How much does the “best office building in the world” according to Steve Jobs cost to build? The answer, right now, is about $5 billion, also known as over $2 billion above the estimated budget two years ago. Yes, money can buy everything, but it’s too bad there’s never enough of it. According to Bloomberg, five sources connected to the Foster + Partners-designed Cupertino Apple headquarters (and unauthorized to speak on the record) have confirmed that the Apple Campus 2 budget has swelled from under $3 billion to almost $5 billion over the course of less than two years.
Apple is currently working with Foster + Partners to shave off $1 billion before proceeding with the project, but even with this cost-cutting exercise, could Apple potentially jump the shark with its Cupertino spaceship? Hold dear to your iPads, because a few theories point to an emphatic yes. Not only has the palatial Silicon Valley campus often signaled the demise of many tech giants including Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics, who also erected temples to themselves in the area, but the donut-shaped tech office tends not to be a common one for many reasons. In an age when “creative” industries are designing workspaces that promote chance encounters and freedom of movement, Jobs has prescribed the track of a perfect circle for his employees, which looks pretty sexy in an aerial view rendering but might end up alienating occupants with its circuitous circulation.
We’re not saying that creativity will whither and die in Cupertino, but when a design dynasty starts pumping $4 to 5 billion into trophy architecture that mostly just looks good on Google Maps (or..err…the Maps App), it might be reason to pause.
Image: A rendering of Apple Campus 2, courtesy the architects.
- Kelly Chan