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Critic Pans Apple's New Campus As a Retrograde Cocoon

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-need-more-grit-and-dirt-and-crime dept.

Apple 332

theodp writes "LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne isn't exactly bullish on Apple's proposed new headquarters, which will hold 12,000 Apple employees in its 2.8 million sq ft. Described by Apple as 'a serene and secure environment' for its employees, Hawthorne says the new campus 'keeps itself aloof from the world around it to a degree that is unusual even in a part of California dominated by office parks. The proposed building is essentially one very long hallway connecting endlessly with itself.' Corporate architecture of this kind, adds Hawthorne, seems to promote a mindset decried by Berkeley prof Louise A. Mozingo. 'If all you see in your workday are your co-workers and all you see out your window is the green perimeter of your carefully tended property,' Mozingo writes, and you drive to and from work in the cocoon of your private car, 'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

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332 comments

The Walled Garden Of Eden (5, Funny)

cognoscentus (1628459) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367326)

The cocoon must be sealed to contain the reality distortion field!

Re:The Walled Garden Of Eden (2)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367884)

Maybe they should change the name to Playtronics. [imdb.com]

Essentially a walled world (4, Insightful)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367332)

Isnt that Apple's business model anyway?

Re:Essentially a walled world (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367388)

Not really. When it comes to iDevices the software distribution is pretty much a walled garden, yes. But on the computer side this isn't the case. And in general Apple is more about selling products and systems that are tightly integrated and designed to "Just Work(tm)". I'm not saying this always works out the way they want it to, but that seems to be what they strive for. They don't sell you a bunch of generic parts put together into a computer that you are supposed to easily be able to replace and toy with (hardware-wise), they sell a product that's supposed to be good enough that you're not supposed to feel the need to pop the case open.

It's not for everyone (or every use-case), but when it works it can be extremely good (myself I use a 27" iMac as my main workstation but I wouldn't want every machine in my home to be a mac).

Re:Essentially a walled world (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367500)

But on the computer side this isn't the case.

They still sell computers?

Re:Essentially a walled world (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367624)

It's over 30% of the money they make

Re:Essentially a walled world (1, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367794)

When it comes to iDevices the software distribution is pretty much a walled garden, yes. But on the computer side this isn't the case.

This distinction works right up until the point where, as some rumors have it, Apple discontinues the MacBook Air and Mac mini in favor of new iDevices that are glorified iPad and Apple TV and respectively.

Re:Essentially a walled world (1, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368196)

This distinction works right up until the point where, as some rumors have it, Apple discontinues the MacBook Air and Mac mini in favor of new iDevices that are glorified iPad and Apple TV and respectively.

Your argument works right up to the point were, as rumors typically go, they turn out to be false.

Save your angst and garment rendering for reality. It's bad enough as it is.

1 Infinite Loop (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367350)

one very long hallway connecting endlessly with itself

In other words, it'll be even more of an infinite loop than Apple's current Infinite Loop campus [wikipedia.org] . Is it even possible for things to be "more infinite"?

Re:1 Infinite Loop (2)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367374)

Re:1 Infinite Loop (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367542)

No. Infinite sets can have different sizes, but they're all equally infinite.

Re:1 Infinite Loop (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367632)

No, they're not "equally" infinite. They are just all infinite. Aleph Null != other "degrees" of infinity.

Re:1 Infinite Loop (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367570)

Yeah. Take, for instance, the rational numbers and real numbers. Rational numbers are countable infinite, while reals are uncountable infinite. Uncountable infinite sets tend to be larger than countable sets by a factor of about 3-4, although it's gone down a little bit recently since the recession.

Re:1 Infinite Loop (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368210)

Uncountable infinite sets tend to be larger than countable sets by a factor of about 3-4, although it's gone down a little bit recently since the recession.

Still, better than my 401K. How to I transfer funds?

Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367376)

People who have nothing better to do than criticize some company's proposed building needs to get a life.

Re:Who cares? (4, Insightful)

Jrono (470199) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367420)

People who have nothing better to do than criticize some company's proposed building needs to get a life.

"LA Times architecture critic"

Yes... architecture critic should stop criticizing architecture...

Re:Who cares? (1, Redundant)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367474)

But he's not criticizing the architecture.. he's criticizing the effect he thinks the architecture will have on the employees of a technology company.

Unless he's a psychologist and technology expert, and also has something to back up this crazy notion, it might as well be a Feng-shui guy arrogantly chiming in on the layout of a motherboard.


(And I say this as an Apple skeptic who realizes that Jobs was, at times, a Feng-shui guy who arrogantly chimed in on the layouts of motherboards with disastrous results)

Re:Who cares? (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367524)

That actually is what architecture as a field largely thinks about these days. For the past 90 years or so, at least since the publication of Le Courbusier's Toward an Architecture [amazon.com] (1923) if not earlier, architecture is about constructing spaces that enable and shape living, work and leisure, and what effects architectural choices have on individuals and societies. It is, yes, also about the placement of load-bearing walls and whether to include decorative gargoyles on the pediment, but those aren't the main things architects and architecture ctitics study. So this article's criticism seems pretty directly within scope: how architecture shapes work and the interaction of workers with the society around them.

