Christina Passariello wrote a feature story for the WSJ Magazine on Apple Park and Jony Ive’s role in designing it. The piece is accompanied by gorgeous photography that make me even more excited for the building’s official opening.
These related passages in particular caught my eye:
The design called for four stories of office space, more than Ive had hoped, but few enough that “it means that you don’t need to use elevators, you can walk to visit people, you can walk for meetings,” he says. Blueprints and photos capturing the designs wallpaper a building across the street from the campus that serves as a headquarters for the construction project. (At the height of activity in February, 6,200 construction workers were on-site daily.) A diagram lays out where the different divisions will be located in the main building: The fourth floor will be home to the executive suites (including Ive’s design studio), the watch team and part of the group working on Siri, which will also occupy a fraction of the third floor. The Mac and iPad divisions will be interspersed with software teams on the middle levels.
Ive wants movement to be at the core of the work environment—something that seems unavoidable with such a large campus. There will be 2,000 custom bikes made by Public Bikes and painted “Apple gray.” Some employees talk about bringing a change of shoes for the quarter-mile hike from the parking structures at the edge of the campus to the main building, but there will also be electric golf carts and a commuter shuttle between the parking structures and the ring. To help employees find their way around, the campus will be mapped on Apple Maps.
As stories have been published about Apple Park, I’ve wondered about just how accessible it is. Ive says in this story that he and the design team approached Apple Park like any other Apple product—blueprinting and prototyping, etc. Knowing what I do about the company, surely accessibility was part of the design process. Thus, with the emphasis on nature and open space and collaboration, I do wonder what affordances Apple Park has for people with disabilities. How do you get to and from the upper floors if you have trouble (or can’t) walk up stairs? Are there Braille signage for the various areas? Can you get a golf cart if you can’t walk for distance? How many disabled parking spaces are there?
Apple Park is decidedly of Apple, by Apple. As such, accessibility—as a core value of the company—has to be part of the design, which is why I’m so curious for answers to the aforementioned questions. It’s an important aspect of the building’s story.