If you've been to a natural history museum lately, you're familiar with the glass-walled laboratories where paleontologists and archaeologists give the public a glimpse of their work. It sounds as though Apple is banking on the same level of interest in its day-to-day operations.
If not more. The Silicon Valley Business Journal's Nathan Donato-Weinstein reports that the dense planning documents submitted to the City of Cupertino contain a widely overlooked detail: That the doughnut-shaped main building will have a partner in a large visitor's center and Apple store — all topped by a roof made of carbon fibre designed to let visitors get an aerial view of the rarified campus itself.
Images: Silicon Valley Business Journal
While it seems like a way to encourage fans to come gawk at the Norman Foster-designed building, it's also some well-crafted crowd control. The company is clearly assuming that the fans will come — and when they do, there will be a specific play pen in which they can roam free and spend money. Donato-Weinstein explains:
On the ground floor: A 2,386-square-foot cafe and 10,114-square-foot store "which allows visitors to view and purchase the newest Apple products." Stairs and elevators take visitors to the roof level, about 23 feet up. There, they will be able to behold the multi-billion-dollar campus...
Who would have ever thought that in the 2010s, visiting a technology company's office would be a hot ticket for tourists? It's an interesting example of how Apple uses its physical offices — and more and more, its architecture — as a marketing tool.
Indeed, details of the construction process of the office itself have been slowly emerging, giving us a look at how the company is treating Foster's architecture much like its industrial design, with special attention paid to the smallest of details. Earlier this month, a source told Business Insider's Rob Price that "every piece of that phone is engineered, and the building is the same way."
Of course it is. When thousands of people care enough about your business to travel to suburban Cupertino to see where it's made, the place had better live up to the product.