Apple's Spaceship HQ Is Getting a Downgrade From Absurd to Just Plain ExtravagantS

Back in 2011, when Steve Jobs announced his plans to build a spaceship-like Cupertino HQ for Apple, we all knew it was going to be one ridiculously lavish office. But according to Bloomberg Businessweek, it's due for a bit of a downgrade before construction starts this June. It'll still be crazy, just not totally absurd.

Sources with knowledge of the plans say the building's cost ballooned from a wild 3 billion dollars to an insane 5 billion dollars since 2011. In other words, it reached a full billion more than the total cost of the new World Trade Center. At an all-hands meeting back in February, Tim Cook pushed the move-in date back from 2015 to 2016 and apparently that's because architects Foster + Partners have been tasked with shaving a cool bil' off the budget.

The SpaceQ has plenty of luxurious features from an 15 acre, 6,000 tree forest to be planted in and around the building's giant donut form, to the 700,000 square feet of roof-mounted solar panels. And then there's the temperature control system that will automatically prop open windows for just the right amount of fresh air, and utilize Solartubes to pipe sunlight across the complex. Also the 6 square kilometers of of curved glass windows. But you can't cut any of that without seriously cramping the project's style.

Fortunately there's also a lot of characteristically Jobsian perfectionism that can but trimmed without being missed by most. From Businessweek:

Rather than cement floors, Jobs wanted to use a stone-infused alternative such as terrazzo, buffed to a sheen normally reserved for museums and high-end residences. Jobs insisted that the tiny gaps where walls and other surfaces come together be no more than 1/32 of an inch across, vs. the typical ⅛ inch in most U.S. construction. Rather than a lightweight, sound-absorbing acoustical tile, Jobs even wanted the ceilings to be polished concrete.

It's that kind of ludicrous fit-and-finish that's likely to get the axe without Jobs around to save it literally at all costs.

For the most part, it seems like the plan will continue on largely as planned, and even after the cost-cutting measures, it'll still be worlds better than any office you're likely to have the pleasure of setting foot in. And though it might not be exactly like Jobs would have wanted it, it's going to be close enough to blow minds anyway. [Bloomberg Businessweek]