Apple Campus 2 – The Size of a Town but Doesn’t Work as One
Been looking at the detailed drawing, by Fosters, for Apple Campus 2 recently published on the City of Cupertino website.
Its the size of a town. The site has a footprint larger than many. Most of the floorpspace being concentrated in a single building.
Its dysfunctional as a town, which is what something of this scale should be judged as. Over four thousand parking spaces would be several hundred metres from the main building. Once you get to the main building its several hundred metres to walk to the other side if you work there. And you can’t even walk in the desired line, you have to walk around a big circle. If you work opposite the cafeteria you lose 20 minutes of your lunch hour walking there and back, and the rest queuing.
If you drive under the main circle you might have to drive around it to the other side because of the length of walking. This will create backing up congestion – I hope they have done a microsimulation of the parking accumulation and waiting. Also the volume of pedestrians and traffic in some parts requires street widths, not corridor or parking lot widths. Again if I was the officer assessing this I would like to see some modelling, especially of the queues to the two counters of the 3,000 capacity cafeteria!
There is a good reason you don’t design towns as a single building – or even a spaceship – the principal of fractal locality. As you scale up things that should be close become far, so to retain the advantages of scale (see earlier post of why a City Scales like an Elephant) you have to introduce more and more local detail, like local shops, public spaces, gyms, meeting areas, resteraunts, cafes, bookshops.
Think of an airport terminal. Still designed as a building but with this kind of fractal localism, think of the number of different places you can buy a coffee before finally catching your plane. Another lesson of airports, travellators and magnetic trains, which is just what this site needs to get around.
Finally the scheme offers no visual markers to create a sense of place. Ironically the inspiration appears to be Microsoft’s Halo.
See the previous post Steve Jobs at a Planning Committee