In April 2011, Steve Jobs showed me a book that had been prepared by Apple’s architects to show illustrations of the new campus the giant company would build near its current headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
He was filled with pride about the unusual building, a massive circular structure that would hold 12,000 employees at once. My notes from that day say that Jobs took me through the pages of the book “in the same measured pace that he does slides in keynote presentations onstage.” Because of a later comment he made, people would refer to the new head office as the “spaceship.”
See New Photos Of Apple’s ‘Spaceship’ Campus
That’s not how I saw it that day. Here’s how I described it in my notes: “The building itself is a massive, four-story circular building, with circular glass windows throughout, and office space for two-person offices plus bullpen areas outside the offices for collaboration. From the air, the building resembles the circular dial on an iPod.” Jobs told me the internal courtyard of the building was so big the entire existing headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop, one freeway exit down the road, would fit inside it.
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Six years later, Apple is ready to open the house that Steve intended to build. (He died that October; His last public appearance was a presentation to the City of Cupertino requesting permission to begin work.) Apple said Wednesday it will call the campus Apple Park and that a public auditorium for events will be the Steve Jobs Theater. It is a fitting tribute and proportional to how Jobs might have wanted it. Apple was bigger than Jobs. Yet he was its maestro, and so the space where it shows itself—and its products—to the world ought to bear his name.
Companies that build grand temples to themselves often are accused of harboring an “edifice complex.” This proves embarrassing if the building outlasts the company. It is still possible that Apple will suffer this fate. But it hasn’t yet. For now, it will honor its late co-founder’s legacy when Apple employees move in and get down to work.