Re:Who cares? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368230)

Huh. That's interesting. And here I thought that the Architect's job was most to spend expensive hours arguing with the Engineer.

Re:Who cares? (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367676)

That's why architects design buildings, and not engineers. They are actually educated to do this sort of thing, believe it or not.

Re:Who cares? (5, Funny)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367892)

That's why architects design buildings, and not engineers. They are actually educated to do this sort of thing, believe it or not.

The last time an architect tried to design an engineer the results were definitely not "aesthetically pleasing".

Re:Who cares? (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368242)

that was funny

steve jobs actually did chime about motherboard (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367900)

layouts... its pretty well known he made some guys redesign a motherboard because it wasnt pretty enough.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367706)

But why /is/ there an architecture critic?

Re:Who cares? (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367816)

People who have nothing better to do than criticize some company's proposed building needs to get a life.

"LA Times architecture critic"

Yes... architecture critic should stop criticizing architecture...

I like it better when he dances.

Re:Who cares? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367422)

As opposed to someone who criticizes someone for criticizing someone ^^

Re:Who cares? (2)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367484)

As opposed to som-- fuck it

Analysis is not criticism. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367480)

There's a big difference between analysis and criticism. The article is analysis. It presents the facts, considers and examines them, and then reports on the findings.

What you just wrote is criticism. It is based solely upon an emotional outburst, with complete disregard for fact, and with absolutely no thinking involved.

In case you're not yet able to comprehend these concepts, this comment that you're reading now is analysis.

Re:Who cares? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367510)

I was more bugged about him blasting Jobs for not including a credit roll as part of the proposal. I've been in on these meetings and I've never once heard names being dropped about who worked on the project. The council members wouldn't recognize the names of famous architects or design firms so what would be the point? He also bashes it for not really being green without making any specific points except for claiming you'll need a car. I guess he was pissed off that Jobs didn't include a monorail in the design. It was mostly opinion with few if any facts. More "I hate Apple, just because". Jobs made Pixar what it is and saved Apple from a sure death. He deserves some kudos. And no he didn't do it all on his own but what exec has ever done it all himself? He never once claimed he did any of it he simply provided the leadership needed to make it all work. The guy changed computers and even personal electronics for millions of people. It'll be a sad day when he finally passes.

Re:Who cares? (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367650)

There are other ways to avoid needing a car on a campus other than including a monorail. Good architects these days notice immediately the transportation requirements created by the architecture, because of the energy, pollution, time, social and beauty degradation that cars bring. Creating a need for cars is certainly not green.

Jobs deserves and gets plenty of kudos for his tech and biz achievements. But when his perhaps final achievement has problems, especially one at odds with the humanist image his whole career has cultivated, that doesn't deserve kudos. It deserves criticism that points out where the architecture doesn't live up to the standards Jobs created.

But then, your ramble winds into an early eulogy. You're not talking about architecture. You're just an Anonymous fanboy Coward who detected less than total worship of Steve, and jumped in to save the day.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37368036)

Actually, I believe that Apple has buses going to and from its campus to reduce the need for employees to drive.[1] Microsoft has a similar arrangement, too.
Presumably they will extend the service to the new campus.
[1] [macnn.com]

Re:Who cares? (2)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367640)

What? The guy is a journalist who writes about architecture.

I understand that you may not give a rat's ass about architecture, or human factors engineering, or Apple, or their recently proposed spaceship building. But seriously? Okay, fine, anyone who writes critically about architecture is a loser with no life. Also, Roger Ebert is a waste of space, and Edward Said is a piker.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368146)

I'm not going to go that far, but just read the dude's quote in TFSummary:

"the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

I know, I *KNOW* that your ears can taste feces. And your eyes, since you're reading that.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Javagator (679604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367734)

Professors may need to ponder the "shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm", or at least pretend to, but engineers need to develop innovative products. Different jobs need different environments.

Re:Who cares? (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367838)

And here you are, criticizing someone else's work although you clearly don't have a clue on what you are talking about. This is the definition of hypocrisy.

Obsessive Analysis (5, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367424)

'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

Or maybe it is just an office building and the product is defined by the corporate culture and people who presumably explore the community beyond work and home.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367462)

Considering that being surrounded by green space is a health benefit, I'd rather be there than their artsy-fartsy-but-doesn't-really-mean-anything "notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm"

Downtown cores suck. It's called a concrete jungle for a reason.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367506)

Indeed. Ms. Mozingo needs to do less bloviating and more making of sammich's.

Downtown cores are perfectly fine. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367602)

The problem isn't with downtown cores. The problem is with how Americans tend to build them. The "concrete jungle" you speak of is a uniquely-American mistake.

