How Steve Jobs hired Norman Foster: “Hi Norman. I need some help”


Dezeen Article –

Architect Norman Foster has revealed how late Apple CEO Steve Jobs called him “out of the blue” in 2009 to invite him to design the Apple Campus 2 with the words “Hi Norman, I need some help.”

“For me this project started in the summer of 2009,” says Foster in a movie published this week by Cupertino City Council. “Out of the blue a telephone call. It’s Steve: ‘Hi Norman, I need some help.’ I was out there three weeks later.”

The movie documents a planning meeting held in the city on 1 October, at which representatives of Apple, Foster + Partners and others presented details of the $5 billion project to create a new home for Apple in Cupertino. The building was granted planning permission last week.

Foster says in the movie: “One of the most memorable things and perhaps vital to the project was Steve saying, ‘Don’t think of me as your client. Think of me as one of your team’.”

The architect adds: “The first point of reference I think for Steve was the campus at Stanford, his home territory. And also the landscape he grew up with; the fruitbowl of America.”

Elsewhere in the movie, members of the project team give details of the ring-shaped, 280 million square-foot building, which will have one of the largest photovoltaic solar arrays in the world and feature a parking garage for electric cars with over 100 charging stations.

“We have a building that is pushing social behaviour in the way people work,” adds Stephen Behling, an architect at Foster + Partners, while Dan Whisenhunt, Apple’s senior director of real estate & facilities, says the building will be “one of the most environmentally sustainable projects on this scale in the world, creating a new home for 13,000 employees.”

Whisenhunt adds that Apple would “like to keep engineering and creative groups together on our new site,” referring to the company’s recent moves to integrate the previously separate design and technology departments.


Apple Campus 2 by Foster + Partners

“When Apple Campus 2 is finished 80% of the site will be green space” says Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives. “We’re maximising the natural assets of the area; this area has a great climate so 75% of the year we won’t need air conditioning or heating, we’ll have natural ventilation.”

She adds: “AC2 will run on 100% renewable energy, there will be solar power, it will be one of the largest solar arrays in the world for a corporate campus. Our goal is to build a campus that has no net increase in greenhouse gas emissions.”

“This building allows us to put 13,000 engineering and creative types in one location under one roof thus creating the idea factory that will create future generations of Apple products food years to come,” adds Whisenhunt. “The parking station will be fitted with over 100 vehicle charging parking stations, there are provisions to increase that as our employees purchase more electric cars.

Construction will start soon and will take 32 months. Apple staff will be able to move into the building in 2016.


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