While techies are anxiously awaiting the new iPhone 5, governor Jerry Brown announced that Apple’s massive new Cupertino campus in California is now approved for fast track. The new Foster + Partners-designed headquarters, which to many resembles a massive doughnut, spaceship or iPhone or iPad button, has therefore scored “streamlined treatment” as it undergoes the requisite environmental review processes.
The announcement that Apple’s Cupertino campus has been put on the fast-track does not mean that the redevelopment of the former Cupertino campus of Hewlett Packard will actually proceed any faster than usual. Instead, this designation ensures the project will benefit from a smoother judicial review process if any litigation opposing the project arises. To that end Governor Brown touted the $100 million investment as a sustainable development that includes clean energy technologies such as solar panels and fuel cells, as well as a new hub of innovation for the 12,000 Apple employees preparing to relocate from other locations. The ultramodern 3.1 million square feet office building also boasts all underground parking and the revival of orchards that will bring back the days when apricot orchards, not Apple, ruled Cupertino.
Steve Jobs had presented his idea of the new campus to the Cupertino City Council only a few months before he died last October. Jobs knew this campus would be his final legacy, although the city council members never got the message as they asked him about installing free city-wide WiFi as well as opening an Apple store within Cupertino. The project, like the company itself, is likely to attract more controversy, as it claims to generate no greenhouse gas emissions and because of the effects it could have on traffic in local neighborhoods.
Photos courtesy Foster + Partners
The author is a Cupertino native.