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Economic Development, Place, and Identity: Apple Lands a...

Economic Development, Place, and Identity: Apple Lands a "Spaceship" in the Heart of Silicon Valley

Anyone who has ever been to an Apple, Inc. store knows that the company’s branding and marketing go beyond its products – it spills into the company’s architecture. The glass façade and minimalist furniture prominently featuring glowing electronics are an unmistakable stamp of Apple’s spatial branding. So what, if you could imagine, would the headquarters

Anyone who has ever been to an Apple, Inc. store knows that the company’s branding and marketing go beyond its products - it spills into the company’s architecture. The glass façade and minimalist furniture prominently featuring glowing electronics are an unmistakable stamp of Apple’s spatial branding. So what, if you could imagine, would the headquarters of a multinational corporation like Apple look like?

Cupertino, California, the current location of Apple’s headquarters, is about to get an even bigger taste of what they already have. Apple’s growth and success has led to a need for more space: 98 acres, to be exact, on one of Hewlett Packard’s former campuses. Apple’s growth has tremendous implications for the city of Cupertino, but not just in making up the tax revenue lost from HP’s departure.

In fact, Cupertino’s identity is intimately tied with Apple. It was Steve Job’s hometown, and the company’s loyalty to the city and need for employees to work close to each other has kept Apple at Cupertino for 30 years. With this new campus, Apple will be one of the most important determinants of Cupertino’s identity in the future. And, from an architectural standpoint, Apple is not shying away from doing something new, bold, and very unique.

Map of Apple's New Campus in Cupertino, CA

Bird's Eye View of Apple's New Campus in Cupertino, CA

Perspective of Apple's New Campus in Cupertino, CA

By the way, “spaceship” is not a term I coined. Back in 2011, in one of his last public appearances, CEO Steve Jobs introduced the plans for the new campus to the city council using that term.

What do you think about Apple’s new headquarters? If you live in Cupertino, how do you think this will change the image of your city?

Do you know any other cities whose image is influenced in the same way by a single entity? What has been the story of your city?

Credits: Images courtesy of Foster and Partners. Data linked to sources.

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Steven Chang was a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area and held a B.A. in Urban Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His interest in urban planning began in his hometown of Rowland Heights, California (near Los Angeles), when he...

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