Of course such downtown areas will be shitty and imbalanced if you only have downtowns where nobody lives, and people only come from the suburbs to work there from 0900 to 1700 on weekdays.

But if you do it sensibly, like is done in Europe, Asia and even American-like countries like Canada and Australia, you end up with excellent areas that are very livable. People end up living downtown, rather than just working there. Because of this, there are often extensive parks and green space. There is nightlife. There is a community spirit that you just don't find in the suburbs.

Now, this sort of a downtown area does depend on some things that many Americans mistakenly consider "socialist" or even "communist", like good public transit. That's why America only has a few good downtown areas, and they are always in older cities like Chicago and New York City. Americans today have such a warped view that they probably couldn't implement a good downtown, even if they tried their hardest.

Re:Downtown cores are perfectly fine. (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367760)

Somebody mod parent up, it's an insightful and well-reasoned response; a shame it was posted by AC...

Re:Downtown cores are perfectly fine. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37368422)

Pubic transport is where you sit in someone elses filthy cum, hair gel mystery excretion and are trapped until you get to your destination 20 times as long as it by car.

A cost study done in 2009 states that Indianapolis would have saved half a billion if it bought every rider a car and 5 years of gasoline.

You propose good socialist vorker bugs on a stinking bus. Europe uses force to achieve this. It's creeping into some US urban stink holes but fortunately not all.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367750)

The critic doesn't say that the campus should have less green space or more downtown core.

And N California downtown cores don't suck. Just because yours does doesn't mean others' do.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (2)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368154)

You don't know what you are talking about, and you reasoning is simplistic. A metropolitan area doesn't necessarily mean a "concrete jungle". See the Athens Charter [wikipedia.org] to start to understand how a metropolitan area can and does improve the lives of those who experience it, as no mindless, unorganized urban sprawl can, no matter how many trees are planted. Only the poorly designed urban areas, or those who lack any rational organization, which is pretty much the case of every major US city, tend to take the shape of a sort of shanty town with skyscrapers. Cities such as Paris, Brasilia and Curitiba were built following a rational urban plan, and they aren't the "concrete jungle" which you mentioned. In fact, cities only take the shape of unorganized, unlivable "concrete jungles" if shiny new buildings are mindlessly accepted by town councils due to their shininess and in spite of any negative influence they have on the environment, economy and community.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (1)

ElrondHubbard (13672) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368206)

Downtown cores suck. It's called a concrete jungle for a reason.

Downtown cores suck because they're designed that way, by people who hate them because they've never experienced anything better. Older, highly dense city cores in Europe, on the other hand, don't suck -- because thought was put into their design. Read James Howard Kunstler [amazon.com] to find out more.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (4, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367498)

So basically the critic was trying to put into a negative light the fact that the Apple Campus will have lots of trees, be embrace nature, foster a healthy work ethic, and all without contributing to urban sprawl of larger cities. You just can't win can you?

Re:Obsessive Analysis (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367528)

Uh what? You're right except for the urban sprawl part; spawning new campuses in (relatively) remote locations drives housing development near them... urban sprawl. What we need is more use of already-extant locations. For example there's lots of malls going empty all over the country; Apple should find a clever way to repurpose some of those. The malls already have all the services needed by an office building, they have more parking than you will need but you can use some of that flat space to put up more buildings. Or, you can rip some out and put in trees, which would be welcomed by the community. When and if the economy recovers to the point that there is a need for new building, they can put up their fancy new campus then and let the mall turn back into a mall.

The campus will have less trees than it could without a building there, and it is also unnecessary as we have plenty of empty buildings. But reusing existing structures doesn't feed anyone's ego...

Re:Obsessive Analysis (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367604)

"uh what?" right back at you. Apple is doing in-fill development here. It is taking down lots of existing office buildings and associated parking lots and building a much more footprint-efficient design that allows going from less than 10% landscaped space to one that has about 80% landscaped space. They are not bulldozing a farm/forest on the edge of the developed area.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368066)

And yet, there is not a need for ANY development, only remodeling.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367652)

Windows. Malls don't tend to have 'em in very great abundance. Which is one of the reasons that they're a sucky place to work.

The new apple building concept drawing looks like there will be a lot of views of the outside from the offices, and outside isn't just some concrete canyon, it's going to be somewhat natured. From the exterior shots, you can't tell what the workers' point of view will be (maybe they have no sight line to a window unless they're management or something....), but it looks like a great place to work, assuming those great big windows are viewed by everyone.

It seems like that is the architect's main objection: the facility will not be nearly as shitty as facilities other workers have to deal with, and somehow that unfairness equates to bad design?

How will employees commute? (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367888)

Windows. Malls don't tend to have 'em in very great abundance.

Nor do Macs, incidentally. For not much more than the price of a copy of Windows designed to run on a Mac (Windows 7 Home Premium retail), one could buy a nettop with its own copy of Windows (Windows 7 Home Premium OEM) and stick it on the KVM next to a Mac mini.

