Apple gives a sneak peek of its proposed headquarters

Apple gives a sneak peek of its proposed headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
By Patrick May Published: October 15, 2013
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Apple Inc.'s Peter Oppenheimer, the baby-faced high priest of finance for the world's most valuable company, gazed at the oversized map on the wall.

“Let me begin by showing you the sea of asphalt,” Apple's chief financial officer said, pointing to the abandoned husk of Hewlett-Packard's former Cupertino, Calif., campus, the site of Apple's proposed new spaceship-shaped headquarters that goes before the city council Tuesday for a vote.

The plan: Flip a 175-acre site that's now 80 percent asphalt and buildings into one that's 80 percent open space and parkland, then drop of spectacular ring of polished glass into the middle of it all.

Perhaps channeling former boss Steve Jobs at one of his high-anticipation product launches, Oppenheimer quickly went into full Apple pitch mode.

“You see the energy and the love and the attention to detail that we've put into this,” he told the San Jose Mercury News during a sneak peek of a top-secret, living-room-size model of the building.

“We have treated this project just as we would any Apple product. And this will be a place for the most creative and collaborative teams in the industry to innovate for decades to come.”

Oppenheimer had every right to be gushing. With its jaw-dropping design from architectural superstar Sir Norman Foster and his team, its stellar environmental credentials and a tax-revenue windfall promised for Cupertino and the region, Apple Campus 2 promises to bring a world-class real-estate project — along with a lot of traffic congestion — to the heart of Silicon Valley.

In a recent and rare 45-minute visit with Oppenheimer, who most often appears publicly as the disembodied voice beside CEO Tim Cook on Apple's quarterly-earnings conference calls, the message was as crystal clear as Gorilla Glass: This particular Apple product, dreamed up by the late Steve Jobs and massaged with the help of company design guru Jony Ive and the same folks who brought us the iPhone and iPad, is all about green and all about innovation.

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