A report from Reuters details how Apple, just like its products, has been putting attention to even the minutest of things for its spaceship campus. The 2.8 million sq. ft campus from Apple has been under construction since late 2011, with the project initially estimated to be completed by 2015.
However, due to Apple’s strict attention to detail, the project is taking longer than anticipated to complete. The company has left no nook and cranny of the campus untouched in its bid to achieve perfection just like it does for its products. The company’s in-house construction team provided contractors and workers with specific rules including no vents or pipes reflecting on the glass and tighter than usual tolerances of 1/8th of an inch.
The company’s keen design sense enhanced the project, but its expectations sometimes clashed with construction realities, a former architect said. “With phones, you can build to very, very minute tolerances,” he said. “You would never design to that level of tolerance on a building. Your doors would jam.”
Another absurd example of Apple’s attention to detail can be understood from the fact that the company’s managers insisted the ceiling of the spaceship campus use immaculate polished concrete panels, from both inside and out. The concrete panels had to be approved by Apple’s in-house team twice: once at the shop and then again at the construction site.
Colombian architect German de la Torre, who worked on the project, says that many design inspiration for the spaceship campus came from Apple’s existing products. He notes that the elevator buttons are similar to iPhone’s home button, with “one former manager even likened the toilet’s sleek design to the device.”
One of the most vexing features was the doorways, which Apple wanted to be perfectly flat, with no threshold. The construction team pushed back, but Apple held firm. The rationale? If engineers had to adjust their gait while entering the building, they risked distraction from their work, according to a former construction manager.
Apple also laid special importance to signage as it wanted it to match the sleek and minimalist design of its products. This led Dirk Mattern, retired deputy fire chief of the Santa Clara County Fire Department, to attend over 15 meetings with Apple on the matter.
Apple’s insistence on getting everything right even for the minutest of things for the campus led to long delays as the company’s in-house manager worked on perfecting the design. This led to other parts of the construction work getting delayed.
Nonetheless, when work on the spaceship campus ends, it will be a sight to behold. It is unlikely that Apple will let visitors tour the campus from inside, but if it does, it will be an experience in itself — just like using one of the company’s many iconic products.