A Sneak Peek at Apple's New Cupertino Headquarters

The circular office has been referred to as a spaceship or a doughnut. Once the glass walls are constructed, Apple employees will be able to peer out and see offices on the other side of the circle. (Anya Schultz/KQED)

Apple's new Cupertino headquarters, known as Campus 2, has been largely off-limits to press since construction began last year.

Referred to as the "spaceship" for its flying saucer-like design, the new headquarters will be a round, four-story structure -- big enough to house roughly 15,000 employees. Offices, research and development space, dining facilities and a large theater are among the building's features.

The company is bringing in thousands of mature trees to create a wooded, parkland setting, though much of that property will be off-limits to the public.

The site is being heralded for its environmentally-conscious design and construction methods, which include plans to use recycled water to flush toilets, and solar arrays to meet much of the campus's energy needs.

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"What Apple inherited on the property was several older buildings, all of which were broken down and deconstructed," says KQED Science reporter Amy Standen, who got a tour of the site. "Much of the material from those old buildings was recycled into new building material to make the new campus, according to Apple."

Apple says 95% of the waste from the buildings that were demolished will be reused. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
Apple says 95% of the waste from the buildings that were demolished will be reused. (Anya Schultz/KQED)

Critics of the project say the building's design is too insular, and not well integrated into the community.

"Once the campus is open, Apple employees will have relatively little reason to leave the building," says Standen. "And some say, 'Why not put this in the middle of San Jose? '"

A more urban setting could be better connected to public transit and create opportunities for locals to interact with the company, say critics.

Apple says Cupertino is the company's home -- and they are building the building that fosters innovation.

When the building opens in 2016, nearby neighbors are hopeful they might get a tour at an open house. At the very least, Campus 2 will have a visitor's center and parking lot.

KQED Science will have more photos and details from the tour when our radio feature airs on Feb. 23.

The main office will be a large circular building and is being constructed with concrete pieces. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
The main office will be a large circular building and is being constructed with concrete pieces. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
The large office space will surround a park. Employees will be able to park their cars underneath the campus or in the parking lots being constructed with solar panels on top. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
The large office space will surround a park. Employees will be able to park their cars underneath the campus or in the parking lots being constructed with solar panels on top. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
Adjacent to the circular office space, Apple is constructing an amphitheater. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
Adjacent to the circular office space, Apple is constructing an amphitheater. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
Apple's current campus is only a few blocks away from the new campus. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
Apple's current campus is only a few blocks away from the new campus. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
Apple has a room-size model of the new campus in a building on site of the construction zone. (Anya Schultz/KQED)
Apple has a room-size model of the new campus in a building on site of the construction zone. (Anya Schultz/KQED)

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