Apple's Futuristic New HQ Set to Open Doors in April

With 17 megawatts of rooftop solar, Apple Park will run one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world.

AppleHQ

The Apple HQ spaceship, which hasn't embarked on any interstellar trips but sure looks like it could take off and get to warp speed pretty quickly, will soon be boarded by about 12,000 crew members.

Apple on Feb. 22 revealed that Apple Park, the company's new 175-acre Cupertino, Calif. campus, will be ready for employees sometime in April. The process of moving more than 12,000 staff people will take about six months; final construction of the buildings and parklands is scheduled to continue through the summer.

Apple Park, which for more than two decades was a Hewlett-Packard Co. site for business conferencing and engineering offices (to go with a very large parking lot), has become a ring-shaped, 2.8 million-square-foot main building protected on the exterior by the world's largest panels of curved glass.

With 17 megawatts of rooftop solar, Apple Park will run one of the largest on-site solar energy installations in the world. It is also the site of the world's largest naturally ventilated building, projected to require no heating or air conditioning for nine months of the year.

Go here to see a drone's eye view of the new campus construction.

The new headquarters, which has been under construction since 2013, originally was proposed by Steve Jobs, who hired Norman Foster, an acclaimed British architect, to design the campus. Job died in October 2011 and only got to imagine what his dream office would look like.

The central building is a four-story ring with a giant park in the center, filled with hundreds of fruit trees. The new campus will also include a 100,000 square-foot workout facility, a 1,000-seat underground auditorium and a huge underground car park, leaving space for miles of cycling and walking trails.

In all, the campus will have parking spaces for about 20,000 vehicles. Public transportation to and from Apple Park is a bit problematic, since there is no nearby rail connection.

Site Will Be Entirely Power-Sustainable

Apple aims to make the campus completely sustainable on renewable energy. Recent drone footage reveals some of the 700,000 square feet of rooftop solar panels being installed on the main building, which also features the largest piece of curved glass in the world.

Jobs would have turned 62 on Friday, Feb. 24. To honor his memory, Apple said the theater at Apple Park will be named the Steve Jobs Theater and will open later this year. The entrance to the 1,000-seat auditorium is a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder, 165 feet in diameter, supporting a metallic carbon-fiber roof. The theater is situated atop a hill on one of the highest points within Apple Park, overlooking meadows and the main building.

"Steve's vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come," CEO Tim Cook said. "The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We've achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world, and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy."

Will Include Visitors' Center and Apple Store & Cafe

Apple Park also will include a visitors center with an Apple Store and cafe open to the public, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center for Apple employees, secure research and development facilities and the Steve Jobs Theater.

The parklands offer two miles of walking and running paths for employees, plus an orchard, meadow and pond within the ring's interior grounds.

Apple Park replaces 5 million square feet of old-school asphalt and concrete with grassy fields and more than 9,000 native and drought-resistant trees.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he has...