stone that covers the gym, which is being trucked in from Kansas, is being distressed to make it look like that found at Jobs' favourite hotel in the park, according to Wired.

While the new campus will have a snazzy looking gym, it won't offer workers any on-site childcare, Wired reported.

Employees started moving into Apple Park in April.


In March, in a progress report to the Cupertino City Council, Apple said the headquarters building, fitness center, auditorium, and garage were still being constructed. Although workers were slated to start occupying Apple Park in April, Apple didn't plan to move over all of the employees expected to work there all at once. Instead, it said it planned to move them gradually between then and the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the company said it didn't expect to complete the second phase of the project or the 'ancillary buildings' until next year.

Business Insider will report from Apple Park live on Tuesday as the company reveals its newest iPhones.


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