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Apple’s $5 billion ‘spaceship’ campus isn’t attached to the planet, which helps it withstand major disasters like earthquakes

Apple ‘s new “spaceship” campus was notoriously expensive to build: Somewhere in the ballpark of $5 billion went into its construction. 

apple park apple spaceship campus
apple park apple spaceship campus
  • The building in Cupertino, California uses “base isolation” technology, which means that the building’s foundation is literally separated from the Earth.
  • In an interview with The New York Times , Apple chief design officer Jony Ive said he and late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs considered earthquake preparedness to be essential to the construction of the new campus.

In a fitting twist for a building often referred to as a spaceship, Apple’s $5 billion circular Apple Park campus doesn’t actually rest on the surface of the planet.

Instead, it sits on nearly 700 “huge stainless steel saucers” intended to protect the building’s foundation from natural disasters, such as earthquakes.

In the event of an earthquake, the campus is able to shift up to four feet on those saucers.

Apple campus

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesApple campus

In an interview with The New York Times , Apple chief design officer Jony Ive said that earthquake preparedness was an essential component of the building’s design. Ive said that late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was inspired by Japanese building design, where base isolation technology is more common than in the US.

The new campus was completed in early 2018, though some of the company’s staff started moving in back in late 2017.

Apple’s new headquarters was notoriously expensive to construct, with features like four-story glass windows (watch them slide open in the GIF below) and a detached, 1,000-person theater for product announcements. It even produces its own electricity, powered by a solar panel-covered roof.

With over $5 billion invested and over 12,000 employees working on the campus including CEO Tim Cook it’s no surprise that Apple wants to protect its headquarters.


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