It seems like that is the architect's main objection: the facility will not be nearly as shitty as facilities other workers have to deal with, and somehow that unfairness equates to bad design?

How will employees commute between home and this new campus? Is it close enough to walk or bike? Is there adequate public transit? Or will most employees have to drive? The article quotes UC Berkeley architecture professor Louise A. Mozingo that a campus like this "precludes the concentration of population that makes public transportation feasible for governments and users."

Re:Obsessive Analysis (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37368028)

So basically the critic was trying to put into a negative light the fact that the Apple Campus will have lots of trees, be embrace nature, foster a healthy work ethic, and all without contributing to urban sprawl of larger cities. You just can't win can you?

Before wasting your time criticizing someone else's work, you should at least try to understand what has been said. After all, odds are that those you are trying to criticize, which happen to have taught architecture at Columbia University and the University of California at Berkeley [latimes.com] may actually know a bit more about architecture than you do.

Regarding your claim, the Christopher Hawthorne's criticism isn't a simplistic and naive tirade on "lots of trees" and other nonsense, which you may only interpret as such if you hadn't read the article (and therefore made your comment to be baseless and knee-jerk gibberish). What Christopher Hawthorne stated is that, contrary to what Jobs' and his minions said, the design for Apple's new campus isn't cutting-edge and "is practically bursting with contradictions". Among the contradictions, Christopher Hawthorne pointed out the following:

"in many ways it is a doggedly old-fashioned proposal, recalling the 1943 Pentagon building as well as much of the suburban corporate architecture of the 1960s and '70s. And though Apple has touted the new campus as green, its sprawling form and dependence on the car make a different argument.

He goes further by stating the following obvious but insightful point:

The more interesting question is whether a place like Cupertino can maintain its low-density sprawl in future decades, as the Bay Area's population continues to grow, and whether the council's enthusiasm for the new Apple headquarters can be read as an endorsement of a car-dependent approach to city and regional planning that might have made sense in the 1970s but will seem irresponsible or worse by 2050.

For those with a basic understanding the deep impact that urban planning has on our lives, including social and economical, this is rather obvious. If the city accepts this sort of architecture then it will be forced to invest time and money aggravating their urban mobility problem and making their lives harder by making it impossible to provide basic logistic networks that are cheap to maintain and to use. Moreover, if a city is designed so that their inhabitants' lives are limited to a small bubble of reality which contains nothing more than their suburban homes, their cars and their workspaces then this sort of urban plan will end generating generations of sociopaths who are detached from their community and it's affairs. This will force segregation based on where you are employed. This problem and it's negative impact on society is widely known for decades, with the inception of social housing [slashdot.org] and the problems that it ended up generating in pretty much every country which invested in it, including France, Germany, and even the US.

So, no. This isn't, as you put it, a petty criticism targetted at Apple, an organization which, by the victimizing comments some people make, is always perfect and is always right. This is a very reasonable and realistic comment on the negative impact that this shiny piece of architecture has and will have on a community, economically and socially. And if you tried to step away from Apple's reality distortion field you would realize that.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (3, Interesting)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367764)

Or maybe it is just an office building and the product is defined by the corporate culture and people who presumably explore the community beyond work and home.

To a layman an office building may be "just an office building", but that doesn't mean that it is true and that the design of a building doesn't have social and psychological impact on those who experience the building and interact with it. It does, and it has a deeper impact on our everyday lives than we, particularly the laymen, are able to recognize, at least at first sight. There is a reason why architecture is more demanding and requires a lot more technical know-how than what is expected from mere designers and even civil engineers. Just for a glimpse, take Kevin Lynch's [wikipedia.org] take on a city's mental map [wikipedia.org] , and try to understand the importance of being able to define a space where you can explicitly shape those mental maps to provide a better living experience to those who use it.

Re:Obsessive Analysis (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367962)

Yes, totally over analyzed. It is obviously just a nice place for a large group of fags to hang out, and talk fag things unimpeded by the rest of the world.

A bit of a stretch (3, Insightful)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367426)

Architecture is an art. Some like, some don't. It is an interesting viewpoint but trying to link the shape of a building to Apple employees social responsibilities is a bit of a stretch. Especially since most university campuses are cocoons in of themselves yet successfully promote global social responsibilities.

Re:A bit of a stretch (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367470)

Especially since most university campuses are cocoons in of themselves yet successfully promote global social responsibilities.

I agreed with you until this point. At which time I realized the critic of Apple's new campus might have a point. The reason that is the case is that university campuses tend to promote "global social responsibility" that absolves those in them from actually doing anything themselves about the problems around them. The products of university "global social responsibility" demand that the government do something, thus they do not need to dedicate their own resources to attempting to address the problems themselves.

Re:A bit of a stretch (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367718)

Finally some real Teabagger anarchism.

Universities don't address problems with themselves or the world around them? Did you graduate from Apex Tech or something?

