Monday, May 29, 2017

Apple's New Campus

“It’s frustrating to talk about this building in terms of absurd, large numbers,” Ive says. “It makes for an impressive statistic, but you don’t live in an impressive statistic. While it is a technical marvel to make glass at this scale, that’s not the achievement. The achievement is to make a building where so many people can connect and collaborate and walk and talk.” The value, he argues, is not what went into the building. It’s what will come out.


Jobs hated air-conditioning and especially loathed fans. (He vigilantly tried to keep them out of his computers.) But he also didn’t want people opening windows, so he insisted on natural ventilation, a building that breathes just like the people who work inside it. “The flaps and the opening mechanism,” Behling explains, “all have to relate to sensors that measure where the wind is coming from and how the air goes through it.” Unlike sealed buildings in which the temperature is rigidly controlled, the Ring circulates outside air. The concrete in the floor and ceiling is embedded with tubes of water and is supposed to lock in a temperature between 68 and 77 degrees, so that the heating or cooling system will kick in only on very hot or cold days. (In theory some workers can use thermostats to adjust the temperature in a given pod, but only by a couple of degrees.)

When I later discuss the office climate with Apple’s environment czar, Lisa Jackson, she professes understanding—to a point. “It’s not like we’re asking people to be uncomfortable at work,” she says. “We’re asking them to recognize that part of being connected to the outside is knowing what temperature it is. We don’t want you to feel like you’re in a casino. We want you to know what time of day it is, what temperature it is outside. Is the wind really blowing? That was Steve’s original intention, to sort of blur that line between the inside and outside. It sort of wakes up your senses.”

- Steven Levy

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