A leading architect has warned Apple to stay away from architectural design after labelling the new Apple headquarters outdated “pastoral capitalism.”
According to the LA Times, Jobs proudly showed off his plans for a glimmering building, ring-shaped and four stories high, set gently into a lush green landscape to a sycophantic bunch of local politicians in June who instantly dubbed it as “spectacular”,
However the hand of Jobs appears to have created something that is remarkably similar to the 1943 Pentagon building and owes much to suburban corporate architecture of the 1960s and ’70s, leading architects say.
Apple has claimed that the new campus is green, but the fact it is spread out and is dependent on heavy car use show this to be pants.
Don’t expect there to be much rubbishing in the Apple press though. As the LA Times pointed out the new headquarters building has taken on the symbolism of an architectural curtain call for Jobs and that the Emperor has no clothes, and creating a blot on the landscape is “bad taste”.
The plans were not exactly created by Jobs anyway. The preliminary plans are stamped with the name Norman Foster who is known in the trade as a celebrity architect. However Apple itself is refusing to say that Foster got near the project. The implication is that Steve had a flash of genius and designed it on the back of a napkin.
Like many of Steve’s designs the building is unfuture proof. Many commentators claim that Cupertino cannot keep its low density sprawl in the coming years as the price of fuel skyrockets. While such a building might have made sense in the 1970s, so did flares. The building is supposed to be futuristic, but it simply isn’t.
Louise. Mozingo, in a book due out next month from MIT Press, calls the building “pastoral capitalism.” She said that it is very much a product of its era, symbolising “a particular moment of American economic history” when corporations were gaining in wealth and global reach and increasingly fleeing the city for the privacy and elbow room of the suburbs.
She wrote that Jobs’ building reflects a desire of a nation, that from its earliest decades loved “to turn its back on cities and stake a claim on the suburban pastoral idyll isolated, proprietary, verdant, and disengaged from civic space.”
But Mozingo argues, the pastoral corporate campus idea prevents a concentration of population that makes public transportation possible.
She said that only a company which is self obsessed would create such a nightmare. It would be a building where all you would see are co-workers and the green perimeter. You would have to drive to and from work in the cocoon of your private car and you would be disconnected from the rest of humanity.
Such buildings will be out of date quickly as society changes, so we guess it’s exactly like the rest of Apple’s gear.