People in (American) universities often learn that our government is the people organized to do things to protect our rights. People these universities produce are more likely to actually vote and otherwise participate in public life. And are more likely to learn history and reason which tell us that without government, we get anarchy that corporations (and their version without state limits) quickly fill.

You seem to be living in a cocoon yourself.

"Positive rights" or just entitlements? (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367932)

our government is the people organized to do things to protect our rights.

And a lot of university graduates confuse rights with entitlements, which they call positive rights [wikipedia.org] . For example, the article mentions that cocoon campuses like this make public transit more difficult. Is public transit a "right" or a mere entitlement?

Re:A bit of a stretch (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367726)

It's not simply "the shape of a building". The architecture determines the limits of the function, which limits the activities of the people. Good architecture is well understood to strongly influence the overall tendencies of the activities of the people who use it. Architecture puts its users into a frame of mind, which can strongly influence social attitudes and behaviors well beyond its walls.

Re:A bit of a stretch (2)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367896)

There's actually considerable criticism of that aspect of university architecture as well, the "playground for educated kids w/o jobs" aspect of the American 4-year residential college. Some universities are more integrated with an urban area, as is more typical in Europe, where e.g. the University of Paris is deeply integrated into Parisian life, both physically and culturally, rather than being located in a separated campus.

Shocking... look out the window and see green? (2)

TimTucker (982832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367436)

Seems a little backward that there would be complaints that workers might look out their windows and see grass, trees, and other natural things.

Everything I've read on productivity and mental health would suggest it would be beneficial to have a less "urban" view out your window.

Re:Shocking... look out the window and see green? (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367692)

The review doesn't say the grass and trees are bad. It says that the fact that workers will see only Apple's grass and trees is bad. It's the disconnection, not the greenery that's bad. And the review explains why, in brief but meaningful detail.

Re:Shocking... look out the window and see green? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368182)

The review doesn't say the grass and trees are bad. It says that the fact that workers will see only Apple's grass and trees is bad. It's the disconnection, not the greenery that's bad. And the review explains why, in brief but meaningful detail.

Well my understanding is that unless Apple wants to move their headquarters to the middle of a state park or something, staying in Cupertino, CA gives them few choices on who's trees and grass they are allowed to see. The proposed site [techcrunch.com] currently contains office buildings with some trees near a freeway in the middle of an urban setting. Would the reviewer prefer Apple to leave mostly concrete there or simply move into the current site with no change? Basically what other companies like Microsoft, Google, etc do.

Re:Shocking... look out the window and see green? (2)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368222)

You failed to understand what has been said. There is absolutely no problem with seeing green when looking out of an office's window. The problem which has been pointed out is that this sort of "let's build an isolated compound in the middle of nowhere" attitude to urban planning and architecture forces the people to dissociate themselves with their community and also the world. This forces people to live in a bubble which comprises of their home, their car and their office. This is an incentive to sociopathy and the lack of a meaningful personal life. Haven't you ever heard of the heavy toll that the dreaded commute takes on anyone? And there's also the economical problem that this causes on everyone, by relying on personal transportation and long, saturated public highways to be able to drive between home and work.

This problem has been recognized in decades, if not over a century. A solution has already been widely recognized and publicized, in the form of the Athens Charter [wikipedia.org] . Yes, it is possible to have a metropolitan area that lets people "look out their windows and see grass, trees, and other natural things." So, why insist on this sort of plan which has a known profound negative impact on society?

So what? (2, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367444)

'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

Yeah and...so what? Is that a fancy way of saying that office workers should work in the 'hood so, what, I feel some personal responsibility for fixing it? Does that mean I need to work in the hood so I can stare at it all day?

'If all you see in your workday are your co-workers and all you see out your window is the green perimeter of your carefully tended property,

Of course I see my coworkers when I'm at work. That's why they call it work. That's what I'm there to do. And if my workplace can be nice and in nature, hey, cool.

Look, I'm not an Apple fan. I give them shit for all kinds of things. Building a nice work environment for their employees is not on the list of things I will give them shit for. And I don't see it as the job of any company, or any employee, to intentionally increase their connection, proximity, or exposure to increasing urban density. Some people like dense urban areas, some don't, but it's not anybody's responsibility to specifically increase density.

This is predictable coming from an urban paper like the LA Times. They see concrete and steel as desirable. Green things are to be assaulted at all turns. But there are others of us who like trees, shade, grass, and other nice things. The goal isn't to be disconnected from anything - it's to be able to hear something other than traffic noise, and see something other than dirty man-made surfaces while at work.

Hey, I think it sounds nice. I think the LA Times needs to go camping and discover that there's more to life than concrete.

Re:So what? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367668)

I agree. I think it's a beautiful building, and really like that the parking, etc is underground. I still think it's Steve Jobs tribute to himself, but he has earned it, to a degree. A corporate culture for social responsibility, etc can be fostered in better ways than the architecture of your building.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37368234)

> and really like that the parking, etc is underground.

Or perhaps there is no parking facility and employees have to use public transportation.

