Friday, September 09, 2011

Apple's mothership

Apple has posted the plans for its new spaceship campus.
Architecturally it is original, but for the community it has a lot to be desired. Part of the charm with Apple in Cupertino is that the buildings are scattered throughout the neighborhood. Even the Infinite Loop headquarters building is connected by a pedestrian sidewalk to a junior high school and a residential neighborhood.

The new campus, however, falls victim to ugly car-central pseudo-eco development. The campus is somewhat isolated from living areas, and tries to make itself even more isolated. Sure, there is a lot of green space, but there is also a huge fence around the campus cutting off any public access to it.

And the plans include cutting off a section of Pruneridge to make a disconnected fenced-in path. Sure, greening over a street may be nice, but the least you could do is make a public path.

Perhaps a bigger question is whether or not this building will ever get built. Sure, Apple is on a nice upward trajectory now. But Apple was doing fairly well after Jobs was fired in the mid-80s, only to stagnate for a decade before the iPod came out. With one of the largest market-caps around (with a relative low valuation), is there much room for upward growth?

Perhaps Apple's growth will stall while the building is in the approval process, and it will be scaled down (or never built.)

Or maybe it will be built, with Apple needing every bit of space, as they sit on a cash hoard bigger than the US national debt.

Or maybe they will really vacate all the leased building, turning Cupertino in to an office ghost town - or perhaps leading to a startup boom in the city.

Tune in a few years from now to see how it plays out.

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