Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

Apple pulls back the curtains on its ‘Spaceship’ campus

apple campus 2 construction spaceship  apr 2016
Matthew Roberts
Apple’s as-yet unfinished Campus 2 — the so-called “Spaceship building” — is an engineering marvel, no doubt, but it’s even more impressive up close. Enter Popular Science, which recently got the scoop on the $5 billion, Norman Foster-designed headquarters. The takeaway? It’s in equal parts groundbreaking and gorgeous.

First up on the tour was Campus 2’s 3,000 curved glass panes, which measure between 36 and 46 feet wide and 10 feet in length — “twice the length of the largest standard pane,” according to Apple — and weigh up to 7,000 pounds. They are entirely custom work by Sedak/Seele, the German architectural firm behind Apple’s retail store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and George Street in Sydney, Australia, and specially tempered at temperatures in excess of 600 degrees in a process meant to “preserve clarity” and “strengthen” the glass. Perhaps even more impressive, they’re manufactured at a tolerance far less forgiving than the industry standard: While most glass has a 1/8 tolerance, meaning it can be 1/8-inch longer or shorter than specified, in other words, the panes in Campus 2 were designed with a 1/32-inch tolerance.

But the building’s not all facade. In an effort to reduce its future dependence on nonrenewable (and environmentally harmful, in some cases) sources of energy, Campus 2 sports an array of biogas fuel cells and solar panels that are expected generate a collective 20 megawatts of power — enough to satisfy 75 percent of the building’s power requirements. (Monterey County and solar power company First Solar will supply the remaining 25 percent.) And Campus 2’s 4,300 hollowed-out “custom concrete slabs” that form the buildings foundation are designed to “breath” — they naturally circulate air, reducing the building’s need for conventional AC.

Another interesting tidbit? Campus 2’s restaurant doors together weigh 330 pounds and stand 92 feet tall.

The project has progressed quite a bit since it broke ground in November 2013 — after overcoming a series of contractual disputes that pushed the projected opening from 2015 to 2016, construction has progressed at a fast clip. Aerial footage taken in May showed the building’s massive carbon-fiber roof — the world’s largest — in place, and the facility’s 100,000-square-foot fitness center and twin parking garages are nearing completion.

The Campus 2 is expected to house 14,000 of Apple’s employees when it’s completed sometime next year.

It won’t be Apple’s last architectural undertaking. In October of 2015, the iPhone maker inked an agreement with developer Landbank Investments to lease new office space in Sunnyvale. The tentative design calls for a 777,000-square-foot office composed of three six-story buildings, rooftop gardens, and workplaces spaces that, in Apple’s words, will provide a space “where creativity, big ideas, and breakthroughs can flourish.”

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
Apple’s new M2 MacBook Pro can’t handle the heat — should you still buy it?
A MacBook Pro set on a table.

Apple's M2 chip found in the 13-inch MacBook Pro might struggle under pressure, found Vadim Yuryev of Max Tech on YouTube. The YouTuber tested the new MacBook Pro in order to see how it deals with extremely resource-heavy tasks.

This resulted in severe throttling upon hitting high temperatures, highlighting that Apple's design choices for the laptop might not be ideal in terms of cooling. But is this really a big deal for the intended userbase of the new MacBook Pro?

Read more
Apple M2 smokes the $6,000 Mac Pro and M1 MacBook Pro, leaked benchmark shows
Macbook Air (2022) on a stylized background.

Apple's new M2 chip appeared in a leaked Geekbench 5 test today. Found inside the upcoming 13-inch MacBook Pro, the latest iteration of Apple silicon certainly did a good job -- so much so that when compared to the Intel-based $6,000 Mac Pro, the M2 chip is actually the winner.

Based on the leaked benchmark, the M2 has proven itself to be up to 20% faster than the M1, thus surpassing Apple's own expectations for the chip. Aside from beating the high-end Mac Pro, the M2 also wins against the M1 MacBook Pro.

Read more
Hate the notch? Too bad, it’s on the new M2 MacBook Air
The redesigned MacBook Air at WWDC 2022.

Apple has launched a new version of the MacBook Air at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). The announcement comes after many months of speculation, finally putting to bed an endless round of rumors that a new lightweight laptop was under development in Apple’s secret labs.

The laptop comes with a number of brand-new features. It is powered by the M2 chip, the first in a new generation of Apple Silicon chips that Apple says is much faster than its M1 predecessor.

Read more