Oh, Apple's "social responsibility" doesn't stretch that far. Silly me. Return to your personal pollution vehicles.

Re:So what? (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367684)

The critique didn't say anything about "the hood", by which you mean some ghetto. Cupertino doesn't have "the hood". The "collective metropolitan realm" is lots of other rich, high-end IT corporations and the other businesses that support them. But that realm has some diversity: other people who aren't working on Apple's stuff. Not getting Apple's specific corporate values or outlook. It might or might not have dirty manmade surfaces, concrete and steel. It doesn't really have density, except in the corporate arcologies like Apple's. It does have other people, with other points of view. Which is healthy. Monoculture isn't healthy, no matter how green it is.

Why do you fear the hood, that you surely have managed to avoid without an Apple architect, so much that you see it lurking in the shadows of an architecture review that doesn't have it? Is it your guilt over not fixing it? Because the only place your complaint could have come from is inside your own psychology. Not the review you're using as a way to get it out there in front of us.

Re:So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367946)

"Why do you fear the hood"

because it's full of niggers

Re:So what? (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368228)

Why do you fear the hood, that you surely have managed to avoid without an Apple architect, so much that you see it lurking in the shadows of an architecture review that doesn't have it?

Of course it doesn't. Because that's not how academics (like the one cited) speak. I'm reading between the lines on that comment about "shared responsibility" for the "urban realm". While the article deals with Cupertino, that line was lifted from a book that wasn't about Apple. So the author of that book had something else in mind entirely. It seems pretty clear what the author is saying - she's blaming corporations for "turning their backs" on cities, which encourages their employees to drive to work, and then by providing them with nice places, it keeps them from engaging with the urban core. That's what she's talking about with regard to the "shared responsibility", "collective", and "metropolitan realm".

The LA Times writer then makes a specific link from that analysis to Apple, to criticize them for a campus that isn't sufficiently urban. The connection is clear - he thinks that companies shouldn't build employees nice places to work so that they can have an opportunity to experience the problems around them, so that they might be compelled to fix them. If that's not the point, then the article is simply pointless rambling and a random citation from some professor at Berkeley.

My questions are simple: What does 'urban' mean in this context? Why should it be increased? What problem is it solving, and for whom? And whose job is it to fix it?

Is it your guilt over not fixing it?

Nope. I didn't make the problem.

Because the only place your complaint could have come from is inside your own psychology. Not the review you're using as a way to get it out there in front of us.

Yay, another armchair internet psychologist practicing without a license! You're pretty far offbase there - "Doc".

Monoculture isn't healthy, no matter how green it is.

I'd agree, and if that were the crux of the article, I'd wholeheartedly agree with it. But it wasn't. All they had was one throwaway line about interacting with your coworkers - which is, I'll repeat again, *what they pay you to do*. Instead, the article focused on urban density and greenspace, not corporate culture. All of the harms they claim were to society from not having the claimed advantages of urbanization. None of the harms dealt with the disadvantages of monoculture, which would be incurred by the company.

So we're back where we started. Why is density a good thing? Who does urban density help? Why should that be so important that a company should be attacked for daring to build a campus that isn't dense?

Re:So what? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368346)

But that realm has some diversity: other people who aren't working on Apple's stuff. Not getting Apple's specific corporate values or outlook. It might or might not have dirty manmade surfaces, concrete and steel. It doesn't really have density, except in the corporate arcologies like Apple's. It does have other people, with other points of view. Which is healthy. Monoculture isn't healthy, no matter how green it is.

And how is this different from working for MS, HP, Google, IBM or a number of different companies tech or not that have their own campuses? And how is this different from working at Apple today? The critique of the plans assumes that the building is the only contributing factor to this effect; it is not today and will not be in the future.

Reading the article, the critic seems to go out of his way to nitpick on little things. Jobs wasn't asked and didn't mention the name of the architects which according the critic was displayed on the plans anyways. He also criticizes the building as being car dependent. The last time I checked California was a car dependent state and how is it the responsibility of Apple to install mass transit. Apple can design based some notion of fantasy but if mass transit isn't a reality anywhere in the near future, can you blame them for being practical about that aspect?

Certainly everyone can have their opinion but it's not the first time people have been wrong on the pyschological aspects of a building. There was much opposition [wikipedia.org] to the Vietnam War Memorial when the design was first unveiled. Many thought the simple design was "a black gash of shame" and that it wasn't conventional enough. Today it is the most visited war memorial and much of the controversy has disappeared.

As usual, when it comes to something Apple does... (1, Insightful)

curmi (205804) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367446)

...Tall Poppies.

Re:As usual, when it comes to something Apple does (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367538)

"You're just jealous 'cos I'm smarter," used to sound stupid in the playground. It's the battle cry of the populist appealing to the mediocre to join the "winning team".

But since the '80s it's become some sort of circular business philosophy: if you're rich you must be good; if you're good you deserve to be rich.

