An enduring vision of the late Steve Jobs: A spaceship in Cupertino

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.” ~ Steve Jobs, 1993.

In the wake of the passing of Apple Computers visionary co-founder and former CEO, Steve Jobs, it is only natural that a lot of what he had planned for the future is lost in the grief and tribute being payed him for what is already accomplished. I however think it is also time to remind everyone that respected and enjoyed the products and services that came from his single minded focus and genius that he had big plans in store for Apple, this time they were on a scale that is arguably more profound than even his feat in making Apple the second most valuable publicly traded company in the world, only second to the Exxon Oil Brand.

On June 7 2011 Jobs, then still Apple CEO, visited the City Council of Cupertino, home to Apple Computers, and revealed plans for a new, state-of-the-art headquarters for the company that he build and headed.

The stunning four storey building, designed to accomodate 12,000 employess, mimics a “spaceship” and will cover 260,000 square metres. The facilities in the complex included a 1,000 seat auditorium, a fitness center, and 28,000 square metres of research facilities. The landscaping for the outdoor areas would consisit of native plants and apricot orchards. Powering the complex will only be done using clean energy sources (The structure is meant to be fueled primarily by natural gas.) with local electricity grids reserved for emergencies only.

"The Flying Saucer"

The “flying saucer” concept for the new Apple campus was first concieved in 1983. Jobs then approached the venerable architect I.M. Pei, the very designer of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris. Sadly the plan was shelved when Jobs was forced to leave Apple, but just like had come to be expected of Jobs this was but a temporary setback.

Having long come back to head Apple, building it into an iconic brand that held sway over virtually every facet of technology, Jobs visit to the city of Cupertino on June 7th was welcomed by the Cupertino Mayor Gilbert Wong who said: “California is the real beneficiary of Mr. Job’s dream. “There is no chance we’re saying no,” He added: “What would your response be if Steve Jobs cam to your town and said he wanted to build a headquarters that looks like it belongs in outer space?”

“I think we do have a shot at building the best office building in the world,” said the late Jobs.

The grounds will be transformed from primarily asphalt to green. Parking will go underground and the CEO indicated at the time that his plan was to almost double the 3,700 trees on the site. He also wanted the addition of apricot orchards reminiscent of the ones he recalled growing up with.

Orrin Mahoney, a Cupertino councilman, mused: “The word spectacular would be an understatement.” adding that the Council looked forward to working with the then Apple CEO to move forward with the project.

Construction is expected to begin next year with the opening in 2015 and we can only hope the project will go ahead as the fulfillment of the vision of a man that changed the world of technology and design in ways no one else ever could.

In his own words:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
– Stanford commencement speech 2005


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