Apple is building a futuristic second campus, three miles from its existing one in Cupertino, California, which will set a number of records by the time it is finished later this year. The building will boast a sleek, circular shape with a wider circumference than the pentagon, and will run entirely on clean energy and renewable power. Thousands of rounded window panes will be the largest pieces of structural glass ever made. Hollow concrete slabs will replace solid structures, allowing the building to ventilate without the constant need for traditional cooling systems. The project has been nicknamed “The Spaceship” by many involved.
The campus will occupy 176 acres, with 1.23 million square feet of glass used in construction, in 3,000 panes. The heaviest panes will weigh up to 7,000 pounds. Rooftop solar panels will produce 16 megawatts, generating most of the power required by the campus, during peak daylight hours. The project will reportedly cost about 5 billion dollars.
The glass panels will be created by German glass firm Sedak/Seele, who are also responsible for Apple’s 5th Avenue store in Manhattan. The panes will be 36 and 46 feet wide, and 10.5 feet long, making them over twice the length of the largest standard glass panes. In order to maintain clarity, the glass firm will curve the glass during final lamination, instead of during the tempering process, which would be standard procedure. The 20 ton crates of glass will be shipped to California via the Panama Canal.
The hollow concrete slabs used in construction will also be revolutionary, allowing the building to “breathe” and curbing the necessity of traditional cooling systems. For employee comfort, the building will still have cooling systems, but they will be intended as a backup. The slabs themselves were designed by a team of 70 engineers.
In order to run entirely on renewable energy, the building will use baseload biogas fuel cells, which will convert hydrogen and oxygen into energy. The solar panels along with the biogas cells are projected to provide about 75 percent of the building’s energy, supplemented by local solar energy providers.
If all this wasn’t enough to make the new campus revolutionary, 80 percent of the land will be designated ‘green space’, featuring indigenous trees, in an effort to make employees feel as though they are outside even when in the building, according to Apple. No deforestation was needed to build the campus, since the area was already composed of other buildings. Construction of the state of the art building is projected to be finished at the end of 2016, with Apple moving in employees by early 2017.