Re:As usual, when it comes to something Apple does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367852)

yeah dont hate ibm^Wmicrosoft^Wgoogle^Wapple just cos they are successful. they deserve it!!!

Like the last quote (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367478)

"The proposed building is essentially one very long hallway connecting endlessly with itself."

You cold say it's one infinite loop.

Thanks I'm here all night! Try the veal!

That's one way to get attention... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367522)

Architecture is art. Some will like it, some won't. Like art, if it generates discussion, that is good. You can be sure that any "architecture critic" who has something negative to say about the new Apple HQ will receive a lot of press attention.

.
But I have to wonder, was the purpose of the critique to be ego-building for the author?

Re:That's one way to get attention... (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367576)

The purpose of the critique was to discuss, and to generate more discussion, by someone who knows architecture. Clearly the purpose was also to help architecture serve people better, by improving architecture.

Your critique does nothing but try to bring yourself more attention. It does nothing to improve anyone or anything. You're projecting.

Another space (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367536)

The point seems to be that the urban design (of Cupertino) is about to promote individual space rather than collective responsibility for the society and the environment.

The building itself is a detachment. It's essentially a decentralized and non-hierarchical design. The focal point is not in the managers but in people around you. The empty space is there to be filled with the collective ideas and thoughts. The shortest distance to the other side is via a nature oriented space where people can meet up. The values promoted by the design itself are distinct from typical offices.

It's evident that the building facilitates innovation. And like for many a innovator the external world is slightly distanced.

Can take anyone seriously that writes (0, Flamebait)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367548)

'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

What a bunch of crap. I didn't realize that Apple had any responsibility to a "collective metropolitan realm". It has a responsibility to the shareholders. And lucky for the "collective metropolitan realm" Apple also pays a ton of taxes.

Re:Can take anyone seriously that writes (2)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367916)

Yes it does, as do you and everybody else who lives in a society. Go move to a cabin in the woods if you don't like it.

Regarding taxes, I recall them trying to figure a way to pay less. Which is unsurprising, it's the same thing all corporations do.

So is the reverse true? (3, Interesting)

Aquitaine (102097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367550)

If you share a building with tons of other companies, and if the view out your window is a busy thoroughfare, is 'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm' near at heart and therefore contributing to some architectural faux-topia?

Oh wait, that's New York City, where nobody looks you in the eye and if somebody says 'Good Morning' to you then you get ready to defend yourself. 'Shared responsibility in a collective metropolitan realm' indeed. Or Los Angeles, where there are no thoroughfares because everybody drives everywhere anyway.

I also like the posts to the effect of 'architecture is art and discussing art is good.' I guess, but seriously, an 'architecture critic' for a newspaper? Theatre critics are at least answering the question 'should I go see this show,' but wtf is an architecture critic doing? 'Should I go hang out at this corporate campus?'

Cupertino Has No Grit, Dirt or Crime (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367562)

you-need-more-grit-and-dirt-and-crime

There is no grit, dirt or crime in Cupertino, or anywhere near it, until you get to East Palo Alto or downtown San Jose. A more open Apple campus interconnected with the rest of its neighborhood would get more clean, shiny, happy people. But at least people from outside Apple, tired for different reasons. With some different perspectives, some of which might not even be IT. Some might not even be corporate. That exposure would humanize the day, not corporatize it in every way.

And since Apple's products are so personal, more diversity in the environment its people produce from would also inform the products we get from it.

But then, this is the company that gave us the white head wires that indicate the wearer is in their own personal universe, totally tailored by and for themselves.

Apple has become "narcissism for the rest of us", in a society increasingly insistent in seeing nothing but itself in a retouched mirror. The subtitle to this story shows the fear of the outside that nerds have raised to a high art.

Totally misses the point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367578)

The objective of the entire project is to provide a place to design cool shiny new Apple stuff. It is not to connect with urbanites. It is not to get some "notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm". For that matter, I think I would call BS on that "shared responsibility" thing anyway... it is NOT my fault (country boy here - 6 acre back yard and I think it's kinda small) - nor Apple's - that you inner-city-urban types can't get your act together. It is not to promote some sort of "social agenda".

Apple has succeeded by expressly *not* doing what the critics suggest... why would one think that they would change their winning formula now?

P.s - note that I work from home over the internet so, no, I'm not spewing out some horrendous carbon footprint either.

Apple's New HQ is a Fountainhead of Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367654)

I didn't know that Christopher Hawthorne's true identity is none other than that of Ellsworth Toohey, but this article makes it a plain fact.

Who is this goon? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367682)

Apple wants to build the kind of building that Apple wants to build. And OF COURSE some architect who was NOT awarded the job is going to have some criticism, in order to massage his own ego.

I used to live not far from there. Did it even occur to him that the employees DO NOT WANT to see much that is beyond the campus? That being there, and isolated, might actually afford a sense of relief?

Yesss!!! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367698)

Sharing a building with a bunch of law firms, banks and health insurance companies is just what Apple needs to obtain "notion of shared responsibility"!

2 thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367712)

one - so they just want to just go in circles.
two - they just want to go in circles.

bitch bitch bitch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367762)

wtf are you bitching about?

Some better Pictures (3, Informative)

bobaferret (513897) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367774)

On the city's website is a better overview picture, as well as a map showing how it fits into the city.

  http://www.cupertino.org/index.aspx?page=1107 [cupertino.org]

Re:Some better Pictures (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368338)

On the city's website is a better overview picture, as well as a map showing how it fits into the city.

Holy Crap! That's a cyclotron! Hasn't anybody else figured this out? If you guys think that the Reality Distortion Field is strong now, just wait until this puppy gets finished.

This just can't end well.

Apple trees (1)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367792)

The building should be surrounded by apple trees.

Clever, right?

And what is any of this the concern of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367828)

At best the city council can have a say in whether a building can be erected based on safety concerns. In all other matters the council's, or anyone else's, opinion is completely irrelevant. If Apple wants to use its money to build and office space that looks like a large turd, assuming all safety and OSHA concerns are satisfied, thats Apple's business alone.

Having worked in both office parks and cities... (5, Insightful)

superdude72 (322167) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367886)

...I'll take a city any day.

I worked on a corporate campus that was well integrated into the city of Berkeley, CA, for instance. Being able to easily go have lunch somewhere interesting, or stop by a bookstore, or visit the farmers' market--in other words, do the normal stuff that human beings like to do, as opposed to what food-court designers like to do--was a huge benefit of my job being located where it was.

Working in an office park in South San Francisco, on the other hand, was like being perpetually stuck at the airport. My company provided a video game room to compensate. But it was like being an intelligent animal given a tire to play with at a poorly designed zoo. It is amazing to me that a place where tens of thousands of people work could be designed with so little thought to their needs other than cubicle space.

This is why Silicon Valley companies such as Google provide all these seemingly cool benefits such as gourmet cafeterias. The office parks and campuses leave a lot to be desired in terms of quality of life when you're hiring people who may have just moved from a cool college town. As nice as the cafeteria at Google is, I doubt it's as cool as the gourmet gulch I left behind in Berkeley.

Re:Having worked in both office parks and cities.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37368190)

That is the purpose of these closed in spaces with free lunch, dinner, hell 24 hour food. Once there, they do not really want you to leave. That is why they like to get "kids" off of campuses, they are not used to living life in the "real" world and are more maleable. Same thing with the big consulting firms, they fly you around every week and want you to work 60+ hours in 5 days. You get the 48 hours of downtime, but then back in the air.

Maximizing ROI on the resource investment.

In other words (1)

Jonathan A (1584455) | more than 2 years ago | (#37367958)

The proposed building is essentially one very long hallway connecting endlessly with itself.

So, in other words, an infinite loop.

Self-searching for a goal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37367990)

As if "metropolitan" is a goal. For many, the serenity of nature is a goal. Look no further than Central park in NYC where window offices facing the park are at the highest cost premium.

Perhaps a massive collection of windowless cubicles with a fake tree in the corner of each one would suit critics better? Yes. I think it would.

One wonders after AC2 (Spaceship) is built what of AC1 (Infinite Loop) and the now expected AC3?

Does Hawthorne have a proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37368088)

Has Hawthorne ever worked in an office? Surely he must know that virtually every office space is a cocoon of some sort. These are buildings plunked down in the middle of a city, not a treehouse in the woods. If one is lucky, one has a bit of artificial greenspace and on rare occasions even almost natural greenspace. The absurd notion that a circlular design is somehow more "aloof from the world around it" is laughable unless, of course I am mistaken and the majority of the office buildings in Cupertino are situated on the first floor with glass walls and have parking only in the rear or underground.

pretense != architecture (0)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368106)

'If all you see in your workday are your co-workers and all you see out your window is the green perimeter of your carefully tended property,' Mozingo writes, and you drive to and from work in the cocoon of your private car, 'the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

And where's the problem with that? I don't know about you, but I don't want to be bothered with bogus notions of "shared responsibility". And Apple has legitimate concerns about security when the building helps address.

One might as well complain that the structure doesn't hold Christian or Islamic moral values. Or Vlad the Impaler's moral values for that matter.

I'm sure Mozingo's head would look good on a pike, but maybe that moral value shouldn't appear in our architecture any more than Mozingo's moral values should.

seriously (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37368264)

You can't expect them to literally construct a tall tower from ivory.

Cocoon? (1)

cuncator (906265) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368268)

Maybe the Monarch [wikia.com] is taking over for Steve Jobs?

pop psychology 101 (2)

arikol (728226) | more than 2 years ago | (#37368286)

"the notion of a shared responsibility in the collective metropolitan realm is predictably distant."

Hmmmm.... that same notion didn't seem to arise on Wall street or in the banking sector even though they are generally situated in the heart of cities... maybe this pop-psychological link to the community doesn't override all the other factors, like being either a caring person or a sociopath? Jus' sayin'.

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